Sunday, July 25, 2010

I leave her alone for one minute...

Kaiya ditched me in her room this morning and shut the door. Not a minute later I heard water running and found her in the bathroom.

Yes, she had climbed up onto the counter, into the sink, retreived her toothbrush and toothpaste, and proceeded to brush her teeth. She actually turned the water off before I snapped the picture, whining that her jammies were "messy".

Monday, July 12, 2010

Eating french fries is exhausting work.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

I have some 'splaining to do

I feel a little guilty about my English teacher preachiness for a few reasons.

1) I break grammar rules all the time. I overuse parentheses, ellipses, and sentence fragments. I like to make up my own words (like preachiness). I tend to throw in commas wherever I feel like it, even though I know the rules. And I like to start sentences with conjunctions.

2) I feel like I have made people too self-conscious about their blog posts and comments.

3) I know that my rants just come off as annoying.

Here's the thing... I have accepted the fact (well, I'm trying to accept the fact) that certain rules don't seem to matter when it comes to electronic communications. Most people won't care about the nit-picky stuff in an email or on Facebook. And honestly, it's not stuff like that that keeps me awake at night. I promise. I'm much more bothered by the countless store signs, billboards, and local newspapers containing blatant errors. (Hire a copy editor!!)

In other words, please don't stop leaving me comments and sending me emails. Don't leave me off of your private blog lists. I like having friends. Just skip over my posts that my mom deems snobby (or that you deem annoying). Oh, and maybe hit spell check every once in a while.

That being said, I'm adding to my previous list, simply because I said I would.

Affect is a verb.
Effect is a noun.
My late Eclipse night has affected me for days. The effect of Jacob's abs has no age limit.

Than indicates a comparison.
Then indicates a series of events.
I would rather do anything today than clean my house, but then we'll be living in squalor.

Whether indicates a comparison.
Weather is a state of the atmosphere.
I don't care whether the weather is good; I am going to the pool!

You know what regardless means.
Irregardless is not a word.
Never speak or write the non-word irregardless, regardless of whether you think it makes you sound intelligent.

Good is an adjective.
Well is an adverb.
Kaiya thinks she is a good singer. The truth is, Kaiya does not sing well.
See, good modifies singer (a noun), so it's an adjective. Well modifies sing (a verb), so it's an adverb. It can get tricky, but just figure out if someone is doing something in the sentence. If so, you should probably use the word well.

Side note: I think this concept was drilled into my head through years of calling home sick from school... I would say, "Mom, I don't feel good," and she would correct me with "Do you mean, you don't feel well?" She would then call my bluff and make me stay at school.

p.s. If someone asks, "How are you?" it's okay to say "I'm good" (because good modifies the noun I). "I'm doing well" (with well modifying the verb doing) would answer the question more clearly, though.

p.p.s. "I'm doing good" implies that you're either a philanthropist or Superman.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

I can't resist

I've been in meetings all week with the other sophomore English teachers at my school, aligning our curriculum and creating some common assessments for the upcoming year. I know, it sounds boring, but it was actually really beneficial. I'm excited and grateful that we'll all be on the same page (for once). And those crazy kids can't complain about so-and-so being easier or harder than so-and-so. The suckers will never know what hit them. Mwahaahaa.

Anyway, our conversation lead to common errors that we see in students' writing. But here's the thing - I don't just see these mistakes in my students' writing; I see them everywhere!! We narrowed it down to a list of 20 of the most glaring errors (most of them homophones) that adults have no excuse for making. And because I assume you care, I'm sharing the first five quick and dirty lessons with you.

Its is possessive.
It's is a contraction.
The dragon opened its legs; apparently it's a hermaphrodite.
Obviously the clause after the semicolon was inspired by the one preceding it.

Alot is not a word. Ever. Quit using it.
A lot indicates quantity.
Allot is a verb. It indicates distribution.
Brad allotted me 50 dollars to spend in Park City. I have a lot of explaining to do.
If this misusage has ever bothered you, check out this gem on Rob's blog for some coping mechanisms.

To is a preposition.
Too is an adverb (meaning "also" or "in excess").
Two is a number.
Adam, Jessalyn, Brad, and I were two hours too late to get into The Price is Right.
This true story involves Jack in the Box, a case of carsickness, and a frantic search for a restroom in a Los Angeles alley.

There shows location.
Their shows possession.
They're is a contraction.
The monkeys are over there. I think they're eating their own feces.
I shielded Kaiya from a similar scene at the zoo last week.

Your is possessive.
You're is a contraction.
You're really pretty. It's too bad your kids aren't.
No, sensitive reader, this is not directed at you.

Next up: affect/effect, then/than, whether/weather, regardless/irregardless, and good/well. Class dismissed.

If you're lucky, you can get my lecture on subject-verb agreement at some point too.