A good friend, who like me, has endless amusing memories of her Catholic upbringing, sent me this email. It brought tears to my eyes. This one’s for you mom!
Church Ladies With Typewriters . . .
They’re Back! Those wonderful Church Bulletins! Thank God for church ladies with typewriters. These sentences (with all the BLOOPERS) actually appeared in church bulletins or were announced in church services:
The Fasting & Prayer Conference includes meals.
The sermon this morning: ‘Jesus Walks on the Water.’ The sermon
tonight: ‘Searching for Jesus.’
Ladies, don’t forget the rummage sale. It’s a chance to get rid of
those things not worth keeping around the house. Bring your husbands.
Keep reading, they just get better… Continue reading
When the mood strikes me, this is where I’ll post quirky stories, language bloopers, and tips your English teachers probably didn’t pass along. I could tell you about dictionaries and style guides I use, but I’d rather have a bit of fun. Warning: this contains nerdy fun with the English language—stuff that geeky editors like me think is hysterical.
I owe this post to Barbara Tomlin, an editor and an outstanding instructor at Simon Fraser University’s Writing and Publishing Program. In Barbara’s copy editing class she shared a humorous look at the power of punctuation. Check out these two “Dear John” letters. They share the identical words, but different punctuation.
I want a man who knows what love is all about. You are generous, kind, thoughtful. People who are not like you admit to being useless and inferior. You have ruined me for other men. I yearn for you. I have no feelings whatsoever when we’re apart. I can be forever happy—will you let me be yours?
I want a man who knows what love is. All about you are generous, kind, thoughtful people, who are not like you. Admit to being useless and inferior. You have ruined me. For other men, I yearn. For you, I have no feelings whatsoever. When we’re apart, I can be forever happy. Will you let me be?
Sadly, freelance writers and editors don’t usually make a fortune, so I don’t need to worry about this question. What I do need to worry about is making sure I catch incorrect usage of who and whom. It confuses the heck out of most people (me too, until the light bulb finally went on). It’s not that difficult, but many of us seize up with grammar angst when we hear something like this: Who is in the nominative (subjective) case and should be used only as a subject. Whom is in the objective case and should only be used as a direct or indirect object. If you’re cringing, or your eyes have glazed over, here’s a cool trick:
Answer the question using he/she and him/her. If the answer is he/she, use who. If the answer is him/her, use whom. Give it a try.
I will leave my fortune to he (nope, that’s not it).
I will leave my fortune to him (eureka). To whom shall I leave my fortune is correct.
Shall we try a few more? How pathetic…I love this stuff!
- (Who/Whom) do you love?
- Caroline is the one (who/whom) will get hired.
- Caroline is the one (Who/whom) you will hire.
Before I share the answers, which you undoubtedly got correct using this great trick, I thought I’d mention a fabulously funny site that has some great grammar comics. If you’ve got time to waste and can’t get enough of who and whom, check out The Oatmeal.
So, did you get them right?
- Whom do you love? (I love him/her)
- Caroline is the one who will get hired. (She will get hired)
- Caroline is the one whom you will hire.(You will hire her)
By the way, I wouldn’t advise using a convoluted sentence like the last one, but it is technically correct.