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Grammar Schmammar
by Melanie McCranie Mansfield


Writing shouldnít be so difficult. The problem is all the rules of grammar, really.

Well, I say grammar schmammar!

Life would be so much simpler for me if we were allowed to use ellipses in place of commas. I hate commas . . . I hate semi-colons, too, for that matter. I feel as if both punctuation marks are out to get me . . . to make me look uneducated . . . ignorant. Instead of trying to decipher exactly when to use one . . . we should just start randomly adding dot-dot-dot to everything. No more worries. I, for one, know that home schooling would be much easier! Do I need a comma here, Mama? No, son . . . just use a dot-dot-dot.

That brings me to an even bigger topic . . . teaching grammar and usage in general to my second grader. (Was there supposed to be a comma separating "in general" from the rest of that sentence? Should I go back and add an ellipsis for good measure?)

Home schooling is hard enough without having to use the vast majority of oneís brain power on simply attempting to figure out how to avoid using a preposition at the end of a sentence. WhatĎs that all about? (Iím not moving the preposition either!)

I turn into a perpetual three-year-old screaming why, why, WHY? every time Iím forced to rearrange Where are you from to From whence do you hail. Okay, maybe I donít have to take it all the way back to the British Motherland in order to be correct, but thatís beside the point. What did the prepositions do to deserve such scrutiny? Canít we all just get along?

Then we have the whole pronoun issue. Only a handful of people in my life have any sort of grasp on this situation. The only reason I have a grasp on it is because my sixth grade English teacher made me pay a penny every time I screwed one up! (Isnít it great to see a preposition running around so freely at the end of that sentence? Or . . . is "up" an adverb there? Sheesh.) Of course, Mrs. Breland was also a member of my family through marriage . . . so I wasnít able to get away with misusing pronouns on holidays either! I think thatís how she paid for her Christmas ham one year.

And whatís up with adverbs? Do I feel good? Do I feel well? If I feel good, should I expect people to want to rub my head? I honestly get so confused with these at times, that Iíve resorted to letting School House Rock teach Parker what adverbs are all about.

ĒLolly, Lolly, Lolly, get your adverbs here!Ē

Yeah . . . get 'em there, Parker, 'cause I haven't got a clue! And while you're at it, find out the conjunction's function!

The fact that I have such huge problems with grammar is only exacerbated by the knowledge that my mother is an English teacher. You all collectively gasped in my honor, didnít you? Yes, itís quite hard to grow up in a home where the spoken word is rewritten and revised as soon as it exits your mouth. Even something as simple as sharing a pleasant occurrence becomes ugly when sheís around.

"Oh, Mama! While walking through the yard, the birds were sweetly singing."

DANGLING PARTICIPLE! DANGLING PARTICIPLE! DANGER, WILL ROBINSON! DANGER! One would expect her head to explode or something. If I had a penny for every time I heard my mother sigh about my grammar . . . well . . . I could pay off my pronoun tab with Mrs. Breland!

Ironically, now that Iíve completed this little article, Iím about to send it to my mother so that she can correct, edit, mutilate and prove it all grammatically sound.

Will the madness never end?

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Melanie McCranie Mansfield, a native of Cleveland, Mississippi, has been transplanted to Kinston, North Carolina, by way of Helena, Arkansas. She's the daughter of USADEEPSOUTH writer Lonnye Sue Sims Pearson and the mother of two boys, plus a brand new baby girl Ė finally! Melanie is a homeschooling mom, a portrait photographer, a custom stationer, a part-time interior decorator and an amateur web designer. How she has time to write anything is beyond the laws of time and space. You can learn more about her family and businesses by visiting their personal site Unblinkable.com. Contact Melanie at Melanie@Unblinkable.com.



Want to read several of Melanieís momís stories at USADEEPSOUTH? Click these links:
Lilaís Moment of Shame
Conspiracy Theory
The Southerner
Mamaw and the Night Visitor


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