Wednesday, April 19, 2006

My bad(s)

Thanks to being a shy kid who spent most of her time reading, I know the difference between their, they're and there; whose and who's; and your and you're. I do not write lose when I mean loose and I know that compliment and complement are two different words. I am not perfect. I have trouble spelling words with double consonants like recommend; I make mistakes with past perfect verb tenses; and until a few days ago, I did not understand when to use bring vs take. Oh - I also like to write long run-on sentences. I often pick up 'common writing pitfalls to avoid' books, but I never find the information useful.

Recently, I found a wonderful exception:
Getting the Words Right by Theodore A. Rees Cheney

FINALLY someone explained bring/take!

On Wednesday afternoon, the teacher tells her class she'll see them the next day for a field trip and reminds them, "Don't forget to bring your lunch"

On Thursday morning, each mom tells her child to have fun on the field trip and says, "Don't forget to take your lunch"

I learned that I make a couple of other mistakes (see below), but these might be the result of the language changing. I double-checked my Oxford dictionary to make sure it wasn't just a case of Us 'Mercians don't cotton to that there formal-like Queen-talk.

What do you think of the below examples?

Example 1: livid is a bluish-leaden color. If you write that someone was livid, it's like saying he was blue - you expect the reader to understand what caused the color change. My Oxford dictionary lists 'furiously angry' as a colloquial definition - used in informal spoken language.

Example 2: nauseous means you cause others to feel nauseated. So if you eat some bad baba ganoush, you should say "I'm nauseated." If you fall into a dumpster full of rotting baba ganoush and dog poo and walk into a tea party, you could announce to the ladies, "I'm nauseous."
My Oxford dictionary gives 'sick' as a definition for nauseous, so maybe this one has changed.
Does everyone else say nauseous or nauseated?

I'm actively putting my new-found knowledge to good use:
A woman with a mullet stepped into the metro car reeking of Calvin Klein Obsession.
Clarissa's face turned livid before she cried, "You're nauseous!" and keeled over.
A doctor rushed to Clarissa, examined her quickly and shouted, "Bring me my medical kit! We've got to take her to a hospital right away!"

Too bad this year's Pulitzer has already been awarded.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

i luv a good mullet story.