Saturday, March 19, 2016

Whaddaya Mean it's Not in the Dictionary?

I read something once by one of those rootin’-tootin’ word critics once, and they were talking about someone using the word “Yay!” in a children’s book, that the correct word is “Hooray!” Hellooo… they’re both in the dictionary. And even if “Yay!” had not been in the dictionary, leave it alone, please. It has as much right to exist as “Hooray!”

Okay, enough preaching, more fun. I love taking words and twisting them around. Parts of speech, for example. I kicked around this riff the other day, and I’m back at it (stifle groans, please), thinking about all those things they tried teaching us back in English classes. About critters like adverbs. Those are wanna-be verbs. They’re advertising verbs, that’s why they’re called adverbs. And they do stuff to verbs whether the verbs want them to or not. Here’s an example:

Let’s say there’s a squirrel. It’s just doing squirrel stuff, minding its own business, then a dog comes along. So, the squirrel, having dealt with dogs before, decides to climb the tree to get away from the dog. Okay, that’s all fine. Now if we want the squirrel to get away from the dog really fast and have some breathing room, we’ll have the squirrel quickly climb the tree. Or rapidly climb the tree. Fine. But what if a different adverb gets in the way. Say, an adverb like slowly. Well, we now have the squirrel slowly climb the tree. And if the dog has a fast adverb, well, it’s just not gonna end well for the squirrel.

See what I mean? Adverbs are dangerous. So be careful. How careful? REALLY careful.

Tomorrow’s lesson: reverbs. Those are similar to adverbs but they make verbs go backwards.

Keep writing, friends.

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