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Thursday, April 9, 2009

Grammatically Correct at the Age of Four

The word "got," although still considered informal slang, is so widely used in the English language these days. One can find this discrepancy utilized by every profession, rather in conversations with co-workers, meetings in the corporate office, a visit to the family doctor or even a quiet read through the Sunday paper. I just don't understand its popularity and I cringe each time I hear it.

I have got to put an end to this! Do you hear how redundant that sounds? One could simply leave 'got' out entirely and emphasize 'have' to make their point.

My children call me the Gramma' Queen simply because I have a strong inclination to use our first language correctly. I am always correcting their speech, mid-sentence. They hate it! However, they don't complain when they need assistance with a writing assignment.

I will never forget the prideful expression on my oldest (now 16) son's face when he had the opportunity to correct his father's speech. He was absolutely beaming! The correction, though, was slightly off course.

Brandon was four years old when he ran up to my brother saying, "Look what I got! Look what I got!"

We examined the slimy toad he had found in our backyard and joined him in his excitement. We then tried to explain how "got" is not the proper term to use.

"Brandon, 'got' is not a word. Instead, you would say, 'Look what I have.'"

"Alright." Brandon replied.

I was not sure if he actually absorbed the lesson until that following Sunday. We were all in the car, ready to go to church. About halfway down the driveway, Brandon's father stopped backing the car. He slapped his hand on the steering wheel saying, "Oh man! I forgot my Bible!"

As he put the car in park and was preparing to exit the vehicle, Brandon quickly stood up, pressed his chest against the back of the driver's seat, put his hand on his father's shoulder to stop him, and screamed with excitement, "No Daddy! You didn't forgot your Bible! You for-HAVED your Bible!"


Living It, Loving It April 10, 2009 at 9:23 AM  

I am always correcting my nine-year old. He is at that age where they add "ed" to everything. He drives me when he says "____ is my biggest fan" when he really means I am ____'s biggest fan. I thought it was just my son,but try visiting a third grade classroom.

BTW-I absolutely love your blog! I love all the things you write about.

Mom's Fortress of Solitude April 10, 2009 at 9:59 AM  

Thank you. I'm glad someone can relate to this insanity that is my life. lol

My seven year old twins do the same thing, switching their sentence structures around, saying things out of context. ARRRRGH!

I think my correcting them is starting to sink in, but they're taking it the wrong way.

"Mom, I want to go . . ."

"Where, Kaleb?"

"Oh, nevermind . . . you'll just not understand what I'm obviously trying to say!"

HUH? No! Now, he's convinced he always speaks correctly, and I'm just not smart enough to understand.

Go figure!

Quadmama April 10, 2009 at 7:56 PM  

Interesting post... and I won't take offense even though I have "got" in my blog title : ) As a former journalist I take grammar seriously. I try to write conversationally, which sometimes makes me cringe (ending with prepositions? Ack!)It's good to know some parents out there are taking an initiative to help their children be grammatically correct.

Mom's Fortress of Solitude April 10, 2009 at 9:39 PM  

I'm glad you're not offended. :o) I do try to teach them to speak correctly, but do also realize that the formalities of the English language are diminishing with each year that passes.

I let the "gots" slide these days, since it they are so common. "Ain't," however, just does not stand a chance. ;o)

We moms know the need to pick our battles, right? What would we want to be ol' prudes for?

Admit it! You were cringing with that prepositional blunder! :oP

Josephine April 10, 2009 at 10:09 PM  

Hi Angela,
Love your blog! This post is great!! Have to say that I am a bit nervous about writing comments on the blog of someone so particular about the language. My writing is rather recreational, but I can take constructive criticism so don’t hold back.
I totally agree that English language evolved to the point that slang words and phrases are commonly used by most everyone. Good luck on your quest to restore the proper use of it.
I look forward to a lesson myself!

Dee-Zigns Handcrafted Jewelry April 11, 2009 at 10:57 AM  

Great post, I'm always correcting my children and when I'm writing a post for my blog, always editing out crap. Reading aloud helps :).

ck April 11, 2009 at 6:44 PM  

That is so cute!

(And now excuse me while I cringe at how painful it must be for you to read my blog. Does it help if I admit that I need an editor?)

Mom's Fortress of Solitude April 12, 2009 at 1:25 AM  

Response to an email from ck above. Please read her blog, everyone. She is an absolutely awesome writer!

CK's email:

Hi Angela,

Wow...I don't really know what to say. That was one of the nicest,
most flattering comments I've ever received.

Thank you for following my blog and for your encouragement and kind
words. I'm trying to add your blog to my reader (it's currently acting
up) so that I can keep up with your posts as well. (And please forgive
me my poor grammar. I look forward to the day when I have an editor!)

Thanks again, Angela. Your comment really made my day.



Aw, Cindy . . . You are more than welcome, and I'm so glad I made your day! Don't worry about grammar with me. That article was mainly written because of the funny "for-HAVED" at the end.

I don't go around correcting adults on their grammatical use, or lack thereof. That would just be INSANE, and I'm not quite to that point . . . um, yet! lol Kids, you know. ;o)

I am sooooooooo not the expert on grammar, and I do make my share of mistakes. And an editor would be a welcomed addition to my life, as well.

I don't know if you've had the chance to read it yet, but I wrote a Letter to My Son, titled "My First True Love" in my blog that I would love for you to read.

Overall, it was an essay for a class I was taking in college. The letter, however, was my way of providing an example to convey the essay's message.

Your writing is the closest I have found to another prime example. You have a way of making your readers feel as if they were actually there, experiencing these moments with you. The visuals your writing provides is a prime example of pure talent.

Lana@The Kids Did WHAT?! April 12, 2009 at 3:22 AM  

My highest grades were in English and English Literature. Since becoming a blogger, I find myself starting sentences with "And". (That's just one tiny example!)
I've read quite a few of your posts tonight, and have added you to my list. I love the stories you have of your kids.
I'll be back to read more!

BK October 22, 2009 at 7:55 PM  

The innocence of a child almost always make us smile. For me, I will very much like to be corrected if I am wrong. I remember there were more than one occasion when I wanted to use 'I have got.' Then I asked myself, "shouldn't 'got' be in the present participle tense then? Which will be 'gotten.'" However, when I put it into the sentence, 'I have gotten,' it just didn't sound right. So in the end I just did away with the word.

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Angela McCoy is a freelance writer/editor, military wife and work at home mom (WAHM) to four boys with special needs. Her writing encompasses a myriad of topics -- Autism, ADHD, Auditory Processing Disorder, Cystinosis, Fanconi's Syndrome, kidney transplant, and more -- influenced by her two teenagers and seven-year-old twins. She considers writing to be therapeutic and utilizes her skills to counsel and inspire her readers. Angela is a quick-witted, 'no holds barred,' tell it like it is' humorist who has learned that laughter truly is the best antidote to life's adversities.

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