Part of my bio says …
Karen S. Elliott was raised by a mother who wanted to be an English teacher and who worked for Merriam-Webster as a proofreader and an aunt who could complete the Sunday New York Times crossword in a day.
Mom and Aunt Agnes – “Ang” – were always correcting our grammar. I’m so glad they were such sticklers.
Lay and lie
Chickens lay eggs; little girls aren’t chickens.
So if I told Mom I was going to lay down, Mom would say, “Lie down. Chickens lay eggs…”
“I have the exact same sweater.”
“Wayne has the exact same eyes as his daddy.”
Mom and Ang explained that exact same is redundant and should not be used together.
“Redundant,” said Mom and Ang.
Though I hear continue on a lot in conversation and in TV commercials and see it in the written word, I don’t use it.
Me or I?
Just take out the first name(s) to determine if you need Me or I, et voila! (Mom spoke French too.)
Tina and I are going shopping. (I am going shopping.)
Do you want to go shopping with Tina, Ted, and me? (Do you want to go shopping with me?)
I’ve been known to curse like a Merchant Marine when I lose a game of Scrabble. I’ve been known to use “WTF?” or “WTH?” here and there on Facebook.
I certainly don’t advocate using only goodie-goodie words in a police thriller or horror novel or in your memoir or blog.
Mom and Ang said using profanity was proof of a lack of vocabulary. Yeah, well. Sometimes you need a good curse to get over dropping the entire package of blueberries on the floor.
If I want to use a curse when talking with friends or when I’m online, I stop and try to think of an intelligent word (this self-checking exercise does not always work).
Posture and elbows
Mom and Ang also taught me to sit up straight, stand up straight, and elbows off the table!
I have a new Facebook Fan Page. On this new Fan Page, I’ll be sharing links, resources, and tips on editing, proofreading, writing, and social networking. Hope to see you on the Fan Page!