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“Your grammar is a reflection of your image. Good or bad, you have made an impression. And like all impressions, you are in total control.” –Jeffrey Gitomer
I can still remember my mom correcting me as a child about the proper order of a noun and the first person pronoun in the subject, “Sophia and I”, not “Me and Sophia”. Argh! Why did it matter? my 12 year old self would mutter under my breath. But as I’ve grown up, learned from making many mistakes and mispronunciations along the way as well as being reminded by readers of typos here on TSLL, I’ve come to the realization that there is a magnificent power behind the words we
But wait a second, you may be saying, being pedantic isn’t attractive either, and I would wholeheartedly agree. But as someone who loves to dance with words, circles words in articles and books so as to look them up and add to my vocabulary, I may be a bit bias on the allure of elevated diction and proper syntax. But the key is to know your audience. In a professional setting: an interview or presentation, speaking properly and writing properly, builds confidence and credibility. And more importantly, when it comes to communication, choosing the precise word conveys the intended mood, tone or image in the listener/reader’s mind.
I think Stephen Fry explains it best in the video below: have fun with language, use it as you will, but don’t be intimidated by it and don’t use it to wield superiority over others.
So, it is okay to misspell from time to time? After all, the auto-correct is always quick to assume and humiliate (at least that’s what I’m going to blame it on). Absolutely. A grammar or spelling critic, quite honestly, can be a wet blanket. We all have slips of the fingers on the keys. But sometimes we just want to know and learn. When should we use fewer vs. less? There are many rules I am continually brushing up on, and as an English teacher, one of the greatest angsts is the expectation of perfection. But I’ve come to find peace with the fact that I am human, and will always have something to learn. So long as I remain open to constructive criticism and do my best, that is all I can do.
With that said, I would like to invite you to join me on the journey of the English language. After all, there are many questions, broken rules and oddities that simply require memorization. And who doesn’t want to add one more word (such as luculent) to their vocabulary to complete that Sunday Times Crossword puzzle or win a few more points on Jeopardy in their leisure time?
Just in case you’re curious . . .
luculent (adj) – of speech or writing, clearly expressed
EX: The guest speaker’s brilliant, luculent commencement address brought the class of 2015 to their feet.
With the invitation extended, a new series has begun here on TSLL blog. Each post will remain short (today’s is an exception), with one grammar lesson or word of the week to inspire and bolster your vocabulary or remind you of a word to consider using more often.
All grammar lessons and vocabulary terms will be archived in the “English” category, should you want to peruse them once a handful have accumulated. So here we go!
While this week’s lesson is less of a proper usage rule and more of a phonetic guide, it is something that for me was initially intimidating and foreign. For my European readers, the umlaut and diaeresis are more commonly seen, but for American readers, the only publication that vows to continue to use each religiously is The New Yorker. Either way, once we know, then we can observe it as a helping hand as we nonchalantly pronounce the word in question exactly as it was designed.