Thursday, July 14, 2011

A Grammar Lesson

I love grammar & spelling.  I've been blessed that both have always come naturally to me.  And, perhaps because I was a teacher for 6 years, I feel the urge to teach a little lesson today.  Now, don't drop off to sleep here; I promise this will be quick & painless!  And if I sound like I'm talking to 2nd graders, please forgive me; that was my average audience once upon a time.

"What has brought this up now?", you may ask.  Well, Michael & I have passed a billboard several times that is driving me crazy!  Seriously.  I'm actually considering emailing the people who put it up.  It's a very large billboard - as most of them are - right out on the interstate, for all passersby to behold.  This particular billboard's offense (oooh!  dramatic, huh?) is to spell the contraction for "you all" incorrectly.  Yep, this really does bother me.  The first time I saw it, I started screaming & throwing things around the cab of the truck, & we got pulled over by the police & . . . okay, not really.  (You didn't really fall for that, did you?)  But it does get on my nerves to the point where I wonder how Southerners could mess up this quintessential Southern saying.  I've heard tell that some people, upon hearing a Southern accent, automatically assume that person's intelligence to be inferior.  To my mind, there's no sense in perpetuating that misconception by lauding poor grammar for all travelers foreign & domestic (to the South, that is) to see.  It's obviously a small matter & certainly not urgent, but man, it grates on my nerves!  I'm weird that way.  ;-)

So, today's lesson will be on contractions, specifically how to properly write them.  A contraction is one word made by smashing two separate words together.  I used to tell my kids that it was like two word-trains on the same track that came together so forcefully that some of the letters just popped right out.  Then, we put an apostrophe in the place of the missing letters.  For example:

     *Look at "they will" & "they'll".  The two letters that have popped out are 'w' & 'i', so that's where we put the apostrophe.  The same thing happens for "she will" (she'll), "we will" (we'll), & "you will" (you'll).

I actually understand why people spell the contraction for "you all" the same way; they assume it's just like the examples above.  But look:

     * When "you all" smashes together, the 'o' & 'u' are the letters that pop out, & when you put an apostrophe in the place of these missing letters, it goes right behind the 'y'.  So, instead of ya'll (splitting up the complete word 'all', as in the offending billboard message), the correct spelling is y'all.

Okay!  I'm down off of my soapbox.  See?  Quick & painless!  Loads more introduction than instruction.  That's how I roll!  (I just wanted to try that, but it really sounds odd coming out of my "mouth", doesn't it?)  Anyways, thank y'all for staying with me & putting up with my idiosyncrasies.  Y'all have been great!  I hope y'all have a wonderful rest of the day!  (Just practicing!)  ;-)


Anonymous said...

I'm really enjoying getting to know you through the vehicle of technology! :) Reading more of your heart and personality makes me even more excited about a time to sit with you (how about on T's couch:) and have some face to face visitation. Sounds good to me! And thanks for the lesson :)

The Boyds said...

Aw, thanks, Katie! And I would SO love to spend time with you, especially at your Mama's!