I had a pleasure to meet Mrs. Grammar Person a while ago (you can read about it here and here), when I was reading her lovely essays-type-lessons neatly put together by Barbara Venkataraman. Just recently I asked Barbara if it would be possible to do a quick interview with Mrs. GP, and… voila! 🙂
Book Bug: Hello Mrs. Grammar Person, I’m very honoured you agreed to visit my blog and have a short chat!
Mrs. Grammar Person: My dear, the pleasure is all mine. We are kindred spirits, true grammarians who cringe at the sight of a misplaced apostrophe or a nonsense word like “irregardless”. Heavens, I may need my smelling salts!
Book Bug: Do you drink coffee at all?
Mrs. Grammar Person: As you know, teatime is my favorite part of the day. A cup of tea can soothe jangled nerves, calm the temper, and delight the senses, but, to answer your question, I do enjoy that rich, dark brew on occasion. With cream and two sugars, if you happen to have some ready.
Book Bug: What is your opinion on the way young people text nowadays? Examples: TC(=take care), c u l8r (=see you later), etc.?
Mrs. Grammar Person: An excellent question! One of the qualities I admire most about the English language is its (not it’s) ability to evolve. Otherwise, we would all be speaking like Chaucer, as “olde stories tellen us”. In addition, Mrs. G.P. admires economy of words and the subtlety of clever language. That being said, text-speak is akin to Pig Latin, fun to use, but no substitute for proper English.
Book Bug: Does English grammar have any future at all?
Mrs. Grammar Person: So long as we remain dedicated and vigilant, I believe it does, but it becomes more difficult with each passing day. Due to the demise of newspapers and the constant demand for more (free) news on the internet, editors are in short demand, but still desperately needed. I have lost count of the grammatical errors I have seen on reputable sites.
Book Bug: Will we be able to read more of your wonderful lesson-stories in the near future?
Mrs. Grammar Person: Of course, my dear! There are so many topics still to cover–how to use ‘which’ and ‘that’, how to undangle your modifiers, which tea to drink on a rainy day–the list is endless. Right now, though, I am helping a dear friend of mine write her fourth Jamie Quinn mystery. We are so close, she is like a sister to me, and she sorely needs my help. She may not always appreciate it when I insist that she choose her words carefully, but she is grateful all the same.
Book Bug: What do you do for fun?
Mrs. Grammar Person: I always have fun in everything I do! Life is a wonderful gift, but what I enjoy most is meeting new people and connecting with them in some way. If that way happens to be a mutual quest for proper grammar and a belief in the goodness of our fellow man, then all the better.
Book Bug: Do you think English grammar is difficult? Why (or why not)?
Mrs. Grammar Person: I do think it is difficult! While I agree with Emerson’s quote that “a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds,” consistency is a thing to be hoped for in a language. English is a rich, varied language with origins in so many other languages that it is, alas, very inconsistent. There are so many irregular verbs and irregular nouns that it boggles the mind. If I have more than one loaf, I have two loaves, but what if I have more than one oaf?
Book Bug: What do you consider the worst grammar error people commonly make?
Mrs. Grammar Person: Ah, that is a difficult question! One mistake that is painfully common and the most jarring to Mrs. G.P.’s delicate ears is when she hears someone say: “Give the papers to Joe and I.” The sad part is that the people who make this mistake are trying ever so hard to speak proper English, but are overcompensating in this way.
Book Bug: What would be the best grammar advice you’d give a person who`s learning English as his/her second language?
Mrs. Grammar Person: Listening is the key. Starting in infancy, we learn best by listening, so my advice is to read along with audiobooks. And also read a lot of Dickens.
Book Bug: Why do you think people make so many grammar mistakes?
Mrs. Grammar Person: They are in a rush to express their thoughts. I do understand the urgency of capturing a thought before it evaporates, but I would urge my dedicated followers to take the time to review what they’ve written. A misplaced comma can change the meaning! My favorite example is this one: “A woman without her man is nothing.” And now, with the proper punctuation: “A woman, without her, man is nothing.”
Book Bug: What was the funniest grammar error you can recall?
Mrs. Grammar Person: I do enjoy a good malapropism, which is a misused word or a verbal slip. An example is, “he put out the flames with a fire distinguisher”. Mrs. G.P. recalls an amusing malapropism from a young child who, after seeing a commercial about lactose intolerance, declared that he, too, was “black toast intolerant”.
Book Bug: Thank you for your time!!!
Mrs. Grammar Person: Why, thank-you, my dear, for your hospitality and your dedication to proper grammar. Mrs. G.P. sends love and admiration to all of her fellow grammarians who are making the world a better place, one comma splice at a time.
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Barbara Venkataraman is an attorney and mediator specializing in family law. She is the author of “The Fight for Magicallus,” a children’s fantasy, “If you’d Just Listened to Me in the First Place,” a humorous short story and two books of humorous essays: “I’m Not Talking about You, Of Course,” and “A Trip to the Hardware Store & Other Calamities,” which are part of an ongoing series entitled “Quirky Essays for Quirky People.”
Her latest works are: “Death by Didgeridoo,” and “The Case of the Killer Divorce,” and “Peril in the Park, in her Jamie Quinn mystery series.” All of her books are available on Amazon Kindle.