my favourite grammar rules

As a PhD student and native English speaker (mais je suis bilingue aussi!), I have grown quite fond of several obscure, yet important grammar rules that I honestly take pleasaure in having the opportunity to use.

Yes, indeed, sometimes I even structure and entire sentence, or paragraph, around the opportunity to use a specific punctuation mark or stylistic element.  As embarrassing as it is, I actually get excited when I get to use the following characters: [ ], ‘, “, ;.

For example, I just copied and pasted the following quote into a document:

To take an ironic example, if somebody like Judith Butler were to be asked “What is this?”

She would never have said, “This is a bottle of tea.”

She would have said something like, “If we accept the metaphysical notion of language identifying clearly objects, and taking all this into account, then may we not “…she likes to put it in this rhetorical way… “…reach the hypothesis that, in the conditions of our language game, this can be said to be a bottle of tea?”

I wanted to add that the quote was originally said by Slavov Zizek, so I changed it to read as follows:

Slavov Zizek said “To take an ironic example, if somebody like Judith Butler were to be asked ‘What is this?’

She would never have said, ‘This is a bottle of tea.’

She would have said something like, ‘If we accept the metaphysical notion of language identifying clearly objects, and taking all this into account, then may we not’ …she likes to put it in this rhetorical way… ‘…reach the hypothesis that, in the conditions of our language game, this can be said to be a bottle of tea?’ ”

As you probably know, in reported speech, the ” becomes ‘, inside a set of “‘s.

I love getting to do that!

And, if you have another reported speech inside the first reported speech, it goes back to “‘s!

For example:

Slavov Zizek said “To take an ironic example, if somebody like Judith Butler were to be asked ‘What is this?’

She would never have said, ‘This is a bottle of tea.’

She would have said something like, ‘If we accept the metaphysical notion of language identifying clearly objects, and taking all this into account, then may we not ‘…she likes to put it in this rhetorical way… ‘…reach the hypothesis that, according to Foucault, who definitively remarks “This bottle of tea is in fact a construct representing the social and cultural norms projected by the interlocutor” in the conditions of our language game, this can be said to be a bottle of tea?’ “

It’s so fun to get to do that!

By the way, I made up that sentence by Foucault.

Another aspect of reported speech that puts a smile on my face is getting to change a sentence like

This is a bottle of tea” – Judith Butler becomes

Judith Butler agrees with Zizek’s appraisal of the bottle, confirming with “[t]his is a bottle of tea.”

Of course, to be correct, I would be properly citing my sources using the APA citation style.  But this is just a blog so I’m not doing that.  

The semi-colon, or the “Super comma!” is also a pleasure to use.  Another thing I love to do is make singular nouns, such as Laos or Chris, possessive, by adding an ‘s !  This rule of course, is not set in stone.  Some people simply write Laos’ or Chris’, but I love that extra s!

Admittedly I am a grammar nerd.  Though also admittedly, my spelling is not the greatest, I still do take pleasure in reading a well written document, especially in today’s world of “how r u?” text message English.  In fact, one of the things that really attracted me to my darling was his grammatical prowess, correct punctuation, and mastery of the English language.  Nothing gets me hotter than a man with a big vocabulary!

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3 thoughts on “my favourite grammar rules

  1. Hey Nicole,

    Ahem, I too want to flex by grammatical muscles here to tell you that I also love the possessive “s” rule for nouns ending in “s” when singular or when plural – that’s the real crux of that rule. When a person’s name ends in “s” like Chris or another singular noun ends in “s” like Laos then the rule is to add an apostrophe “s”, ie. Chris’s bedroom or Laos’s culture. It’s when you pluralize a noun by adding an “s” and then makes it possessive that you just add the apostrope, ie. my parents’ house or my friends’ new business…. Scintillating!!!!!

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