HJ-ED-DHJHerald Journal Columns

June 11, 2007

The ‘grammar police’

By SAM SCHOMMER
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I am officially back.

My computer skills are a little bit rusty, but my mind . . . it’s as sharp as a . . . well, a 17-year-old mind.

The last school year proved itself to be quite a ride, with plenty of homework, drama, and activities to fill up my time.

I did continue writing during the school year. This time it was for the Prairie Catholic, where I interviewed priests about their hobbies, such as “clowning,” motorcycling, and stargazing.

It just so happens that, as a result of my working at the paper last summer, I have acquired the lesser-known hobby/skill of being a member of the “grammar police.”

Yes, it is a real thing.

Here is the story. Back in seventh grade, Mr. G, my English teacher, would always talk about the “grammar police,” their M.O. (main objective) being to end all grammar offenders in supermarkets, newspapers, and other common places in which grammar was often neglected.

My seventh grade self must have not really cared about these things, but as it turns out, the habit eventually caught up to me after a few years.

You see, during the summer, I was surrounded with having good grammar in my writing, and it eventually caught up with me.

Therefore, I, unintentionally, became a member of the “grammar police.”

I must say, it is quite an honor to hold such a title, but as most know, having a title often means having a lot of responsibility.

The most difficult, and most reprimanded trait of a member of the “grammar police” is correcting those around us with the proper forms of grammar.

It is a brutal, under-recognized, and often over looked job, but, someone has to do it.

In my personal experience, I have found that the most common misused grammar error deals with using “good” and “well” in their proper forms.

“Is your summer going good?”

Uh, no, it is going well, not good.

The worst is when someone asks you how you are doing.

This gets very tricky because most people would respond, “good.”

You are doing good . . . well now, if we think about this logically, who does good?

So, actually, when someone says, “How are you doing?,” the correct response would be, “I am doing very well.”

Sure, that is a few extra words to spout out, but it makes you sound more intelligent.

Another grammar mishap I have encountered is the “I” and “me.”

“Me and Tom are going to the movies.”

Well, really it should be, “Tom and I are going to the movies.”

A third grammar misuse is the use of double negatives, like, “I don’t got any more left.”

It should be, “I do not have any more left.”

I know that these are some very nit-picky things, and the average person really could not care less about whether or not they are using proper grammar, but over the past year, these things have become very important to me, for some reason.

The “grammar police” are often criticized for our intuitive genius, but it comes with the job.

I have attempted to correct the grammar offenders, and all I catch is grief, especially from those who are too stubborn to change their ways, ie. my father.

Some people just will not budge from their old, grammar abusing habits.

So, in order to be loyal to my duties as a “grammar police” member, around these people, I just correct them in my head.

They just do not appreciate the work I do.

I am most definitely not saying that my grammar skills are perfect. I am human after all.

My skills are just, slightly more fine tuned than some others.

In conclusion, I want to challenge all of you occasional grammar offenders.

The next time someone asks you how you are doing, respond by saying, “I am doing very well.”

Of course, if you are not doing well, you can formulate your own response.