You Think I am Picky about My English?!

Being a person with an MA in English and having taught it a few years has, naturally, made me a bit picky with the way I handle language. I try not to press that onto others (except students, of course) as it only makes them angry and whatever you are trying to do is not going to get done.

I have learned to press through books, articles, and conversations when the grammar is not quite up to par. You truly are not much help to people if all you do is pick apart things when you are around. People will simply not be around you. In a sense, it is more your problem if you can’t stand to be around someone simply because of their lack of grammar or the way they express themselves.

I try to listen “past” all that and hear or read what they are trying to say. The Kindle book I am now reading (the one from my previous post) is a very sound example of something worth reading but difficult if you are truly reading it for just pleasure. However, there are those times when it must simply be corrected one way or another.

When my son was a baby, his mother and I tried to limit how much “baby talk” he heard. Most of the family complied (my mother’s mother did not). So, Aaron heard proper grammar most of his little life.

We took him for his checkup at 18 months and the doctor listened to Aaron speak. He asked us to do him a favor and count the words he used properly and mark his grammar a bit. upon our return visit, our doctor was astounded to know that at 18 months Aaron had a vocabulary of 105 words and was using those words correctly in 3 word sentences. Both of my children are very bright and always have been.

Back to the story. Aaron and I were walking downtown Beech Grove when he was about three. I had bought him a helium balloon on a string and he was pretty happy with it floating above him as we strolled down the main street’s sidewalk. As we passed the street lamps (more old fashioned types) Aaron’s balloon struck one of the points sticking out from the lamp and made a loud “pop”.

I remember the string floating down beside Aaron and he simply looked at the end of the string and stood there. Before I could say anything, a woman walked toward us and said to Aaron,

“Oh my, little boy, did your balloon bust?”

Aaron, with the sincerity of a three-year-old, looked at her and said,

“Why no, Ma’am. It burst.”

She looked up at me with some disgust on her face. I looked her and said,

“What? He’s right.”

I think she was a bit angry when she walked away.

I told this story because, tonight, we celebrated several birthdays. We were at my mother’s house and they were talking about something serious. They mentioned a balloon that “bursted”. The story was sad, I believe, but I snickered as I bent over to get something. My daughter looked at me and said something to the effect of

“What were you thinking? You were thinking it, too!”

We shared the memory of the story of Aaron again, laughed, and I realized how important it is to keep those memories alive.

Now, I have passed this one on to you. You need to share it. Who knows, someday, I may be talking to someone and they may say,
“You know, I heard a story…”


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  • susielindau  On October 14, 2012 at 11:46 am

    That is funny! I love that you had a little “grammarian” in the making at only 3 years old!


  • Indira  On October 14, 2012 at 2:14 am

    Hi Scott, I think my comments with lots of mistakes must very irritating to you. If someone not telling my mistakes, then how I’m going to improve. Nice story. Liked it.


    • kindredspirit23  On October 14, 2012 at 9:03 am

      No, Indira. Your posts never bother me. I love your writing and look forward each time to reading them.


      • Indira  On October 14, 2012 at 1:29 pm

        Thanks Scott, very encouraging .


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