Deprifun

Posts Tagged ‘grammar

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Last night something momentous happened.  The BT was online in the dead of the night and I thought that maybe he was feeling lonely, too, or at any rate he would be very tired and unable to think too clearly, so I thought there might be a slight chance that he would reply to a goodnight star. Also because he knows that I send a goodnight star only right before logging off and going to bed, so there’s no risk of me jumping on the chance to – the horror!! – ask him how he is doing or even suggest coffee. He seems to have decided that my allowance is exactly one word a month, and replying to a goodnight is probably the safest option for him, so I thought I might tempt fate.

I gathered my nerves, which were lying haphazardly on the floor (a couple had rolled under the furniture and it was a drag to get them out, but in the process I found a bracelet I thought I had lost and also, surprisingly, a teapot), then tied them up nicely with a ribbon, conjured a little star in the chat window, took a deep breath, took another deep breath, took a third deep breath, told myself to stop taking first, and second, and third deep breaths or I would go into hyperventilation, and hit “send”.

For a split second, Time Stood Still. Then Time thought, “What am I doing here, standing still”? She blushed and with a little embarrassed smile she checked if anybody had seen her standing still so foolishly, and hurriedly sat down.

AND THE BT REPLIED!!!

He said… he said… “good night!”

* sighs contentedly *

And yet – darn. Good. Night. Two words!!! And since I’m only due one word a month… there goes my allowance for TWO WHOLE MONTHS! Now I’ll have to make do until the 28th of JULY!

Stupid Blasted Thing, it is GOODNIGHT! One. Word.

Grrrrrrr.

 

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“We are going to the cinema, care to come?” “We don’t know yet where we are going to spend the hols.” “Repairing the heating cost us a fortune”.

People talk about themselves in the plural form, and I always feel a pang of envy when they do. It means they have somebody they can count on, that they are a part of someone’s life.

With me, it is always “I”. “I could go to the cinema tomorrow. Or just stay home alone hoping some thief shows up for company or prank opportunities.” “I’m not going anywhere for the holidays: first, I have no money, plus, even if I had, travelling alone would just be depressing. I could perhaps bring the thieves with me, though.” “Repairing the heating cost me a fortune and frankly I only repaired it because it was a safety hazard. And while I thought the idea of just falling asleep and sleeping forever was rather appealing, the chimney sweeper found me out so I had to fix it.”

Just my luck, by the way. The only person in my life who is singular is the chimney sweeper, who’s clearly the only one in his trade who doesn’t have a magical nanny with whom to dance on the roof, so he can actually do his job which consists in getting me out of bed at an unholy hour just to tell me that I will need to starve myself in order to be able to save enough money to pay for the privilege of not suffocating.

So, only my chimney sweeper and I are singular, everybody else is plural. I wish I could be plural, too. All the while still wishing I was singular. Actually, I think I need a language where there’s no distinction between singular and plural. I have heard Japanese might do the trick?

It looks like I am developing a phobia for grammar; which by the way has a name (it’s called grammatophobia) and yet doesn’t seem to be a legitimate phobia, so I couldn’t research how this typically works and evolves. I might be the first person affected, ever.

Will this keep to singular and plurals, so I could really solve it by adopting a language with no distinction? Or will it extend to other, more or less random, grammatical elements? Perhaps an urge to punch in the face anybody who shows off with a particularly elaborate construction? And how to make the difference between a normal reaction (anybody would be slightly tense when faced with a past perfect subjunctive tense) and a pathological one (like crossing yourself every time you encounter a cardinal number)?

And will this stay limited to grammar, or will it invade other domains? I wouldn’t be surprised if I started being pissed off at even numbers – I’m always the odd one out, while everybody else comes in pairs. The number 1 is depressing in itself. So will I end up having to buy at least three of anything? Three shoes, three gloves, three watermelons? And what am I going to do with three watermelons anyway? I don’t even like melons, plus according to The Internet, they might be depressing. Or depressed. And shady. Definitely very shady. And possibly on drugs?

turn: terrible, do not eat watermelon, and depressed!!!!!!!

pigment powder with water saccharin tricks, melon conscience exposes insider traders –
Hot summer, eat a sweet red watermelon, both hot weather and thirst. When people of this natural fruit cooing when, who thought of commitment, these red and sweet watermelon, melon actually Meixin traders to earn money, injecting saccharin and coloring the water cooked out of it! Yesterday, a melon trafficking, told reporters this one blew the whistle on shady.
[actual internet wisdom – handbook case of terminal grammatophobia]

 

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People have an annoying habit of referring to me in the plural form.

I first noticed a few months ago: I happened in the area where someone I know had opened an Italian restaurant some time previously, and I decided to drop by and say hi. I found him much changed. Not only he had taken to making sushi: he had also grown distinctly Asian features.

I wrote him an e-mail to inquire about this puzzling turn of events, from my own e-mail address, signing with my name only, with such formulations as: “*I*happened at your restaurant…*I* wanted to say hi…*I* was surprised to see that…” and he replied soon afterwards: “Dear friends, you (plural) are always so kind, thank you (plural) for your (plural) concern. I leased the place to a Korean cook) [mystery solved!], but I will be sure to  tell you (plural) immediately when I open a new place”. Huh?

Once alerted to the peculiar phenomenon, I realised that this happens all the time. People inviting *us* to events. Asking me how *we* are doing, how *we* spent the holidays, what plans *we* have for the upcoming weekend.

I am puzzled. Have I developed multiple personalities without realising? Is my guardian angel suddenly visible? Is that a covert way to imply that I am fat? Do I look like the Pope? Or am I really the Pope? Could I be the first atheist Pope in the history of the Church? What were the good old Cardinals thinking?

I have a sneaking suspicion that by referring to me in the plural form they actually mean me and my FBFF. Because they also apparently tell her stuff and assume that I will be informed. “But how come you do not know?? I did tell your FBFF!”

Well, breaking news! I am not her! She’s not me! I am not we! She is not us! We are not you! You are not him! Him who??

When they go all plural on me, or ask me to do things like relaying a message or giving her something, I politely tell them that I have no idea of what’s going on with her, and that they should contact her directly.

She seems to have chosen a completely different approach: when people ask her about me, she simply makes things up. That brings about interesting situations, like something that happened last Sunday: I had an ice cream with a common acquaintance, and when I left to go home he observed that I was going in the same direction as always. He found that very surprising. I found his very surprise very surprising. Huh?? He explained that my FBFF had told him I had moved flats, and I should have told him, he would have been soooo happy to help. I evilly replied that I haven’t moved, but that I want to and I am very grateful for his kind offer and will make sure to contact him when the time comes. He turned slightly green at that. I wonder why, perhaps the ice cream had disagreed with him?

Anyway, I would like to use this opportunity to launch an appeal to all my friends and frenemies, none of which know about this blog, so my appeal will wander aimlessly through cyberspace like a message in a bottle, and will be retrieved in fifty years or so by a young  and rather cute journalist who was actually looking for something about depressed kittens, and he will come to the very old me for an interview, and I will brew him a steaming cup of tea with actual crushed dried leaves, and he will find this very quaint and will ask me where you can still buy the leaves and not the usual concentrate or a powder, and I will tell him that I had grown it in my garden, and he will love that and start planning in his mind a series of articles about the way you used to do things in the good old times, and he will ask me how did I manage to grow tea in this climate, and I will reply “Oh, but this is not actual tea, my dear”, and cackle evilly and later dispose of his body in the tools shed.

But I digress. So here is my appeal: Dear grammar debauchers, there is a reason why most languages have evolved a singular and a plural form, and it’s a perfectly good one! And no, it wasn’t to provide teachers with a further torture instrument – although that might indeed be the case for irregular plurals. So, use wisely and correctly this wonderful option given to us by the Gods of Grammar!

Thank you very much. We have spoken.


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