Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Curiously Searching For the Adverb

At the beach yesterday during the storm.

For years now I have been watching the media and everyone else misuse the English language.

I know, I must be getting old. But since my formal early education was heavily drenched in grammar, spelling, punctuation and sentence structure, I cannot help but notice that the English language is changing, and not for the better, I feel.

It was pretty wild.

For example, the adverb. You know that part of speech that describes an activity/verb. Let's say I feel very strongly about this. Some people today would say that they feel very strong about this too.

See what I mean. Both sound differently when you say them. One, the first one, is an adverb, while the other is using an adjective in place of the adverb. It doesn't work because adjectives describe nouns not verbs.

Sophie didn't enjoy it at all!

Another common one is the use of safe instead of safely. We see it around here all the time.....'Drive safe!'.......instead of 'Drive safely!'

I think that  language-usage is changing alongside everything else in our culture. Not necessarily a bad thing some of the time but when it comes to the language.....that is a different story as far as I'm concerned.

I realize that languages change over time and evolve to reflect the culture of which it represents. We lose some words and gain others. 
She wanted to get back to the car.

We learn to communicate in different ways using technologies that are ever-evolving at a very fast rate.

We learn ways to get the message out in a more precise and quick manner. The language is bound to change.

                  So we did.
So, am I naive in wanting to 'hold on to the past'? Am I really saying that I don't want things to change because this will mean that I am getting older?

Yes and no, probably. I like to hear the language spoken properly by a person who has a sound knowledge and grasp of it.

Let it evolve, yes. Let the foundation remain intact. Otherwise it could crumble.


  1. How often do I butcher the English language? Daily. How often does Fred correct me or simply roll his eyes at me? Once again, Daily. Life is tough living with an English Major. And I feel extra stupid since it's his second language. Believe me, I try my best but sometimes I stumble over my own tongue. I find that writing in a Blog has helped me Big Time. I mean, tremendously. Sorry about that. I'll leave you with this. Sometimes, and I think that you would agree, a sentence can be funnier when you don't use proper English.
    Your Friend, m.

  2. Jim, I used to be the same way. I have caved in. I do not type well and I just let it happen. My sister was a major influence on my sentence structure. She was a stenographer and had her own way of putting things down. Works for me! (Yes, I know, I left out the subject) Gloria never used the word "I". Often I will also leave it out. Sorry, my major education was reading and life and they don't care how you speak at the drafting table. :-)

    I abhor the Southern slang terms, but living in the South, they are tolerated. "Fixing to" is like chalk on a blackboard to me, but phrases like that, are all around me. My children, do know, I do NOT want to hear it.

    The English language is going the way of Latin, and becoming another "dead" language. I am no help. :(

  3. Are you revealing your super hero persona, Jabacue? Grammar Man! He fights for adverbs everywhere!

  4. Debra, Someone has to!! I'm strong!

  5. But JIM, here in the States we haven't spoken English in years! And with texting we prove it.
    It is mostly groans, burps, bumps, yuks, naaaws. .and other interpretive sounds. No womder we have communication problems. ;-)


  6. I don't believe this. Okay, I'm pretty sure I'm being sent a message here... and I'm pretty sure I'm not writing any of this correct - ly. lol. I was on the phone with my sister last night. She teaches Jr. High in the Annapolis. She was editing a few pages of a novel that my son is writing and commenting on his bad use of adverbs/adjectives etc. etc. She's always correcting me as well. (that's why I love her). English was my favorite subject in school, and I got A's and B's but I think some brain cells died during my rebellious, partying years and now it's all jumbled and makes no sense. I need to take some courses... maybe online. But my memory is horrible. What to do. I once had a guy break up with me because he told me I used too many adjectives, yikes. You teachers are sticklers on writing and talking correctly... And... since I've just finished my memoir and am looking to have it published, I have to say I am appreciating the mini lessons in English and I am now, seriously thinking about taking a course. This book is going to need some serious editing. This was a great post Jim... and way too coincidental w/ my sis talking to me about this very thing last night. Now I'm going to be paranoid about writing anything. I know. Just correct me, then you'll be happy. I'll have learned something. And all will be good. well. nice. great. fantastic. :)

  7. I used to use English correctly, but the older I get, the worse my grammer, spelling, sentence structure, etc. gets.

  8. Ha ha, love the Grammar Man! I was an English major and the ever-increasing slaughter of the English language drives me bonkers. Try living in the South where EVERYONE, even people with college educations, mangle entire sentences! And guess what? After living here for nearly 20 years, I've caught "my own self" uttering something completely grammatically wrong. Aaaargh! I think that our generation is going to be the last one to even care about this, unfortunately. What with Facebook and texting, everything is abbreviated and every other word is a typo. Sad.

  9. LOL I am laughing with Deborah!

    GRAMMAR MAN to the rescue of the now TWITTER'D English language, avenger of forgotten adverbs everywhere, writer of similes and metaphor whilst using the correct punctuation, inflection, and tone to include quotations with citations.

    Oh Gosh, I crack myself up justly.


  10. Yes Grammar man rules !!! I'm a poor speller but a stickler for good grammar - am constantly correcting when it just sounds so awful to me like finger nails down a chalk board ! It really doesn't take much but needs learning .... but alas we are becoming a nation of Text Speech ( moan grumble moan )

  11. I strongly agree! My 'pet peev' are people who misuse the conjunction 'however' by commencing a sentence with it. I hear a lot of this on the television, especially from journalist/commentators! Often they make a point in their commentry and then, as if to emphasise the contrary view, they commence another sentence with "However, ....." .....Grrrrrrr!

  12. Excellent post and you don't want to get me started on this...as a retired teacher, my pet peeve is the blatant misuse of the English language.
    I heard abou the storm on the Weather Channel. Hope all is well and drive safeLY!!! :)

  13. I agree with you Jim--Just yesterday I was listening to an interview on the radio and the person being interviewed was supposed to be a 'professional' and he kept saying the phrase 'know what I'm sayin.' It drove me crazy!

  14. Lol!! I agree with you, but as a "Twitter-er" and texter, I've been programmed to say what I have to say in 140 charactes or less! Safely would require two valuable additional characters that I might not want to part with ;o) And I empathize with Terry, my grammar and spelling have gotten worse over the years!

  15. Jim,
    I am with you all the way on this. I'm several sites and the misuse of the language is appalling. People cannot spell (even with spell checkers), cannot write a decent sentence, cannot speak properly, and as the previous post indicates, it's not just people with minimal education (I have some sympathy for them), but people who are supposed to be well-educated and who are in the professions.

  16. Kim.....I 'know what your sayin'!' lol

  17. Read "The evolution of Language" and you'll see that not only does it evolve, but the older members of the population (in every single language) tend to lament the changes. When I was young, I was taught to never end a sentence with a preposition. Now I teach people to do exactly that. It's all good.


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