Wednesday, July 15, 2009
I have always been a stickler for proper spelling and grammar. I cringe when I read things that are misspelled or hear someone badgering the English language. This summer, I am taking a publishing editing class -- or so I thought. Little did I know it would include lots of details about spelling and grammar. Of course -- because that is what some book editors do. They red-line manuscripts to ensure proper spelling and style.
While I may be a writer, I write a lot of advertising copy. That means slang terms and style are much more loosy goosy than when writing a magazine article or a book manuscript.
Yikes, while reading our class assignments this week I realized I may have some poor grammar going, using my slangy terminology and such. I will never again go home to "lay on my couch" -- because that implies I might be "laying an egg", which of course, is not the case. If I tell my dog, Maggie to "lay down" -- no wonder she completely ignores me! She has no interest in "laying an egg" either. Now, I'm a bit paranoid. What happened to me? I guess I'll be paying better attention.
My past visions of grammar classes take me back in time to grade school. Catholic nuns walking around in long, black habits with stern looks -- and rulers -- making us spell incredibly difficult words. My classmates and I just hoped we did not get slapped.
My professor this time around seems much, much nicer, and there are luckily no rulers involved.
I am so confused by all of this. I don't just have a slight crush on the English language -- I am hopelessly, stupidly in love with words, definitions and proper usage.
I am the nerd that should have pocket protectors stapled to my forehead. I would (almost) rather receive a box of sharpened red pencils than a new car.
By the way, I do not tell my dog to "lay down." I tell her to "lie down."
But here's the kicker. I am a dinosaur. Ok, I text. I use some shorthand in emails and notes. I know the difference between proper correspondence and a reply to a teenager. But do they?
And if I don't understand something or question its usage, I look it up. Years ago, that involved opening the dictionary or (gasp!) going to the library. I have it a lot easier these days. So does everyone. I still bother to look it up.
I look it up too. Problem is, grammar usage is tough to look up! With Microsoft grammar check, half the time it's incorrect...
PS: When Sheri and I worked together in a past life, she "red-lined" everything (whether it needed to be or not!).