Offensive Post! (The Post Formerly Known as "Grammar According to Allie")

Grammar is a subject that is very dear to me.  However, I don't agree with some of the commonly accepted ways to use it.

Wait!  Don't stop reading!

This is not some snobby diatribe stressing the importance of proper grammar.

It is about making grammar better - my way.

1. "Very Unique"

Uttering the phrase "very unique" is like punching grammar in the face.  The reasoning goes that "unique" means "different from anything else in the world" so to say that something is "very unique" is completely unnecessary.

No it's not.

Every person in the world is unique.  Every snowflake is unique.  Property owners want you to think that their sh*tty 60's apartment with the "decorative" stairs to nowhere is unique.  But to say that individuals like Marilyn Manson or the late Michael Jackson are unique is an egregious understatement.  Yes, we are all different - but they are really, really different.  They are to "different" what Pluto used to be to the Solar System before it was so unceremoniously demoted (why do I feel the need to include Pluto in all of my grammar posts?)  - they are on the very outer edge of the spectrum.   They have a much greater distance between themselves and normal (which is still unique, just more normally so.)  Our language should allow for a descriptor to reflect that increased distance.

2. "..............................."

The number of dots in an ellipsis should reflect the length of the pause.

Writing would be so much more descriptive - so much more malleable and honest.

Example #1:

Jenny chewed her lip and fiddled with the pages of her Algebra textbook as she tried to find the right words.  Finally, she said "Mr. Smith... I'm.......... Pregnant."

"Uh................................................................................................................" said Mr. Smith.  

I know that it is not right to make light of student-teacher sex scandals, but it is my blog and I do what I want.  And for your information, Mr. Smith turned out to be a great father and he married Jenny the moment she turned 18.

Example #2:

"Knock Knock..."

"Who's There?"

"Jerry the Mute..."

"Jerry the Mute who?"


I also know that it is not right to make up Knock Knock jokes that poke fun at serious disabilities, but if you are offended now, you might want to reconsider reading further.  Also, you may want to pause and reflect on the sheer genius behind that joke since it is not every day that I come up with something that awesome.

Example #3

Upon noticing the packet of prescription Valtrex on the nightstand, Jenny asked "Mr. Johnson, what is Valtrex for..................?" 

"... it is Valium for large dinosaurs, my Dear..." 

Being an English teacher, Mr. Johnson knew not to pause as long as Jenny.    

(Don't worry - Jenny is legal in this story.)

3.  Daylight Saving Time, Down Syndrome and Dived

Over the years, people have added unnecessary S's to Daylight Saving time and Down Syndrome.  The first one is simple:  we are saving daylight.  It makes sense.

The second one doesn't compute quite as neatly.

Apparently Dr. Down didn't want to be like Dr. Alzheimer, Dr. Hodgkin, Dr. Asburger,  or Dr. Huntington.  He wanted to be more unique, so he simply named the disease he discovered after himself.  No apostrophe or S needed.

Some words are so commonly misused that they should be adopted as standard simply so that the smart people aren't the ones sounding like illiterate dummies.

For example, did you know that "dove" is not a verb?  Despite the fact that everyone and their dog uses it in such a manner, it is still considered correct to use the word "dived."

"I dived off the proverbial cliff when I decided to write this offensive post." 

But "dived" sounds retarded (so does "Down Syndrome" but I think I could get in some sort of trouble for saying that or something.......)

We should adopt "dove" so that I don't look like an idiot for trying to be grammatically correct.

4.  Favre

How this series of letters came to be pronounced "farv" I will never know.

Faver?  Sure.

Fav-ray?  Why not?

 Favery?  I guess it works.

But "farv??" What kind of dyslexic French a**hole came up with that one?*

While we are on the subject, I think I should address French as a whole.  French is supposedly the most romantic language there is - if you consider completely unnecessary and phonetically nonsensical extra letters romantic.   -eaux is supposed to make and "o" sound.  Really?   Are you so full of yourselves that you thought "Forget zee O.  We need four letters because our language eez four time better!"

I personally think that France would be world dominant if they didn't have all those superfluous letters slowing them down.

While we are on the subject of being on the subject of talking about foreign words, I thought I might mention something to my American friends.

If you are trying to pronounce a foreign word in an otherwise English sentence, please don't pronounce the word with a heavy accent.  It makes you sound pretentious and douche-y .

*I am in no way insulting Brett Favre himself.  If I were to do that, it would  decrease my chances of ever bearing his grizzled, womb-warrior children, and I definitely wouldn't want to do that.  

5.  Less/Fewer

I am going to back Strunk and White 100 percent on this one.

If there is one mistake that I cannot stand, it is the confusion of "less" with "fewer."

You commonly see this error in grocery stores: "Express Checkout - 10 Items or Less." 

Also in Porta-Potties: "This Unit is Designed to Accommodate the Needs of 10 People or Less During a Normal Work Week."  

Less is supposed to refer to an amount that cannot be counted - like air or sand.  Fewer refers to a number of things that are countable, such as oxygen molecules or grains of sand.

A few more examples:

- Jenny is less of a tramp because she slept with fewer teachers than Veronica.

- I made that Knock Knock joke less offensive by including fewer references to disabled people.  

- Mr. Johnson now uses less Valtrex because he has fewer Herpes sores.  

- Other languages are less awesome than French because they use fewer unnecessary letters. 

- "Less" should be used less often than "fewer" because there are fewer instances where "less" is appropriate.   Nonetheless, "less" is used more.  

I hope that your lives have been enriched by my mighty opinion.

I am sorry if I have offended you, but you should try to be less offendable.


Anonymous said...

I absolutely agree with you on these. My husband rants about "very unique" every time he hears someone say it. He'll be happy that we aren't the only ones that find it nonsensical.

Anonymous said...

Apparently dauthi didn't actually read all of #1!

Allie said...

Yeah, but that's okay. I forgive dauthi.

Allie said...

And at least dauthi commented. I've been having a comment drought as of late.

Kritta22 said...

Amen sister!
The one that drives me crazy is "same difference!!"

Seriously? What??

Kritta22 said...

PS I love all your labels at the bottom!

Anonymous said...

I think we should ban the French language entirely, as it obviously makes no sense at all.

Matt said...

"Other languages are less awesome than French because they use fewer unnecessary letters."

I thought the crux of your French thing was that the French language is less awesome than other languages... and cut the French some slack... maybe they're just trying to be more unique?

Seriously though... that unique thing isn't as cut and dry as you make it seem. I think it's a definition that's been changed to include its most regular use nowadays, and what that word originally meant was something that did not make sense to superlify. If you're one of a kind, you're one of a kind. You're not very one of a kind. That very just describes the distance you are from normal, which is an adjective more like strange or unusual. No?

Anonymous said...

Laughing at the Brett Favre pronunciation. This was a hilarious bit in the movie, Something about Mary when Ted, Ben stiller, was trying to say his name.

OK, Brett Fav...ra.

Also, Tony Dorsett, former Cowboys running back. before he was famous, his name was Dorsett. After he became famous, it was Dor..Sett.

Nooter said...

your post is, uh................................................. very unique.

Allie said...

Kritta22 - I am so glad someone is reading my labels!

angryredhead - I don't know about eliminating it, but it would definitely be nice to have an explanation for it!

Skelbo14 - whoa, whoa, whoa, my friend! The first matter of business is to address the issue of this being a humor blog - I write things because I know they are ridiculous (even if I am, like, at least 15% serious). As for my apparent contradiction, it was a sarcastic sentence, imitating the sentiments the French hold of themselves. And please don't worry! - the French are a confident people - I think they can withstand my joking. :)

lotgk - I thought of you when I was writing that part. I thought "I hope lotgk reads this and laughs" and you did! Yay!

Nooter- thanks Nooter! :) So are you :)

Anonymous said...

lol. Yes, I did read all of #1. My husband is of the opinion that there are no circumstances whatsoever in which "very unique" is appropriate. I don't have the heart to argue with him about it further. :-)

Craig Barlow B. said...

Some of these are directly out of the AP Stylebook. Very impressive.

Matt said...

Well this may be a humor blog, but proper grammar is no laughing matter, missy!

Allie said...

dauthi - You husband would be no match for my dizzying intellect and maximally effective arguments. The very existence of Cirque de Soleil is reason to accept the phrase "very unique."

Craig - yeah, I read a little AP Stylebook from time to time.. it's no big deal.

Skelbo14 - It could have been a lot worse. At least I used proper grammar to joke about grammar. :)

Allie said...

Can I just point out that I said "you husband would be no match for my dizzying intellect..." ? I supported my argument pretty well with that sentence...

Anonymous said...

Excellent post. Your writing astounds me!

But can we talk about how people add an "s" to pluralize Cheez-it". People look at me weird when I don't add the "s". Almost as bad as hang vs hung!


Chicken Maker said...

You can count anything if you really put your mind to it... And have the technology, and now that I typed have the technology I really want to follow up with can rebuild him.

lauren said...

You are my hero! This is awesome!

Tara said...

I'm not sure how I stumbled onto your blog, but I'm glad I did. Although, as the mother of a child with Down (note the lack of 's)syndrome, I should probably be offended at the "retarded" comment. In my opinion, you totally made up for it by including "Favre" in your list. What's up with that?! It has always driven me crazy. Thanks for the chuckle!

Anonymous said...

I am less offended by your post than I am by the fact I have to tell people my daughter has assburgers. That dude should have changed his name to something french.

Allie said...

Tara - I am so glad you are not offended! I have done volunteer work with special needs children,and I understand the potential offensiveness of the word "retarded," but I feel that not saying it would mean that I would be acknowledging it as a bad word, and if I treat is as a bad word, then arent' I just perpetuating what I am trying to avoid by not saying it?
I've always felt the offensiveness that people attach to a word is what makes it derogatory and not the other way around. When my generation says "retarded," I don't think we even associate it with disabled individuals - I mean, we also say "bad" when we mean "good" or "ill" when we mean "fantastic." It is the same when someone says "that's gay" to mean that something really sucks. It may have started out as something derogatory to homosexuals, but people say it so much that its meaning has been completely separated from its origin - its just a phrase now.
I don't know if any of that made sense, but I am so very glad you realize that I am not trying to be ignorant or offensive.

As far as Brett Favre goes, I have always chalked it up to his manliness being so strong that it mixed up phonetics as we know it. He's like Chuck Norris only moreso.

Jamie - When my friend, Ben, first told me that he was working at a summer camp for kids with "ass burgers" I thought he was joking. He could not convince me that it was a real disorder. BTW, I loved the way you worked the French thing in!

AnotherGuy said...

You know... your style of writing makes me want to 1. Go back and read Strunk and White again and 2. Start writing a few funny posts on my blog every so often. Will be good practice. :)

Great stuff, by the way. Really enjoying your blog so far.

Anonymous said...

I love your blog. I just found it from 20SB, and could not be more stoked.

Thanks for being awesomely offensive.

Caitlin\ said...

that last bit hurt my brain.

Matt said...

"Always remember that you are absolutely unique. Just like everyone else."

--Margaret Mead

Just saw that quote and it reminded me of this "discussion."

Luzaire said...

As a former banker, I would like to add checkings account to item number 3.

Also, Wal-Marts. Is this just a colloquialism or do other places have the same problem?

Nikole said...

I also hate the way some people add an unnecessary article to store names. "I'm going to the Wal-Mart." No, you're going to Wal-Mart. "The" is only necessary when not saying the proper name of the store or when the proper name includes the word "the". I'm going to the store = yes. I'm going to the (ok, I can't think of a store name that starts with "the", but I'm sure you get the point..

Lilith_ii said...

"But "farv??" What kind of dyslexic French a**hole came up with that one?* "

Actually, the dyslexic asshole probably would have been some American dyslexic asshole, who wasn't able to pronounce French properly (don't get mad at me, most English natives kind of suck in pronouncing foreign languages).
Favre in French is just pronounced Favr [fɑːvʀ] - the e at the end is nearly unvoiced.

Kr!st!n said...

"Dear Ted, it's 'encyclo-pee-dia', not 'encyclo-pay-dia'. Why do you always say things in the most pretentious way possible? It makes you sound douchey—and that's 'douch-ey', not 'douch-ay'." - Robin (How I Met Your Mother)

Unknown said...

Am I the first person to notice and actually leave a comment on this? I absolutely love you and this blog, I think you're a bloody genius--but shouldn't the "and" in this sentence be "an"?

'-eaux is supposed to make and "o" sound.'

Please correct and embarrass me if I'm wrong. Not bringing this up would hurt my head. I have severe OCD and not mentioning this would be like being trapped in a duct-taped shut refrigerator box with a bear AND a land-shark to my brain.

I love you, a lot.

PS I'm gay so it's totally an admiration kinda love and not a creepy stalker/raper kinda love. <3

no one you know said...

I know this is an old post, but I just found your blog so I'm reading back.

I think Jake is wrong to assume that typos are anything more than typos. :-P to Jake.

I will attempt to correct you on something though, but it is something that I noticed in another post and I don't remember what post it was. You wrote "snuck" instead of "sneaked". Just wanted to point that out because it kind of reminded me of the whole dive/dove thing and I wasn't sure you were aware of it because it's not one of those words that tends to come up often.

Love your blog! Thanks for providing me with so many hours of entertainment today.