All in Grammar Guy

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...

It’s about time we discussed this

If having kids has taught me anything, it’s that I’m never going to be on time for anything again in my life. At best, I’ll be ten minutes late with at least one person crying and at least one person sporting an unidentified stain. But if time is all relative, does it really matter? Unfortunately, yes. In our culture of scheduled meetings, being time savvy is important.

Caught in the meddle

I had a friend visit me the other day to tell me about a problem. I listened to her secret shame and consoled her. Under the veil of anonymity, she agreed to allow me to use her issue, but not her real name. For our purposes, we’ll call her Gwenifer.

I see your point

Cut out all these exclamation points. An exclamation point is like laughing at your own joke.

-F. Scott Fitzgerald

Ancient Romans used all capital letters, no spaces and no punctuation. Can you imagine that?

How do you plead?

I’m sure pleats will eventually come back into style. I still remember the pleated khakis I wore to church in the mid-1990s. My Dockers brand double-pleated pants complemented my penny loafers to perfection in order to create that “nice-Baptist-guy-all-the-girls-just-want-to-be-friends-with” look I was going for.