Language Lesson 1 and 2…*

lessonThere was (is?) a number of enthusiastic fans of Saturday’s post titled Sloppy is as sloppy does…(Yes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!).  If you haven’t seen the post, it’s (its?) worth a peak.  The punch line?  Bad grammar and punctuation are (is?) bad.

So, wouldn’t you know it, LaDona (Piano Teacher extraordinaire) proceeds to proof read my old post titled: Who would have thought…

I made the mistake of checking my emails before bed time to find an email flashing from LaDona.  She took the courtesy of sending me a private email rather than censuring (aka humiliating) me in public in the comment section of my post.  (So Canadian of her!)

“Dave, you seem to be heading a campaign to clean up some bad writing habits (and rightly so!), so you might want to take care of the rogue apostrophes in the Zeke post. They are still not supposed to be used to denote plurals unless they show plural possession.  Kanigan’s is incorrect in this usage, as are most appearances of Viszla’s.”

I scrambled to find the post.  And sure enough – I found nine apostrophes where they didn’t belong.  (HORROR).  I hustled to make the corrections (just in case anyone was going to be reading this January 15, 2012 post in the next 12 hours – wee bit schizophrenic aren’t we?) and sent LaDona a thank you note.

Being the good teacher that she is, she proofed it again, and BAM – she found another wayward apostrophe.  (Good God Man, are you on a masochistic run here?)  Here’s LaDona in her best Teacher form in her email response:

“Practically perfect. 2nd bullet point – parentheses – if you’re talking about both kids here, and I’m certain you are, it should be kids’ part (plural possessive) not kid’s part (singular possessive). Everything else looks good.

Practically Perfect.  DON’T YOU JUST LOVE HER!

Gotta love this blogging world.  Instantaneous feedback loop.  I didn’t stop thinking about this episode all day today.  LOVE THIS ABOUT BLOGGING.  (YOU ARE ALL IN MY HEAD!!)

So, I’m eyeing all of my apostrophes closely.  And be sure to send me your grammatical corrections.**  You did note that my blog handle is “Lead.LEARN.Live.”

Lesson #2.  I’m adding to my learnings.  For some reason, the quote below has stuck with me.  And, I’m trying to scrub “very” from my vocabulary and my posts.  No more VERY going forward.

Do avoid using the word ‘very’ because it’s lazy. A man is not very tired, he is exhausted. Don’t use very sad, use morose. Language was invented for one reason, boys – to woo women – and, in that endeavor, laziness will not do. It also won’t do in your essays.”
  ~ Dead Poets Society

Good Monday Evening…


* My Son Eric, college freshman in September, proof read this post and found 3 grammatical errors which I subsequently corrected before posting.

** Except for grammatical corrections on the following which I deem permissible: (1) Use & overuse of sentence fragments and repeated use of short, choppy sentences. (2) Slang (like gotta, ain’t, etc.) used for journalistic emphasis or for whatever I deem appropriate in my sole discretion. (3) Use of run-on sentences.  (4) Inappropriate change of tenses.  (5) Statements where I talk to myself at beginning, end or in between sentences (normally italicized). (6) Em-Dashes – – – – – – – – use, overuse and incorrect use. (7) Use and overuse of periods and dots to separate fragments and sentences……(8) Anything else that looks normal to my eye.

Dead Poets Society Quote Source: coloredmondays via abirdeyeview

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  1. I hesitated to leave evidence of my reading and Liking your post lest someone happen to stop over and proofread any of my egregious writing– BUT I Liked this post very much. Er, immensely. Thank you : ) ~ Lily


    • It’s so funny you leave this comment Lily. I normally bang these posts out and call it an evening. I read this darn post 10 times and all the words started to blur together. So, I had Susan and the kids read it. Incredible how we can work ourselves into a whirlwind! Thanks for dropping by. And I like “immensely!”


  2. LaDona's Music Studio says:

    Now that I’ve picked myself up from the floor after laughing so hard I can comment! You took this much better than my brothers ever did! (Oldest sister = harsh version of mother).
    I’m certain someone – you, Dave? – will comment at some point on my excessive use of the dash.
    Note the correct usage of the exclamation mark. I’m holding back today.


  3. Thank you for your honesty….can I use more than one exclamation point if I really mean it? Love all that you do and look forward to each post. Bloggers are amazing and the support of our circles is fantastic. Have a great Monday evening! (only one). 🙂


    • Thanks Tina. I fully agree that bloggers are amazing. Especially as I’ve found that “like kind attract like kind.” So we share many similar character traits and eccentricities. Laughing at how many of us are now sensitized to the overuse of exclamation points. All because of one image tied to the post. (I’m in the same camp by the way!)


  4. Funny. (I’m actually afraid to post anything else.)


  5. I, for one, am very very very very very very very very very very glad that I am not the subject of “Remedial Grammatical Woodshed 101” and can stand by on the sidelines cheering you in your quest to become perfectly grammatical. Yay you! And thanks for taking one for the team!


    • Hilarious, even at 4:24 am. Esp. the “very” part and the woodshed part. Leonard, you’ll come to find out that I am the poster child for taking it for the team. Thanks for staying on for the ride.


  6. Hello Dave,
    (Have a miles one Smile) I am sure after an hour or two I am going to laugh over what you have written 😀 We all are so much used to of using *our favorite words, helping verbs and punctuation marks* that we feel like to add them in our writings even if they are not the best fit. (Now Laughing) For a second I was like Man I should re-read my comments. I am loving it ! (I will die if I stopped giving space before an exclamation sign 😉 :p)


  7. David, you know this iis a red rag to a bull, and that we are going to be all over you now? Perhaps we should agree some form of etiquette here, as people like myself will not know when to stop. Shall we agree what signal on your part means “stop it now, I have learnt enough”n and also how public or not you want your learning to be. Can anyone join in, even if they themselves are sloppy in some respect?
    Once again your openness and candour amaze me.


    • What a appropriate visual Michael. Reg flag to a bull. That’s so me. OK, I have taken your feedback to heart (partially). I have added a disclosure to the post above (a late addition). If there are corrections that fall outside of these disclosures, GAME ON. HIT ME. And keep hitting me, UNTIL I GET IT. 🙂


  8. Grammar and punctuation Nazis. Oh my. Come over to mine, any day, and correct away, please 😀


  9. What a riot, David. Really enjoyed the spirit of this post. And I think you’re right about “like attracting like” in the blogosphere. You’ve got a fabulous group of followers….


  10. You have some adoring followers David, despite your over-use of punctuation. And isn’t it just like you to share your lessons. Of course I could say that I was also exceedingly amused (because I can’t think of anything else that will replace the ‘very’), so I will.


  11. Just read your disclosures afterthought. Surely item 8 is your perfect exit ticket, allowing you to discard any feedback on the basis that “it looked ok to me”? Fantastic! You get the feedback and contract with us that you can pick or choose which bits to accept. Masterful, Mr K. Or should that be Masterly? You’ve got us all at it now. Thanks!


  12. Ouch, no-one likes falling into their own pit 😉



  1. […] was – um – featured on a blog post at Lead.Learn.Live yesterday. The topic was punctuation. Because I know there are a few of you who are just as […]


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