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Pull over — It's the grammar police!

June 24, 2008 - Betsy Bethel
I have a few grammar pet peeves I'd like to get off my chest. This post is not meant to offend, just to enlighten. If I can alert just one person to a grammar mistake they are making, I feel I will have done my duty.

I believe the atrocious grammar used by many folks in the Ohio Valley is not the fault of our local schools. Poor grammar many times has nothing to do with intelligence, and everything to do with peer or family pressure.

I discovered this fact when I met a certain local family who will go unnamed. I know the members of this family are highly intelligent, but if you judged them solely by their "where at"s and "he come over"s, you would think them uneducated hicks.

They are only aware of their poor grammar habits when I point them out, which I try not to do but sometimes the grammar maven in me can't bite her tongue.

I say they are habits because these folks know the correct usage, but at some point long ago they made the choice to assimilate with their neighbors, family members and peers in the Ohio Valley and use the same improper grammar that runs rampant.

Here are a few examples. They are ubiquitous in the Ohio Valley, but to an outsider or someone who chooses to speak correctly, they grate the nerves like fingernails on a chalkboard.

Incorrect: "He come over to see me last night." Correct: "He came over to see me last night."

Incorrect: "Where's the party at?" Correct: "Where's the party?" Note: It's easier just to leave the "at" out, and it sounds so much more civilized!

Incorrect: "I don't know nothing about it." Correct: "I know nothing about it" OR "I don't know anything about it."

Incorrect: "He don't know any better." Correct: "He doesn't know any better."

Check back in a few days for a lesson on "it's/its."


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