Skip to comments.Grammar Police Alert! I Laid An Egg On Aunt Ruth's Head is For You and For Us All
Posted on 04/03/2010 5:09:52 AM PDT by Freedom'sWorthIt
I was recently reminded of how our Grammar and other, um, correcting Free Republic members - beloved as they are - are invaluable to our growth as individuals and as Free Republic posters....
(see http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/chat/2485902/posts?page=5 post 3 and 4 for that latest reminder...)
Anyway, Joel Schnoor of Apex, NC, has written this blockbuster book (a sleeper best selller) that I want to recommend to all Grammar "Police" here on Free Republic and those who "grow" from their corrections, um those marvelous teaching moments.
But his book, I Laid An Egg on Aunt Ruth's Head, is the FUNNIEST book of any kind I have read in a long time - meanwhile it addresses all those pesky grammatical "challenges" that follow us everywhere (either in our own writings or in the form of the corrections given to us in love by those who already KNOW all the grammatical rules by heart.
For THEM - and for all the rest of us - this is for you!
Yes this is a vanity post - but please keep this in “extended news”.
We all are indebted to the “Grammar Police” among us.
I Laid an Egg on Aunt Ruth’s Head should be required reading for all Freepers and those who long to be Freepers!
(either in our own writings or in the form of the corrections given to us in love by those who already KNOW all the grammatical rules by heart.
Ahem. You forgot to close your qoutes. LOL. ;^)
” Ahem. You forgot to close your qoutes. LOL. ;^) “
Ummmm... Wouldn’t it be ‘parends’, rather than ‘quotes’??
(Or, ‘qoutes’, if you prefer...)
Ha ha ha!!! Oh dear! And we can’t retract our posts can we and “fix” them....oh well....
Pinging a few friends - for a smile today!
/ Silent, muttering curses at a world so gone to hell that even many professional writers can't differentiate between a word for a choice and a word for a time period.
LOLOL! This should be a fun thread.
I will be on it periodically today but hope everyone enjoys and passes the word.
I attended a book signing by Joel Schnoor during which he recited by memory the first two chapters of his book - taking the roles of both himself and his Aunt Ruth (an actual person) as he retold these chapters of Aunt Ruth’s amazing adventures.
I told Joel he needs to prepare for the time when he will be on Booknotes with Brian Lamb. (He did not know about Brian Lamb or Booknotes).
(Joel, if you find your way to Free Republic....jump on in any time.)
Joel includes several Chapter excerpts from his book - here is one:
To see an example of the style of writing, here’s an excerpt:
I suppose I could blame it all on my poor sense of timing; after all, if I had arrived only a few seconds earlier or a few seconds later, it wouldn’t have happened. As it was, the precise moment I reached out to pound my fist on the front door of Apartment #12, the door opened.
All I can say is Newton got it right. With no mass to slow down my arm as it hurtled through the air toward the opening where the door had been, and with the person who had opened the door being in such a great hurry to go somewhere, we collided full force and landed in a heap just inside the entrance. There I was, sprawled on top of dear old Aunt Ruth.
After the initial surprise, she remarked, “I know you are glad to see me, but wouldn’t a simple handshake or a little kiss on the cheek be sufficient?”
“Oh, but you know how fond I am of you, my dear aunt.”
“Be as sweet talking as you’d like, but I am not leaving my furniture to you in my will.”
“How about just that nice little table in the kitchen?”
“A foot stool?”
“The pile of empty toilet paper tubes that you keep in your closet?”
“How did you know about those?”
“So where were you going, my dear aunt?” I inquired.
“Oh, the store down the street is giving away kites for free.”
“For free? You don’t have to join a club or give them your address or anything?”
“For free. The sign said, ‘No strings attached.’”
“How can you fly a kite without any string? You need string to fly a kite. At any rate, I was going to head to that store too.”
“Oh good,” said Aunt Ruth. “Can I accompany you?”
“I don’t know. Can you?”
“Wait, I’m asking you.
“Aunt Ruth, do you know how to use ‘can’ and ‘may’ in a sentence?”
“Sure. Listen to this. I ate a can of beans last May.”
“No, not that kind of can and not that kind of may.”
“Oh, how’s this? May day, may day, the pilot is stuck in the can and I need someone to tell me how to land this plane.”
“Wow,” I remarked. “But no, that’s not what I meant either.”
“Then what did you mean, my dear but aggravating nephew?” she asked.
“Well, it’s like this,” I began. “It was a dark and stormy night.”
“Oh good, I love your stories,” she said, breaking into a big smile. “First, can I go make some popcorn?”
“May I?” I corrected her.
“Sure, be my guest,” she said, plopping down into her favorite comfy chair.
“No, I mean, you said, ‘Can I,’ and you should have said, ‘May I,’ in that sentence.”
“Why, oh Gargoyle of Grammar?” She was now frowning.
“Well, it’s like this. The word can is generally used to describe the ability to do something. I can make the best grilled cheese sandwiches ever. I can wiggle my ears. I can think of a word that rhymes with orange.”
She sat there staring at me, motionless.
“Aunt Ruth?” I asked. “Are you okay?”
She paused another moment before responding, “Oh, I was just going into one of those catatonic states. It always happens when you try to explain things to me. Besides, the last time you made grilled cheese sandwiches for me, you burned them. I had to scrape off all the black stuff. And you forgot to take the plastic wrap off the slice of cheese.”
I thought for a moment. “They wrap those things in plastic?” I asked. “No wonder I’ve always thought they were chewy. Anyway, may I continue?”
“I think I’d rather try that water torture thing.”
“This will be quick.”
“The only thing you can do quickly is to list all of your good qualities.”
I ignored that comment and continued. “The word may is generally used to ask permission to do something or to describe the possibility of something happening. May I shove bamboo shoots under your finger nails; it may rain tomorrow; if you mention me in your will, I may promise to never sing for you again.”
“Mister, you got yourself a deal,” she exclaimed.
“Okay Aunt Ruth, so do you think you’ve got it?”
“May I try?” she asked proudly.
“Yes you may,” I agreed.
“I can paddle a canoe and I can dance the can-can too; I may want to cross the street or I may just stay home and eat. I can outrun a black bear and I may buy some underwear; I may want to sleep in late or I can find someone to date.”
“Can you?” I asked, surprised.
“Yes I can,” she declared. “Further, I can kick a board in half and I can wrestle with a calf; I may jump out of a plane or I may take the train in Spain; I can count to ten in French and I can work a crescent wrench; I may eat some Gouda cheese or I may fly a kite in breeze.”
“Hey!” I exclaimed. “May I fly a kite with you?”
“Hey!” she exclaimed. “We can only fly a kite if we get a kite with string attached.”
We walked out the door, arm in arm, singing, “Let’s go fly a kite...”
” parends, rather than quotes?? “
” Parens rather then quotes?
/ Silent, muttering curses at a world so gone to hell that even many professional writers can’t differentiate between a word for a choice and a word for a time period. “
Are we to conclude, then, that you are one of the referenced ‘professional writers’??
In case you got lost in the laughter of the above chapter - it’s about the proper use of “CAN” and “MAY”.
Every chapter takes on one or more of the Grammatical Challenges which often overtake us without our being aware of the approaching nightmare....
The Table of Contents and the Index give you a ready search mechanism to track down the very little nasty nibbler of expertise in writing or speaking which you want to conquer - or want others to conquer!
Another Chapter Excerpt from Joel Schnoor’s marvelous and much needed book:
(from Aunt Ruth Is She for Whom the Bell Tolls)
Ring! Ring! Ring! “Hello,” a voice meekly uttered on the other end of the telephone.
“Hello,” I began, disguising my voice with a falsetto that masked my husky baritone. “May I speak with Aunt Ruth?”
“This is her,” the voice at the other end cautiously replied.
“Aunt Ruth!” I exclaimed, dropping the falsetto. “This is she, this is she, this is she,” I continued in the most reprimanding tone I could muster.
“This is whom?” she asked, clearly confused.
“This is who!” I said, correcting her again.
“No, I asked you first,” she argued. “Who is this?”
“This is your darling nephew,” said I.
“My darling nephew? I don’t have a darling nephew. I only have a nephew who is a real pain in the ...”
“Aunt Ruth,” I said, interrupting her. “This is he, in all his glory, here to correct the errors of your ways in the usage of to be.” I heard a sigh and then something that sounded like a gurgling noise at the other end of the line. “Aunt Ruth, are you okay?” I asked, showing the concern that only a darling nephew could show.
“Pardon me, darling nephew,” she said. “I was only ramming my index finger down my throat.”
“Oh, okay,” I responded, relieved. “Now, do you have a few minutes?”
“No!” she exclaimed.
“Good,” I countered. “Neither do I. This won’t even take a minute.” I heard nothing on the other end of the telephone. She had either died, fainted, or was merely in a stupor from the prospect of being on the receiving end of another English lesson. Choosing the optimistic viewpoint, I continued. “You absolutely should not say, ‘This is her.’ When you have a form of to be, including things like is, am, are, was, and were, and you have a noun (e.g., the subject) on one side and some noun on the other side, the nouns on either side of the verb have to be able to be a subject. For example, Sam is he. He is Sam. You would never say Sam is him because you cannot say him is Sam. Got it?” “No” “Okay, let me try this in a different way. Suppose you have the verb is and a phrase that looks like A is B. Both A and B have to be able to be subjects. If A or B are pronouns, they cannot be object pronouns, because an object pronoun cannot be a subject. Regular nouns (cat, mailbox, Tabasco sauce) do not have special object forms, but pronouns have object forms. They do? Yes they do. The object form of the personal pronoun I is me. The object form of he is him. The object form of she is her. The object form of they is them. The object form of we is us, and the object form of who is whom. How can I remember the object forms? Well, assuming you know some basic English already, just think of the statement I love you.
Look, if you are trying to butter me up so that I will include you in my will, you are barking up the wrong ...
No Aunt Ruth, that’s not what I meant.
You don’t mean it?
I do, but just listen. In the phrase I love you, I is the subject and you is the object. Replace the I in I love you with whatever pronoun you’re thinking of using with your to be verb. If the pronoun works, then it is not an object pronoun. If it doesn’t, then it is an object pronoun. Or, if you’d prefer, replace the you with your pronoun. If it works, the pronoun is an object pronoun. So you really mean it? Of course I do, dear aunt. Now, which is correct: he loves you or him loves you?
He loves you, of course.
Good. She loves you or her loves you?
She loves you.
Right. Who loves you or whom loves you?
Who loves you.
Yep. I or me?
They or them?
We or us?
There you have it. So when your verb is one of the to be guys, do not use the object pronouns. The man who cut down your peach tree is he. The woman who tried to machine wash your cat Fluffy is she. The guys who installed your wall to wall carpeting in the wrong house are they. Wow, poor cat. So you answered the phone and said, ‘This is her.’ In your sentence, you were trying to make her the equivalent of the subject. You cannot do that though, because her cannot be the subject.” “It cannot?”
“It cannot. The word her in this example is an object pronoun. You gave the book to her. You talked to her. You went with her.”
“Who is she? “Who is who?” “This girl that I gave the book to, talked to, and went with.”
“Aunt Ruth, you just ended a sentence with a preposition.”
“Dear nephew, I’m going to take your prepositions and ...”
“Now Aunt Ruth, don’t get nasty.”
“Okay, okay, sorry. I forget sometimes to who I am speaking.”
“No, I mean you should say to whom, not to who.”
“Who is the subject form, whom is the object form. The word to is a preposition and whom is the object of the preposition.”
“Wow, I actually almost understood that.”
“Good. Now, I’ll give you some short sentences. You tell me if they’re good or bad sentences.”
“First sentence: He is the one.”
“I think that sentence is correct.”
“Very good, Aunt Ruth. That one is him.”
“That’s a good sentence.”
“No, that’s a bad sentence. That one is he. That one is he. That one is he.”
“Oh, right. You would never say, ‘Him is ...’”
“Good, Aunt Ruth. Here’s another phrase: for whom the bell tolls.”
“It doesn’t matter. Is it for who or for whom?”
After a couple moments of silence, Aunt Ruth responded. “For whom?”
“Good, good,” I praised. “You’re doing great, Auntie.”
“Don’t talk to me like that, nephew. I’m not your Auntie. I’m your Aunt.”
“You are Aunt Ruth?”
“Yes, this is she.”
“Good, nicely done,” I replied.
“Nephew?” the voice at the other end asked.
“This is he,” I stated.
“This is who?” she asked.
“Yes, this is who,” I affirmed. I continued with, “On whom did I lay the egg?”
“On I,” she said victoriously.
“Wrong,” I sighed.
“Why is it wrong?” she asked.
“Because on is a preposition. Therefore it needs an object. It needs me.”
“Darling nephew, it does not need you.”
“No, I mean you should say that the egg was laid on me.” “It was on me, darling nephew.” “Very good, Aunt Ruth.”
“I don’t even know what I’m saying or to whom I am saying it. All I know is I am Aunt Ruth, this is she to whom you are speaking.”
“You are correct!” I heard one big sigh of relief.
A few moments passed and I heard nothing else. “Aunt Ruth?”
“What do you want?” she quietly asked.
“Let’s talk about its versus it’s.”
Can I have the two minutes back I wasted reading that?
Thank you - I hope everyone will ping everyone else.
LOL....off to do some Saturday shopping - Pre-Easter Sunday you know we have to be in our finest attire!
(and get the book!)
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