Lately I've had zipper trouble. I've been forgetting to zip my pants. Yesterday I went to the bathroom at about three o'clock. At about seven, I was sitting in my writing class, reclined in my seat, when I noticed that my fly was wide open. It had been open for four hours! And this is typical of what's been happening. I'm getting old.
Quoth Rick, my writing instructor:
- "You never need an exclamation point!"
- "Language: you can't stop it."
- "Anyone read A Farewell to Arms? A fantastic book. If you didn't like it, I suggest you read it again."
From last night:
I've just left the Clackamas Community College parking lot, and am turning onto the highway, when a deer saunters across the road. It's not bolting, as you might expect; it's sort of prancing, unconcerned with traffic. What is it doing here, in the middle of the city?
Well, it's not much of a city I guess:
All during class my stomach was growling. I'm hungry. What I really want is Chinese food. Grocery-store deli Chinese food. There's a Haggen next to the college, and I figure that I can just pop over there on the way home to pick up some Szechuan Beef or General Tsao's Chicken. What luck! Rick let's us out early.
I dash to my car and out of the parking lot. I pass the aforementioned deer and pull into Haggen. I dart to the deli, but what do I find? It's 9:20 and they've already taken down the Chinese food. I can smell it everywhere, though. The savory smell of onions and peppers and garlic and breaded meats. Fried rice! Noodles! Eggrolls! Surely they must have something they can sell me? But, no. Then I see it: a trash can filled unsold Chinese food. What a waste! Am I to go hungry because of this?
If this were a real city, I'd be able to find Chinese food at 9:30 p.m.
I hurry home and, though it's little consolation, I boil a package of ramen noodles.
We've now written two drafts each of two different stories for class. You've seen both drafts of one of the stories here. To finish the term, we are to write two more drafts of one of these stories. I actually prefer the story that you haven't seen yet (Bibliophilic: A Love Story — heh) and would like to finish it. I've decided to work on Singular Image, however, for two reasons:
- I'm less likely to polish that story without motivation because I'm less interested in it.
- By choosing that story, I can continue to share what happens during the writing process.
[Enter Grammar Boy...]
So, I may have ranted about this before, but even if I have, it's worth ranting again.
Everyone makes grammar mistakes. Even those of us who, as pompous asses, go around correcting your grammar mistakes. We make them, too. Ours just aren't as bad as yours. In general.
Some grammar mistakes are so bad that it takes superhuman restraint for me to keep my mouth shut. But that's why, as Grammar Boy, I am a superhero. One of my superpowers is the Power to Bite My Tongue.
It seems that many people were corrected as children when they said "Jim and me went to the store" or "Me and Jim went to the store". Their parents and teachers corrected them: "Jim and I went to the store." And that's fine. The parents and teachers were correct. It is "Jim and I went to the store".
It is not ever "Jim came with Lisa and I". Argh. It is only through my Grammar Boy powers that I'm able to withstand the pain of typing that sentence. Things do not happen to "I". Things happen to "me".
Some are under the impression that any time they include themselves in a list of people, the correct word to use is "I". This is only true if you are the subject of the sentence. If, as in the example above, Jim is the subject of the sentence, then you are not "I', you are "me".
If you have trouble with this concept, here's an easy check to determine which word you should use. Remove all other pronouns from the clause and check that it sounds correct. Would you say "Jim came with I"? Of course not! So why on Earth would you say "Jim came with Lisa and I"? Don't do it! It's dreadful. It sounds worse than you can possibly imagine.
[...Exit Grammar Boy (who also doubles as Hyperbole Man)]