because life doesn’t fit in a file folder

Grammar is a Hussy

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I got this little gem from a colleague who was in the midst of grading three sections of English 101 mid-term papers. Upon completing one full section of essays, he decided to reward himself.

(I usually reward myself by eating a bag of Snickers.)

Anyway, he found this little gem and sent this around via department mail:

My colleague took pause to wonder:

Do you think if we “sexed it up” (as the British say), we could ever get everyone to use it?

Let me be the first to say that I am a Grammar Pimp and proud of it.

I use Grammar all the time.

And she has never failed me.

Ever.

Grammar is slick.

She is tireless, and she never lets me down.

She has never asked me for anything, and I have only benefited from my relationship with her.

Seriously, who wouldn’t want in on that kind of action?

Grammar, you have a bag full of tricks, you dirty girl.

You aren’t afraid of anything: noun-pronoun agreement, misplaced modifiers, dangling modifiers. Colons don’t scare you and –  Grammar, you little trollop – you love when people use their hyphens properly.

Don’t you?

Yes you do.

Knowing Grammar is great.

But using Grammar is excellent.

I’m telling you: Use Grammar.

She wants you to.

If we approached grammar as if it were a reality TV show, do you think it would make kids more psyched to learn their grammar rules? Or would a whole bunch of teachers just get fired?

48 thoughts on “Grammar is a Hussy

  1. I *love* that card. Going to make one full-size and frame it in my office.

    1. I bet you are, you naughty boy. 😉

      1. My grammar and my grammpar taught me good.

  2. I personally like this one (there are tons of them online):

    Dear Reader,
    Please do me right now. On the kitchen table. In your bed. On the couch. Hell, I’ll even take the floor in front of the T.V. I don’t care, I just need you to do me like I’ve never been done before.

    Sincerely,
    Your Homework

    1. I wonder how THAT would go over if I sent it out as a mass email to Comp 101ers.

      I’m guessing most would laugh and STILL elect not to do their homework.

      1. I’m hearing in my mind the song “Dude looks like a lady” by Aerosmith – “do me … do me do me do me…..”

  3. My husband bought me a shirt: “Talk grammar to me, baby.”

    1. It’s hawt when a man knows what turns on his woman – even if it involves capitalization and punctuation. 😉

      1. Hey, if I get home early enough and I’m lucky, I might get to do some conjugating one evening this week.

  4. In the online universe, you have been tweeted, facebooked, stumbled upon, and dugg. I would venture that someone would cause a stir and get angry. Most likely a person that doesn’t understand the benefits of proper grammar usage. I admit that I was bored to death in high school with this, but make it a little fun and even I may have paid more attention. Great story!

  5. Renee, great post! Love it! I say whatever gets kids to learn, do it!

    1. Mary! Are you saying you wouldn’t freak out if your children (yes, I know you have 5) received a handout like that from school?

      I’m not sure I could even pull it off at the college level – but it is fun to fantasize. 😉

  6. Happy National Poetry day Grammar

    1. My goodness, Patty, dear.

      Did you forget to capitalize the “d” in “day? And what about the comma before Grammar? My goodness.

      You know what I think? I think you are just being naughty. That’s what I think.
      😉

      1. No, you write goodest.

  7. I love this note. I’m so insecure about my grammar usage (I wasn’t an English major) but I do try. Nice thing about homeschooling is the review for the parents.

    1. Don’t be insecure. Start off slowly with a little conjugation. It feels fabulous! I think once you gain confidence you might feel less nervous about whether anal retentive has a colon or not. Just close your eyes and relax. Period. See how easy it is to start? 😉

  8. Besides my Neruda, I do have a copy of Karen Elizabeth Gordon’s illustrated “The Well-Tempered Sentence: A Punctuation Handbook for the Innocent, the Eager, and the Doomed” (I struggle with language). This book is from 1983 and I bet there are others like it. It is amusing writing which attempts to make punctuation fun.

    Even though it’s hilarious and gets right to the point, I’m not sure this slutty grammar fun would fly in high school. I wouldn’t have liked that in the classroom when I was 15 or when my daughter was 16. College writing class, yes. High school is too complicated and young. I started college at 17, though, so I’m not sure even there. Maybe greater minds than mine can sort this out.

    Oh, and on that last most excellent blog? I didn’t mean I literally fling bad books to the wall! I didn’t write well enough to clarify said slinging was a figure of speech, so to say. I wouldn’t damage a book. 🙂

    1. Annette:

      If you are relying on a grammar book from the 1980s, you will likely need to add some new gadgets to your bag of tricks, especially if you use citation – which is forever changing.

      This pisses some people off, but I look at these forever changing rules as new opportunities to surrender. “Yes, Grammar, you kick my ass. I do not know how to properly cite websites because home computers hadn’t been invented yet. Help me, Grammar. I’ve been a bad girl.”

      Then Grammar gives me a good spanking, and I’m good to go. 😉 Plus I’m a little bit smarter.

  9. I think you could use it in the senior classes of high school, but anything younger than that you’d be running into issues.

    1. Oh, I’m pretty sure there would be issues.

      And by issues, I mean, I’m pretty sure I would be unemployed if I ever deployed something like this in a classroom. Anywhere.

      I do not recommend this approach. Remember, I’m on vacation. I’m just thinking about this stuff. 😉

  10. Does anyone else really want to add the word “to” to the end of this note? It’s gnawing at me…

    Wendy

    1. Dear Wendy:

      It would be very naughty to end a sentence in a prepositional phrase. That would be technically incorrect; that is, if we were writing formally.

      But as Worst Professor Ever generally reminds me: Fuck formality. 😉

  11. Bring back Schoolhouse Rock!

    1. See? That’s pretty sexy! It’s all about “hookin’ up”? Isn’t it?

    2. I loved Conjunction Junction.

  12. I was just thinking how surprising it is that the phrase “dangling participle” has not yet come up among this crowd of perverted grammarians 😉

    1. I’m on a beach in Florida with very sketchy Internet. You are commenting at lightning speed compared to me. I have limited abilities today. That said, I am generally not a fan of the dangling modifier and will do what I can to teach others to avoid that nasty, nasty habit.

      I’ve heard that if a person messes around with dangling modifiers for too long, he might end up with conjuction-itis. 😉

      Also you forgot the period at the end of that sentence.

      1. Beach in Florida… must be nice. Some of us have to work and some don’t, I guess.

        Forgiving your ironic typos, I will just say that I could let fly with about a gazillion risque puns, innuendos and other bits of wordplay on this whole language-as-sex riff, but I’m controlling myself.

        I will say that if English classes were more like this post thread, many more kids would graduate, and some might even become authors or professors on account of they could right good.

      2. I’m on a tiny little screen! Cut me some slack. I’ll fix everything later. You are so competitive.

        See, everyone, this is the Michael who has to beat me at everything.

        Even Grammar! 😉

  13. No, that’s not true, I don’t have to beat you at everything…

    I have to beat *everyone* at everything.

    That’s how I roll.

    1. You do have the bestest grammar in the whole wide world though.

      For a boy. 😉

  14. The letter says to use her when ever you want. What if I don’t want too? Maybe it should say please use me every time, in every possible way?

    1. Dammit, Kelliefish:

      You had to go and find a loophole!

      I had a good thing goin’ on. 😉

  15. I love this note! Thank you for posting it! It’s fantastic and I often want to put notes such as this one on the texts that I edit.

    1. I may include this little ditty on the cover of my syllabus next fall.

      After I run the idea by my Department Chair.

      You know, just to be sure. 😉

  16. You can use her to get an A in class. You can use her to get back at your girlfriend. Grammar loves to get MLA’d.

    Haaaahahaha, I crack myself up sometimes. Okay, all the time.

    1. I cannot believe I didn’t come up with that one. I. Am. Bitter.

      MLA’d.

      So good. 😉

  17. Grammar is a hussy. I know this personally. Heck, I’ve even used her in public; on the bus, in the mall, right in the hallway at my daughter’s school. I am beginning to think that many people are either very shy or grammar prudes. They seem reluctant to use her anywhere. Not even in the privacy of their own homes, with the lights out.

    1. People are very hypocritical when it comes to Grammar. They are all: “I did not have relations with that Grammar.” As if. 😉

  18. Grandma T drops Grammar off by the Cahulawassee River in the remote Georgia wilderness. Crows caw and the sound of dueling banjos echo through the forest. Suddenly leaves rustle and Grammar finds herself surrounded by unkempt, toothless hillbillies. Grammar and Bobby were violated that day. It was not the type of usage she had expected. Grammar decides to abandon southern wilderness regions and return to her pristine condo in Santa Barbara. The End ;}

    1. Is that what happened to Grammar. She was defiled. Is that why everyone has abandoned her? Well, that is just sad. 😉

    2. I knew something bad would happen to her down there. After all she shore had purty lips.

  19. Sex sells. Humor sells. Unfortunately, most people abuse, misuse, confuse, and are obtuse about grammar. No amount of flirtatious flourishes can induce understanding how and why Grammar wants to be used. Bless the teachers who instill it with logic and clarity, not just as slavish observance of antiquated dogmas or vacuous new fads.

    Language is humanity’s most valuable tool: it encodes thought. And thinking is humanity’s most precious endowment. About this subject I am dead serious, even rabidly passionate. I take every affront to Grammar personally.

    Grandma T, I love your story. But “the sound … echo”? Did noun-verb agreement get lost in the wilderness?

    Great blog, Renée. Thanks for building it.

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