Sunday, August 05, 2007

Watch Your Language


Carole and I are fascinated with language and word use. When other couples talk about finances, vacations, or work with each other, we delve into the finer points of grammar, gerunds, and diagramming. We can kill a couple of hours on the road this way...and if for no other reason, she and I were meant for each other.

I pride myself on using the correct word form in any verbal or written circumstance. My mom drilled proper usage into me and fortunately, language fascinated me to the point that I made spectacular grades in any class where it was even remotely part of the curriculum. But I confess there is a word I use dozens of times a day that isn't even a real word. I'm not even sure how to spell it. I think it's "dudn't".

"Dudn't" is the natural contraction of "didn't" and "doesn't" and therefore covers both the present and past tenses. Some linguists feel it is mainly a Texas phenomon. Maybe the most commonly used sentence in Texas is, "It dudn't make no sense." Also helping in the use of "dudn't" are the acceptable words of "couldn't" and "wouldn't". Somehow to our feeble linguistic mind, "dudn't" should be the third word there in a natural trio.

Try as I might, and I have been trying hard, I can't eliminate "dudn't" from my speech patterns. I have this awful sense of foreboding that someday I'll suddenly be in the presence of the Queen of England, who then will ask me about the war with Iraq, prompting me to respond, "It dudn't make no sense". Actually, I wouldn't use the double negative there, but I'm sure the use of "dudn't" might cause the queenie to throw her tiara at my unclean lips.

Anyway, I'll keep working on it. And you be sure and stayed tuned for my next blog. Keeping with the language theme, I'm going to expose the single most common (and irritating) misuse of grammar in America today. It's positively scandalous. Just ask Carole.

5 comments:

Brooke said...

Take this quiz: http://encarta.msn.com/quiz_275/SAT_grammar_quiz.html?GT1=10289

I'm not going to tell you what I scored.

Tim Perkins said...

I am sooooo embarrassed. I made 80. When I read the explanations of the two I missed, I knew immediately that I had erred.

I am humbled, but not broken. Obviously, my exalted position as a grammarian is a work in progress.

Blake Perkins said...

Get me a gun

Heather said...

Tim--How funny you blogged this. Jason had this exact conversation TODAY on the way home from CO. If I could figure out how to install the canon rebels photo wizard on my computer I'd get some pic's posted to my blog. Which by the way, is in serious need of an update. The camera was awesome. Took great pic's. What a great investment. Also, trying to get Jason to stop saying tore, when the word is torn, broke when the word is broken and there was one more I can't think of at this second. I too am big on using the correct words. It was drilled into me by my dad from early on. Now my use of comma's and periods in the right place could use some work.

Heather said...

Tim--How funny you blogged this. Jason had this exact conversation TODAY on the way home from CO. If I could figure out how to install the canon rebels photo wizard on my computer I'd get some pic's posted to my blog. Which by the way, is in serious need of an update. The camera was awesome. Took great pic's. What a great investment. Also, trying to get Jason to stop saying tore, when the word is torn, broke when the word is broken and there was one more I can't think of at this second. I too am big on using the correct words. It was drilled into me by my dad from early on. Now my use of comma's and periods in the right place could use some work.