Webster’s New World English Grammar Handbook, Second Edition
by Gordon Loberger and Kate Shoup
Webster’s New World, 2009
408 pages / $16.99 buy from Amazon
1. Do you guys know about all of the different types of pronouns? There are so many different types of pronouns.
2. New theory: 85% of people who claim to understand grammar actually just have three to four grammar pet peeves they won’t shut up about.
3. Should I be embarrassed that while I did know the name for the “perfect” tense, I didn’t know that the other tense was called the “progressive” tense. I should definitely be embarrassed, right?
4. And don’t even get me started on prepositions.
5. I dare you to get through the Misused Words and Expressions section without your stomach dropping in panic at least once. Don’t worry, you probably didn’t confuse “awhile” and “a while” in your MFA application packet.
6. If you think you might have confused those words in your MFA application packet, just stare at them for a long time. Pretty soon they won’t even seem like words anymore.
7. The Commonly Misspelled Words section made me want to have all of my friends over for an impromptu spelling contest. (This is maybe related to why I have so few friends.)
8. In order to really understand grammar—for it to really stick—you have to learn the names of things. This seems like a metaphor for something.
9. I can never remember anyone’s name when I meet them. Is this why I’m bad at grammar?
10. Mindy Kaling seems to think it just makes me rude: “I don’t think it should be socially acceptable for people to say they are “bad with names.” No one is bad with names. That is not a real thing. Not knowing people’s names isn’t a neurological condition; it’s a choice. You choose not to make learning people’s names a priority. It’s like saying, “Hey, a disclaimer about me: I’m rude.”
11. I once knew a girl who would diagram sentences to ward off panic attacks.
12. Note to self: find something more productive to do in order to ward off panic attacks. You’re not going to impress anyone at parties by telling them you sit on the ground in the bathroom, compulsively playing candy crush to prevent panic.
13. Should I tell you about all the different types of sentence modifiers? Single-word adverbials. Clause adverbials. Prepositional adverbials. Absolute phrases. Infinitive phrases. Participial phrases. “-ever clauses.”
14. Which reminds me of one of my best English teachers in high school. In order to teach us grammar and promote sentence variety, she used to make a checklist of different grammar tools we had to use in our essays. For example, on the list might be something like “Use five adverb clauses. Underline in red.” It was kind of a pain in the ass at the time, but looking back, it was kind of genius.
15. Appendix B: All Right, Alright: (Insert Matthew McConaughey joke.) “Alright is a corrupt spelling of all right.”
16. If I have children, they will never spell anything incorrectly, they will instead corrupt the spelling of words.
17. Because my children will be badasses.
18. “Troublesome Verbs” is the name of my new band.
19. Our first album: “Dangling Modifiers.”
20. If I had my own brand of popcorn, I would call it “Colonel’s Kernels.”
21. “Writers and reporters for various media are increasingly sensitive to possible legal repercussions regarding the things they report. As a result, many of them, seemingly to protect themselves and their organizations, tend to overuse hedge words—that is, words that allow the speaker or writer to hedge on the meaning of his or her statement.”
22. Examples of hedge words: alleged, apparent.
23. Hedge words are also surprisingly useful in arguments with your significant other.
24. If you can’t think of a hedge word during an argument with your significant other, just use air quotation marks over whichever word or phrase you find the most stupid.
25. I’m sorry I hurt your (alleged) “feelings.”