Friday, July 27, 2012

Grammar Hammer

The answer is four years and four months. What is, the time to stitch the afghan? But that's like stitch three blocks, put it down for 18 months, then work my fingers to the bone to finish it four months after my mother's 60th birthday. If you go back through some of my earlier posts, I bored myself senseless writing about stitching the afghan. 

Word. I had taken down the blurry number and screwy letter word verification but 1) it made no difference in the number of people who commented and 2) it increased the gibberish spam-bot messages in my email. I'm just not willing to take this for the team. Verification is going back up. You should have taken advantage while it was down.

You know how every once in a while I go off the deep-end and give you a grammar lesson? Well, today is one of those days.

It's not borrow, it's lend.

I've seen these two confused twice in two days on two different blogs of native English speakers. (I try not to judge nonnative speakers who are writing in a foreign tongue. God knows you'd be laughing your head off if I tried to write this in French!) I remember a while back Coral from South Africa said that it drove her nuts, and I thought, "I have never heard that; it must be a South African thing." (Because there are "things" that are national idiosyncrasies in English. Like in the UK, they say "orientate" while in America we like "orient." Some Americans (idiots, usually) do use the former, but the latter is preferred. (It's the kind of backformation that makes my head explode! Although I will let it slide if you are using it in reference to orienteering. That's just the kind of generous I am.)

"She borrowed me the pattern."
No she didn't. You borrowed it from her. She lent it to you.

If you have the thing, you lend it: "to grant use of (a thing) on condition it will be returned." I'll lend you my magnifier!
If you don't have the thing, you borrow it: "to take or obtain with the promise to return the same or an equivalent." (You can't return the same cup of sugar if you use it, therefore equivalent.) Could I borrow that pattern?

I guess what is confusing is that in each case there's a thing that someone wants and will get on a temporary basis. But they're such different words. I don't get how that gets screwed up.

So let's iterate the grammar lessons we've accumulated thus far on the blog:
  • Should have = should've; never (NEVER!) should of. (Same for would, could, and must.)
  • Lose is to not win. Loose is not tight. This is true even though lose rhymes with choose. Got it?
  • Definitely is spelled D-E-F-I-N-I-T-E-L-Y . There's no "A" in definitely; just like there's no I in team.
  • it's = it is. If a thing possesses something, use "its."
  • Two words: after all; each other; in fact; every day (but only when you mean each day); thank you (unless it's an adjective, as in thankyou note. But that's British; Americans write thank-you note.)
And just to remind you it's not all schoolmarm finger-wagging around here, you should (re)read this.


Lee said...

LOL! The borrowed/loaned issue is a particular pet peeve of Judge Judy's! Are you watching lots of Judge Judy lately?

Southpaw Stitcher said...

I love your grammar posts! You always seem to be reading my mind. You go, girl! "Definately" is definitely one of my pet peeves!

Cole said...

The misuse of there, they're and their drives me crazy! I saw this ecard on pinterest and went "Yup, that's me!"

Melissa said...

Oh, I love the Grammar Hammer! My pet peeve is the It's and Its - drives me crazy! Especially teeth grinding when I see these errors in published format that I have paid for!

YGG - keep it up! ;-)

Jennifer said...

I'm not always the best with spelling (thank goodness for spell check) or punctuation, but minor grammar mistakes kill me! I would love to take a red pen to some blogs/comments.

Thanks for the rant.

Cindy's Stitching said...

it cracked me up. we all have our tender spots.

Paula said...

I so enjoy reading your posts! Just this week I read the should of thing in a book! I Hate grammar mistakes in books.
Don't get me started: alot/a lot, hugh/huge, wreaf/wreath, ....
Paula aka grammar policewoman or is it police woman?

Jo who can't think of a clever nickname said...

Love the Grammar Police posts!

Paula - it's neither, it's "Police Officer" LOL.

My hubby and I are currently collecting evidence to prove/disprove that female thespians are now called actors rather than actresses. I vote for actors, he's in favour of actresses!!

Charlene ♥ SC said...

Coral from South Africa said that it drove her nuts, and I thought, "I have never heard that; it must be a South African thing."

I've heard and used this saying all my life. Can't be positive of all my heritage, but don't know of any South African.

I would never say my grammar is perfect, but I love your lessons!

Real Live Woman said...

I have never in my life heard someone use borrow instead of lend! That sentence you used as an example just blew my mind. Is it a regional thing? Here in York County, PA, there is a regional (grammatically incorrect) dialect that swaps out left and let (I let my keys on the table; Mom left him go out last night.), which drives me absolutely crazy. I've never heard it anywhere else.

Anonymous said...

Great post! Sometime, would you please explain the difference between lend and loan for those who don't know?

In my region of the U.S. we say something drives us nuts.


Needle Nicely said...

Anna, I fear that texting will send all grammarians into bedlam. But I'll be there with you!! Thanks for another thought-provoking post.

And I understand your point about my not being a computer, but my verification number is black on really dark charcoal. That really isn't giving me a fighting chance, me-thinks.

Maggie said...

LOL on the borrow/lend - i HATE it when people confuse the two.

I might be guilty of misspelling definitely on occasions, i'm not good at spelling but in my defence i will always run it past spell check or the dictionary :-)

Coral said...

Oncer poner time; my neighbour asked if he could "borrow" a toilet roll. I told him no, he could HAVE a toilet roll, as I didn't want it back. A replacement would have been fine, but the same one?

C in DC said...

I would love to see your thoughts on bring vs. take. Do you bring or take your clothes upstairs? I have a close friend who uses "bring" in most places where I would use "take". I attribute this to regional language differences.

Anonymous said...

An entire blog (as opposed to a blog post) could be dedicated to the misuse of the English language. There must be at least one out there.

In addition to those previously mentioned, I have many, many pet grammar peeves. I'll just mention one.

I hate hearing someone use "in the morning", "in the afternoon/evening" or "at night" with "AM" or "PM". Why do this? It's redundant! Example: The crime occurred at four AM in the morning. Come on! It's either four O'CLOCK in the morning, four in the morning, or four AM. AM = morning, PM = afternoon/evening/night. There's no need to say the same thing twice!