Friday Follies #91 – Making Grammar Great Again, One Hyphen at a Time

The Grammar Cop has had it up to here, FF fans! There are just so many mistakes she sees, over and over again. Not that she expects magic to happen by pointing them out, but just maybe there will be one less boo-boo offending the eyes of people who happen to love and respect the English language, and – oh, sorry, I could rant all day. 😀 Anyway, here are just a few of these common offences (Canadian/British spelling, thank you).

  1. WHO’S  when it should be WHOSE. You cannot say “who’s pizza is that.” The possessive form is: whose pizza is that.  The only time you can say who’s is when it’s a contraction for who is, as: Who’s picking up the pizza?
  2. STAUNCH when it should be STANCH. You cannot say “he staunched the flow of tomato sauce”; it should be he stanched the flow of tomato sauce; i.e., he stopped it. Stanch is a verb. Yes, there is a word staunch, but it has a completely different meaning. Staunch is an adjective which usually describes a person, as in she is a staunch defender of pizza without mushrooms (which she abhors). Staunch means stubborn or strong.
  3. PHASE when it should be FAZE (or vice-versa). You cannot say “the extra-large pizza didn’t phase him; he was starving.” The word phase is usually a noun meaning a stage, such as a stage of existence or readiness, i.e., phases of the moon. It can also be a verb as in the 10-inch pizza size was phased out since no one was ordering it. But when you want to express the notion of deterrence, you must use the verb, faze. So the sentence above becomes the extra-large pizza didn’t faze him; i.e., he wasn’t scared off by it. One more:
  4. LAY when it should be LIE (or vice-versa). Oh my gosh. This one drives me crazy.   I lie down. I was lying down. I lay down.  These are different tenses of the verb, to lie. It is an intransitive verb, which means it never takes an object. (One cannot lie something down.)
    I lay the pizza on the table. I was laying the pizza down. I laid the pizza down. These are different tenses of the verb, to lay. It is a transitive verb, which means it always takes an object. (One always lays something down.)
    Do not be confused by the past tense of each verb. The past tense of lie is lay. The past tense of lay is laid. Clear as mud?

I will leave to, too and two; there, they’re and their; your, you’re and – no that’s it, just your and you’re – for another time. I’m am tired now and must LIE down. Next week we shall return to our regularly scheduled programming. Until then – enjoy your pizza! 😀

16 thoughts on “Friday Follies #91 – Making Grammar Great Again, One Hyphen at a Time

  1. In the first place, the pizza is mine! So that should quell any more questions as to who’s it is! If anyone has an argument about that I will punch them on the nose and they can staunch their own blood. Now everyone should know that eating pizza is best done during the full moon faze. And anyone who doesn’t will be phased out of this conversation. Word of caution: no one should be lying down on pizza. It’s messy.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Last week I was writing when I was very tired. I wanted to use phase/faze, but I could not, for the life of me, remember which I needed to use. The usual solution presented itself. I chose another word. When I was reading above, it all made sense. Whew!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh I’m so glad this helped! It could’ve easily NOT helped – I’m always afraid I’m muddying the waters! Thanks for your continuing visits to FF-land! 😀


  3. Wow, stanch and staunch is way beyond the abilities of most American English speakers, I would say. The one that bothers me, in part because I see educated people make the mistake all the time, is the difference between trooper and trouper–particularly as it pertains to the expression “like a trouper.” I keep telling myself that is because language is alive, not dead, and it is in transition. What should be “like a trouper” is becoming “like a trooper.” But I would rather handle things like a trouper than like a trooper myself.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hm. Yes, bugs me too. My guess is that Americans are more apt to mistakenly say “trooper” because they’re so “militarized” in their thinking. Whereas “troupe” derives from the old English music-hall tradition. At least I think it does. A theatrical troupe?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s right. And I would say that is why I don’t like the change toward “trooper” because it reminds me of a “state trooper” ready to give a ticket or pull out his gun. Maybe not a fair image, but I can’t help the connotation. Trouper is more like a wonderful communal endeavor and evokes the expression “the show must go on!”

        Liked by 1 person

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