All in Grammar Guy

Say it ain’t ‘so’

When your significant other starts a conversation with, “So, we need to talk,” you know it’s over. You immediately flip through the pages of your relationship, scanning for any glaring issues or things for which you should be sorry. You’re on the defensive. You might even think about who gets to keep which friend after the impending break-up. 

How to capitalize on being a word nerd

I’m about to hit you with a mnemonic device that will bring the armies of men into peace with the wood elves. That’s right, I have one device to rule them all when it comes to remembering the eight rules of capitalization, and it comes from “Lord of the Rings.” Is this going to be nerdy? You betcha. Are you ready? Whenever you want to recall what gets capitalized, just remember “Forgetful Bilbo Baggins took Pippin into Sam’s watermelon marmalade store.” It’s as simple as that.

Candy corn is not a vegetable

I am a proud naturalized Hoosier. Although I was born and raised in Oklahoma (Boomer Sooner!), I’ve lived in Indiana for over a decade. If I’ve learned one thing during my time here, it’s this: Indiana loves corn. As a Midwesterner, I have an intense fondness for corn dogs, cornucopias, popcorn, cornbread, unicorns, cornerbacks, and even candy corn. And, although it pains me to say this, candy corn is not a vegetable. Don’t fool yourself, people.

Apply sunscreen—early and often

Did you know that redheaded people only make up 1-2% of the world's population? There's a reason we are so scarce: the sun. I'm that person who can get a sunburn on a cloudy day. People have been known to get secondhand sunburns by just standing near me outside on a sunny day. I'm so white I get a moonburn.

What's up with 'that'?

Sometimes you can have too many of one thing — like presidential primary candidates, for instance. You can have too many toothpaste options at the grocery store. You can also have too many pillows on your bed. Organization expert Marie Kondo is a household name because of her minimalistic outlook. However, you don’t want to get rid of all of your pillows — right? You need at least one.

How to climb the corporate latter

Do you want to work your way from the mailroom to the corner office? I can tell you’ve got gumption, kid, so leave it to me. I’ll give you some swell advice that’ll have you drinking gold-leafed martinis quicker than you can say “Scrooge McDuck doing the backstroke in a roomful of golden coins.” 

Get set for a long, volcanic winter

You may want to sit down for this. 

There’s a supervolcano under Yellowstone National Park called the Yellowstone Caldera that last erupted in a big way approximately 640,000 years ago. The next time erupts, it could potentially result in a large swath of North America getting covered in ash, creating a sustained volcanic winter that kills roughly half the world’s population.

Getting properly possessive

John Lennon famously got in trouble in August 1966 when an interview from March of the same year dug up a single quote where he stated that The Beatles were (at the time) “more popular than Jesus.” Although this quote from a March interview was out of context, it led to many former fans burning Beatle records in big, radio station-backed bonfires.

Don’t get so upset about the setup

I don’t attend many movies with groups anymore. Part of that is a life stage issue—most of my friends are married and have small kids. It’s hard to justify the added babysitter expense if we want to go out for the evening. Before that, I was always the guy who arrived early. Because of my promptness, I ended up saving seats for the whole group.

What happened to ‘to be’?

The following is a scenario based on real events. Any names have been changed to avoid embarrassment and grammar-shaming. 

My friend, Ann, drives a van. Ann drives a tan van, and she’s married to Stan, but this story isn’t about him. It’s about Ann and her tan van.

Bringing up the rear

Cliff from Wilmington points out how I wrote recently that I was “raised in Oklahoma.” First of all, thanks for not making some sort of joke about how Okies don’t know anything about grammar. After all, it’s a statewide mandate that all Oklahomans love our papaws and grammers (especially her synonym rolls).

Should vibrations

Americans like being the best at things. We’re the best at baseball, jazz, freedom, national parks—pretty much anything Ken Burns has already covered. Yes, living in the Land of Opportunity is glorious. Today, I’d like to award us (and, by us, I mean U.S.) a super-sized gold medal for smashing words together more efficiently than anyone else in the world. 

It’s all well and good—until it’s not

According to G.K. Chesterton, “The word ‘good’ has many meanings. For example, if a man were to shoot his grandmother at a range of five hundred yards, I should call him a good shot, but not necessarily a good man.” First of all, I have to tip my cap to Chesterton’s excellent use of the subjunctive case when he uses “were” in the second sentence.

An apostrophe-free farmers market

I love this time of year for many reasons, but perhaps my favorite thing about early summer is the farmers market. I make sure to stock up on kettle corn, sweet corn, cornhole bags, candy corn, and top off my peppercorn grinder. What can I say? In Indiana, we love our corn.

Tips on avoiding RAS Syndrome

I have some urgent news: there’s an epidemic sweeping the country. So far, scientists haven’t found a cure, but I’m happy to report that it’s preventable. It leaves people looking foolish in front of other people they’re trying to impress at parties and can, in rare cases, cause a breakup of a romantic relationship. I’m talking about RAS Syndrome.

A quick reality check on realty TV

Spring is in full swing. The bugs are back, seasonal allergies have come out of hiding, and “for sale” signs in front yards are as plentiful as dandelions. If this were a cartoon, all my Realtor friends would have cash register “ka-ching” sounds going off while dollar signs appeared in their puffy, pollen-plagued eyes.

There is no future

There is no future. Feel free to go back to bed now.

You probably think I’m referring to the fact that we recently took a picture of a black hole, or maybe that climate change is happening at such a rapid pace it seems as if our planet is a lost cause...