Thursday, March 22, 2007


Hello and welcome to a new blog dedicated to helping anyone who has had questions about our wonderfully diverse and sometimes complicated language! This blog will focus on some of the most common errors seen and heard in Columbus County, including problems with grammar, usage, punctuation, pronunciation of words, spelling, and anything else related that gives us trouble. The blog's name is "Grammar Guide," yet the blog will often encompass more than just what you would find in a high school grammar book.

In no way is this an attempt to change our Southern ways of speaking--particularly since the writer of this blog believes strongly that we should maintain and cherish our Southern "drawls" and colloquialisms. This is one thing that makes us unique across the country, after all. Rather, this is an attempt to help us speak and write Standard English so, for one thing, we will not give the impression to others that we are uneducated or perhaps not as worthy of better jobs or of positions of authority in the world today.

Haven't we all cringed at seeing signs advertising products with such common errors as "Seafood at it's best" or hearing someone say, "I seen the movie last night."? You probably have many of your own "favorite" English errors yourself. If so, please send them in and they will be featured ASAP.

One last note--we all make mistakes from time to time, so don't be surprised to read about something you have been saying and didn't realize was an error. Sometimes we've heard and seen certain mistakes so often we just automatically absorb them without thinking. The writer of this blog makes errors, too, so if you notice one, don't hesitate to let me know. If what you say is correct, I'll make the appropriate change. If I disagree with you, I'll be polite and explain why.

Once again, welcome and thanks in advance for any suggestions!


BlueLine said...

Hello, I am a student at Kaplan University. I wish I had been a better English student in high school. I am having to work really hard on projects and find myself making all kinds of mistakes. I will view this blog on a regular basis to get the extra help. Thanks

Anonymous said...

The most wonderful thing about North Carolina that I recognize is the range of Southern dialects to be found as one moves across the state. Today, a colleague and I were discussing the difference in our respective Blue Ridge accent and Southeastern NC accent, and it was fascinating to find that the origins in our slang and pronunciations stem from those who settled in these regions generations ago (English Cockney, Scotch-Irish, etc.). And it is fascinating to find that so many colloquialisms still exist after having traveled across The Pond so many years ago.

In higher education environments, we are almost always educated to lose our accents so as not to come across as stupid and lazy. I was recently at a conference where the main speaker was a relatively young English professor, and not long into her presentation, my ears perked up to her “lazy ‘I’s”, thick accent, and Southern slang….she made NO ATTEMPT to hide it and even mentioned things her “granma in the ‘apple-at-chin’ mountins used ta sayee”. Regardless of what she was saying, it made me proud just to hear her, and yet I couldn’t help but wonder how she was being received by the rest of the audience, although they were more relaxed and more apt to laugh during her speech than any other’s.

I still say “do what?” (vice “what did you say?”), shoppin’ buggy (vice “grocery cart”), pocket book (vice “purse/bag”), and will often say “talking up a blue streak” or “tarnation” “catywompus” and throw a “conniption fit” if I “git ta goin real good” - all vernaculars that A) even people in Southeastern Virginia can’t understand and B) can not be corrected by SpellCheck. It’s quite the Catch-22 to try to stay true to the roots that ground you while trying to be taken seriously by the rest of the world.

Either way, I think this is a great forum and topic for discussion…who better to lead it than you, Mrs. Cartrette! – D’An

Anonymous said...

Why do people around here refer to the hospital in Durham as "Dukes" and the store on 701 as Wal-Marts" (as in "They're sending me to Dukes" or " I need to run up to Wal-Marts")?

Anonymous said...

When my daughter was facing the fourth grade writing test (NC public school) last year, we attended a Q & A session at her school. In this open forum, a non-Southern woman stood to ask a question. She equated the Southern dialect and slang with stupidity and asked the teachers present how they would teach the children to drop the "incorrect" southern slang from their writings. Needless to say, as a Columbus County native with an M.A. in English, I became pretty upset. I hope that your blog can set some people straight who think that "y'all" and many other beloved bits of the southern language are wrong.

Anonymous said...

I often see apostrophes used inappropriately(indiscriminately?)...such as Christmas cards signed: "the Brown's" and signs in front of homes "The Brown's". Should this be "The Browns"? Perhaps the signs indicate ownership by the Brown family, but it still bugs me!Will you comment and exterminate this bug for me?!! Thanks, Grammar Lady!!

Anonymous said...

Why do so many citizens of Columbus County have their grammatical numbers confused? I hear them saying: it weren't, she weren't going, he weren't going, I weren't there, etc. Why does the school system not put an emphasis upon correcting those mistakes? When those children go out into the world... to college, to earn a living, they need to sound intelligent and be able to communicate on all levels. So what if their parents also make those grammatical errors... they can learn from what their children are being taught. Please address this issue with the Columbus Co. School Board.

Anonymous said...

Your blog is very helpful. Thanks :)