Tuesday, August 18, 2009

“The ABC’s of writing –(sort of)”

“The Beasts”
And other wordy-words that people are not in agreeance over

Cases in point:

Ever read a sentence and know exactly what it means, but you know the words used are ‘not real words’?

agreeance Everyone at the meeting was in agreeance over [the issue].

No, no, no. The solution you are suggesting is unpossible!

Irregardless of the consequences, I’ll do it!
This word seems to be a favorite. Irregardless is a word that many mistakenly believe to be correct usage in formal style, when in fact it is used chiefly in nonstandard speech or casual writing. Coined in the United States in the early 20th century, it has met with a blizzard of condemnation for being an improper yoking of irrespective and regardless and for the logic absurdity of combining the negative ir- prefix and -less suffix in a single term. In short: you really mean "regardless", not "irregardless".

Perhaps you were just thinking faster than your fingers could type, and perhaps ‘there are tines when you computer spell-check just completely lest you down.’

(sex scene) He leaned close and kissed her beasts.

No, it is not hard core porn. He kissed her “breasts”. (The critiqueer laughed hysterically.) (There’s another one. You know what I mean, but critiqueer??

(setting: they are both in their robes) She glanced at him and saw a tuft of hair peeking out of his robe.

Well, of course, you know the author meant his sexy chest hair.

Me? After my initial shock, I turned red and laughed.

There are times when we write using the language of our area:

Youse-guys come back to see me.
So wrong; so wrong. Yankees obviously.

“Y’all come back any ole time.”
I know. I don’t see anything wrong with that either!

Of course, we, as writers, are not alone. It is something everyone does from time to time.

These are actual excerpts from writers and speakers:

Benjamin Franklin was dogmental in all his views.

Mark Twain was not afraid to expose himself in literature.

He was being used as an escape goat.

It would be wrong to set such a president.

It’s almost undealable with.

First-born children do not get hammy downs but are often used as ginny pigs.

At first, I thought she had all timers or something.

The problem was that he had eaten too many heresy chocolate bars.

Retail customers please click here to sing in to your account.

Don’t speak on anything in such a manner that you know so little about.

It brings a simile to my face.

We write. We read. We spell-check. The pace is probably just too fast.
What are some of your favorites?



Anna Steffl said...

What a terrific way to start my day. Had me laughing, especially with the voyeuristic tuft of hair and the those beastly breasts.

I had a character wearing breeches.

Sent out a memo asking for deserts. Sahara or Mojave?

Make a huge sign for the school PTO that misspelled education.

Debbie Kaufman said...

Too funny, but we do this stuff all the time! My hubby can barely read a newspaper because he feels the need to make the corrections. That's how rampant this is!

Cinthia Hamer said...

OMG, you had me laughing hysterically! The most absurd thing is, you're never really sure if it was a case of spastic typing, or the author thought s/he was using an actual word.

Ever read Richard Lederer's "Anguished English"? A must read for any fan/patriot of the English language.

Recently, I asked a co-worker if she had a writing implement for me to borrow. She handed me a pen and said "the word is 'instrument'". A mild row ensued because I argued that each word was gramatically correct. I just like using odd words. Turns out both of us raced to the dictionary as soon as we arrived at our respective homes. LOL! We still laugh over it.

Thanks for an amusing start to the day!

Sandy Elzie said...

Ah, Maxine, you've done it again. I laughed out loud...again...about your hero kissing her beasts. It was even funny the second time.

I sent an e-mail to my boss once telling him that we were 'suppost' to do something by a certain date. (hey, what can I say? I learned to spell like the word sounded and I was raised for 12 years in the South) Anyway, he forwarded it to 11 other managers...including my husband who was nice enough to call me and tell me that it was 'supposed'. They're just lucky I didn't want to tell them where to put it.....'yonder', ladies, over yonder. (g)


Sally Kilpatrick said...

Oh, this was too funny. I want one of those heresy bars. : )

My mom, also and English major, and I especially love misplaced modifiers:

Bill saw a moose riding his motorcycle in the forest. (And was incensed the moose had the audacity to steal his cycle!)

I do this all the time, but the main one I can think of is having a bad habit of typing "me" instead of "my." My husband once wrote Arr! after every single one he came across--an entire novel's worth.

Thanks for the smiles!

Marilyn Baron said...

Funny post. When I read the intro I thought, oh no, I need to call her and tell her to correct the word agreeance, before I continued reading. I edit everything I read, including books. When I saw the line, "y'all come back," I also thought, what's wrong with that?

And Sally, your husand edits your novels? I can't even get my husband to take a look at my work. He keeps telling me he'll read it when it gets published. And I keep telling him, he'll be sorry he never read any of my novels, because he's in them.

Marilyn Baron

CiCi Barnes said...

Oh, so funny.

The English language is such a trip. I'm bad about using the wrong spelling for a same-pronunciation word, like their and there. I know the right(or is that write?)one, but invariably I write(or is that right?) the wrong one. I feel like such a dummy when my critique partner catches and corrects it.

And my foolish mistakes aren't limited to typing. Once in class, I told my students we were going to learn the shorter virgin (of course, I meant the 'shorter version'!) The guy sitting at the desk next to where I stood, mumbled, "I don't think we have any of those." The whole class lost it, including me.

This is a great post, Maxine.

J Perry Stone said...

Okay, I'm dying laughing over here.

The ones at the end are great but the best is the tuft of hair.

"Irregardless" has always puzzled me. Thanks for clearing it up. I mean, it SOUNDS really high-brow, but it's like a double negative and those always twist me up.

My friend keeps saying, "supposably." I'd like to correct her, but I don't want her to feel bad. Course, she's saying it in public so maybe I should rethink that.

As many of you know, I'm the dirtiest writer out there (as in NOT polished). I've make plenty mistakes, however, none quite so entertaining as these.

Hilarious, Maxine!

J Perry Stone said...

Ah yes, Sally, the danglers.

Dangling modifiers ARE the best.

So sayeth moi after years of grading papers.

Dianna Love said...

Hahaha... this is a great post.

While writing my first book, I asked someone who used to be a GRW member (might still be but she lives in SW Florida now) and her pilot husband to read through to see if my pilot and airline comments were correct. At the beginning of a chapter where the hero had just rushed home from landing his airplane and after finding out his sister & the heroine were missing (someone had broken into his home) I put his "sweaty hadn't dried since leaving the airport" or some such as opposed to "sweaty palms."

She laughed her butt off and called to tell me she'd never heard "it" called his sweaty before. I do love the way writers think.

thanks for the fun today.
PS - thanks also for the lovely comments and posting on Barbara Vey's blog yesterday - love all of you.

Cyrano said...

Excellent Maxine.
I try very hard to write words an phrases correctly. I keep a dictionary and thesaurus next to my desk in easy reach. But darn it all, I still manage to muck things up. I'm an awful speller, and a lot of the time I'm sure I'm spelling a word correctly so I don't even bother looking it up. Of course, I have no idea I've actually made an enormous blunder.
Do you know, just a few minutes ago I was writing a sentence with the word noose in it. For some unknown reason I spelled it nuece. Nuece, and it actually looked correct to me, but when I googled the rope used to make this nuece I realized I had spelled the dang worrd completely wrong.
We live and we learn.
Loved the post!
have a beautiful day,

Margie Lawson said...

Thanks for the laughs!

Sometimes I sign off e-mails with:

Big Hugs.........Margie

I try to catch these typos before I hit SEND:

Big Huts..........Margie

Big Hits..........Margie

Bug Hugs..........Margie

or the memorable:

Butt Hugs.........Margie

Where was my brain? In my butt? :-)

Cyrano said...

Ug, I spelled and wrong in my very first sentence.
I rest my case. Spelling is not my strong point.
As Margie said, my brain must be in my butt!

Maxine Davis said...


All of y'all gave me a laugh!

I know about the spelling. I took "shorthand" a hundred years ago and I used to blame my spelling on that, now I just laugh and say, "oh, you know what I meant." But being an 'ole typing teacher' I tend to mentally red-ink everything!

Cinthia, I must read "Anguished English" - hope it doesn't make me too anguished.

Sandy, Suppost? Sure, I can see that appearing! (and I'll never forget the beasts).

Sally, I always loved sentences like the moose when my typing students did creative stories.

And Cici, know what you mean, I spent way too much time laughing with my students - had a ball.

Marilyn, Debbie, know that I welcome someone telling me a mistake before 'the world' has seen it!

Anna, I would have gone beserk at seeing the education sign spelled wrong - funny!

JP, I keep asking my good friend that wrote the 'tuft of hair' if she has seen any more. :)

Cyrano, I liked your nuece. It sounds very French-ic.

And Dianna, I really got a laugh out of the 'big sweaty'.

Oh, and of course, "Bug Hugs" to Margie and everyone

J Perry Stone said...

"Butt hugs" ... can that be our new motto?

And we love you so much, Diana!

EmilyBryan said...

My dad's favorite made up word is "difrugalty." It means a disagreement of some sort. Usually used when balancing one's checkbook.


Susan May said...

Great post! Wished Id not made all of the mistakes in my own writing, at least more than once. But we do learn from our mistakes-most of the time!

Tammy Schubert said...

Thank you so much for making me laugh today. My favorite was this one:

(setting: they are both in their robes) She glanced at him and saw a tuft of hair peeking out of his robe.

Carol Burnside said...

Too funny and I'm enjoying those shared moments in the comments too. Great post, Maxine!

Maxine Davis said...

Susan, I should have learned a lot since I have made the same mistakes more than once!

Emily, I know what your dad means, I do get difrugalty at times!

Carol, Tammy, thank you so much!

Linsey Lanier said...

Thanks, Maxine.

I needed this after a rough day at work. I used to be a better spelling, but the more I write, the more I depend on spellchecker. Must be a different part of the brain.

"He leaned close and kissed her beasts"!!! Grrrr. Hysterical.


Linsey Lanier said...

That's "a better speller." Duh. See what I mean?

Cinthia Hamer said...

Oh...oh...oh! You all just kill me! I haven't laughed so much since...well, since listening to Manda Coll read portions of a certain notorious book aloud in San Francisco.

And for what it's worth, my dh kisses my beasts every night. ;) (get your minds out of the gutter...they're only kittens.)

Maxine thanks for making us all laugh so much today.

Tami Brothers said...


I laughed at work when I read this on Digest, then laughed even harder when I started reading the comments. You really know how to bring the best out in all of us, Maxine!!!

I LOVE the beast mistake and the tuft of hair. I can totally see that!!!

Thank you...