Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Lolly, Lolly, Lolly, we need your adverbs here.

Please allow me this language-geek moment.

If you want a word to modify a verb, you need an adverb.

Not an adjective.

Using adjectives instead of adverbs seems to have become an accepted de-evolution of the English language, and it drives me out of me head (thanks, Jodie).

drive safe
act different
run quick
think clear
clap loud

For Lolly's sake, people, throw an "ly" on the end of those adjectives!

I know you're busy. You have a lot to accomplish in a small amount of time and you're trying to trim every second you can. But here's a thought -- maybe replace a handful of the times you stick "like" in a sentence with an adverb or two? You can start slowly <--ADVERB!, like, cut out maybe, like, just one "like" in a sentence and, like, try that. Eventually, you might find that you've actually saved yourself some time.

Look, I know some people are beyond hope, like, say, the leader of our country. You can't... if you're gonna say a verb... an adverb... if you're gonna... the nucular... with an adjective... you can't... don't fool me again.

No, my hopes aren't that high. But how about advertisers? Reporters? Journalists? Public information officers? Teachers? Infomercial hosts? If you're speaking or writing to the public, a basic knowledge of the difference between adjectives and adverbs would be ever so refreshing.

15 comments:

JennyJinx said...

Great. Now I've got to start actually proofreading my stuff. Thanks a lot, Jeff.

By the way, Blogger commenting really, most certainly hates me. It absolutely refuses to publish when I push the button (until I login on the mainpage). Why do you hate me, Blogger? Why?!

Joe the Troll said...

Evidently, I can't comment on PJ's blog from work anymore, since we don't have the cookie thing activated.

Anyway, this of course shows the inadequacy of language education these days, and I think a lot of the blame goes to parents that don't foster an attitude that it matters to get this stuff right. I would never have been able to say something like that around my mom without getting a short lecture about speaking with proper English. These days, people consider it a sign of geekiness if you don't ignore thier poor English and voluntarily dumb down your speech for them. Example:

I referred to an ottoman as an "ottoman" once. My girlfriend at the time didn't know what I meant, so I pointed. Exasperated, she said "Why don't you just call it a footstool???" "Because", said I, "it's not a stool. It's an ottoman."

This is the same type of attitude. "So what if I don't use the right word. I'm not an English professor. You know what I mean. What's the difference?"

I just call it intellectual laziness, and tend to think less of that person's abilities from ten on. Maybe that's wrong, but that's the effect that not caring about tour native language has on me.

Jodie K said...

drive safe
act different
run quick
think clear
clap loud


I call it "caveman talk".

...and you're welcome.

Jeff Kos said...

"I think a lot of the blame goes to parents that don't foster an attitude that it matters to get this stuff right."

Yes, yes, yes! Teachers too!

Every time my kid starts a sentence with, "Me and Alexa..." I cut her off and say, "Who?" She immediately starts again with, "Alexa and I..." And it's working, because she's definitely improving. Unfortunately, most kids aren't corrected, as you say, so everyone around her says "Me and..." so it's easy for her to slip back into it. I want to barge into the classroom and yell at the teachers, "Do your job! Don't let them talk like that!"

Don said...

You are tilting at windmills when you suggest journalists should learn to write English well. That (apparently) is the last thing they are taught.

Comes right after objectivity.

Speaking of attitude, in my career amongst engineers from multiple countries, I've noticed that proper English is never seen as desirable, and making any comment or correction about bad usage nearly suicidal. It's especially galling that thousands of smart people who have learned to be thoroughly functional in English are learning and relying on stupid corporatespeak words that should never have been born, and tying them together with poor grammar that most native-born speakers, not having attended any language arts classes except under duress, don't even notice.

Paula said...

Geraldo said "efforting" the other night and I screamed.

I'm used to lawyers, who generally can speak and write better than the average person, so I've become spoiled and have a low tolerance for mistakes.

I find that teachers make a lot of mistakes. I had to tell S back in fifth grade to stop correcting them because they were getting annoyed with her.

One of the things I love about the Sopranos is that the writers are always sneaking errors into the dialog. They did the "imply/infer" thing last Sunday. Very fun!

Nobody said...

I have such a bad habit of correcting people (only those I know well) when they do this.

And you know, bub, advertisers are some of the worst offenders.

fringes said...

Grammar rants are futile. No one knows what an adverb is anymore. Except my kids. No dinner if they don't get that shit right the first time.

PJ said...

Ooooh, language rants, I could go on and on.

But I won't. I'm in a very good mood today because I just got a chic new hairdo and some sexy black high heel sandals and if I start thinking about language abominations, my cheeriness will be ruined.

PJ said...

"Evidently, I can't comment on PJ's blog from work anymore, since we don't have the cookie thing activated."

Hmm, somebody else had problems with that too. Is it Haloscan? I'm about to dump it.

O' Tim said...

You are tilting at windmills when you suggest journalists should learn to write English well.

To quote me pal of seafarin' fame, "Well, blow me down!"

In considering the majority of readers, I know some journalists often find it difficult to write at an eighth grade level.

And in the spirit of this post's good-natured nitpickery, I would have taken the adverbial opportunity and said, "...write English properly."

Lucyp said...

I blame the proofreaders for the terrible standard of English in journalism. Don't they know they are meant to make us look good. Imbeciles!!
Could this be an example of the English language evolving? There seems to be a shift towards the 'writing as it is spoken' style.

Webmiztris said...

like, are you making fun of me? ;)

O' Tim said...

totally :p

DangerDoll said...

So I had this beautifully worded comment all done - I mean, seriously, had you seen it, you would have immediately contacted the Louvre to have it included in their collection of pure fucking ART. Then Blogger ate it. So don't blame me if the new comment sucks ass!

It is ALL parents and teachers, and what society deems important. We (the collective "we") no longer take pride in dressing appropriately for certain events, working hard for the payoff, or treating each other with basic courtesy. So speaking well - eh, had to go sometime! Remember a few months ago when New Zealand decided to allow "text-speak" on exams?

But in MY house, ahem, I don't think so. Remember the post I did on my daughter's take on why the Easter Bunny needed help ("...he fell off a cliff and broke his arm...")? I was actually SO PROUD of that because...well, not necessarily because she has inherited my sick sense of humor, but because of the last two words: "That's why." Note the correct apostrophe placement. She put it in the right place because I'VE taught her where it goes and why. Her teacher is lovely but has a room full of children whose parents she has to beg to help them with their reading...so they can PASS FIRST GRADE. Meanwhile, mine gets the apostrophe in the right place, reads 4th grade books, and knows how to write a thank you note without assistance...because she has been raised to know that those things DO matter.

(Not that I'm making this all about how great my kid is even though SHUT UP she IS...I'm just saying that when it's important to the parents, it will be easier for the teachers to reinforce the message.)

I've griped many, many times that those Schoolhouse Rock bits should be brought back immediately. I found a copy on DVD and my kid loves it (although she has problems pronouncing "indubitably").