Monday, January 2, 2012

Little Language Lesson

There’s not a writer out there who doesn’t have a problem with the various ways language is abused. So I’m going to share, from time to time, some of the things that irk me. It shows my crabby side, but that’s part of the real me, too. So here goes.

Unique – means stands alone. If something is unique there’s nothing else like it. Therefore the word needs no qualifiers. To say, “The Statue of Liberty is very unique,” is so, so wrong. Please don’t use words like quite, very, so, or extremely with the word unique. Or at least don’t do it in my presence. I will call you on it.

I vs. Me – In eighth grade our English teacher, Miss McFarland, drilled into our heads a way to understand when to use I and when to use Me in a sentence. I will share her wisdom with you. This sentence is correct. “Will you give Tom and me a ride to the concert?” It’s correct because if you take out Tom and the sentence still makes sense. “Will you give me a ride to the concert?” You would never say, “Will you give I a ride to the concert?” When in doubt take it out. Pretty simple, huh?

Could and Couldn’t – Most people know the difference between should and shouldn’t and would and wouldn’t. But they get all confused with could and couldn’t most specifically when they want to be snarky by saying, “I could care less.” It’s such a common expression that I’ve almost stopped grinding my teeth when I hear it. The thing they really want to say is, “I couldn’t care less.” If you couldn’t care less the situation has reached the lowest point of your disdain. If you could care less, it means you still care to some degree. Think about what you really want to say.

Rant over.

But I’ll be back