Sunday, September 21, 2008

43. More Mispronunciation Madness - Part III

Hello, again! I hope you're all well, happy, and eager for another grammar lesson.

Do you cringe when you hear certain words mispronounced? Has anyone ever corrected your own pronunciation of a word? While it's certainly true that some words are pronounced one way in one part of our country and another way in another part of our country, many of these regional speech differences are perfectly okay. Some, however, are just downright wrong and that's what we will be focusing on today.

So... let me start with one that makes me nearly have a duck fit, and this one is heard right here in Columbus County...CAROLINA.

I heard one of my college professors say once that the word CAROLINA is among the most beautiful sounds in the English language, and you can believe that I agree with him. Unfortunately, though, some of our natives pronounce it like this:

"I'm from North or South KA-LIN-A."

Woe am I!!! Agony! When such a beautiful word is pronounced this way, we're not showing the proper homage to our home state! CAROLINA has four syllables (sounds) and we need to pronounce every one of them:


You will do this from now on, won't you? Thank you very much.

Another frequently mispronounced word is TERMITE.

These dreaded little visitors to our homes are sometimes called...

"TEAR (rhymes with bear) mites"

Just remember that the "tear" part of the word rhymes with "sir" and you'll be in good company.

Here's another one that drives me a little crazy...however, this pronunciation is certainly not limited to North Carolina. Actually, we probably pronounce it correctly more than lot of other people, especially non-Southerners, but since we constantly hear it on TV and tend to gradually pick up speech we hear there, I had to mention this one...HALLOWEEN.

Have you noticed lots of folks on TV pronounce HALLOWEEN as HOLLOWEEN?
As a long-time lover of the fun of Halloween, I have to pounce on this one like a rabbit in a lettuce patch! All we have to do is just notice that there's an A following the H, not an O!! Come on, y'all. This one should be super simple to correct.

Now for our final pronunciation problem for today...AMERICA.

Most of you very likely do not have trouble with this word, but, again, since it is heard so many times incorrectly on TV, I'm going to ask that you be extra careful about not pronouncing it as...AMURICA. No doubt, we need to get this one right!
There's not U in AMERICA-- just an E following the M. How easy is that?

Well, time's flying and we'd better finish up. I hope you've learned something today and that you'll pronounce these words correctly! Please feel free to send me any other incorrect pronunciations you've heard (as well as other ideas for lessons) and I'll be glad to focus on them. Have a great week and carpe diem. Peace and happiness to all! GG

Sunday, September 7, 2008

42. GOOD or WELL? How Do You Tell?

Hey, Friends, and I hope you all are happy and healthy.

Today's lesson addresses another very commonly heard and seen error around Whiteville. Do you know when it's correct to use GOOD and WELL? Are they interchangeable? How do you know when to use one or the other?

How many times have you heard someone say something such as...

"Our preacher spoke GOOD this morning during church"


"Even if someone is not feeling GOOD, he should still speak clearly"?

Oh, my goodness! I'm afraid these kinds of sentences are very common and are examples of the misuse of GOOD, and it is here that we will focus today. Actually, WELL does not seem to give folks too much of a problem, or at least that's true in our neck of the woods. Have you ever heard anyone say something like this...

"WELL organization is important in a speech"


"Barry has developed a WELL serve in his tennis game"?

I hope I'm correct in saying that you'd never use WELL in sentences like these. Wouldn't you just automatically use GOOD? Right on.

So let's take a look at why we can't always use these words interchangeably.

Put very simply, always use GOOD as an adjective. Remember that adjectives are words that describe nouns and pronouns. They answer these questions:

Which one? How many? What kind of ?

Notice in the two example sentences above that the word in question (WELL) describes nouns: "organization" and "serve", so you already have one reason that WELL is wrong: Nouns are being modified or described. In addition, the following questions are being answered:

Which organization? A GOOD one, not a WELL one.

What kind of serve? A GOOD one, not a WELL one.

Now I have to mention that there is one time when GOOD can be used as something other than a simple adjective. When GOOD is used as a linking verb in a sentence, it functions as a predicate adjective that modifies the subject. Used this way, GOOD can mean either "pleasant," comfortable," or "in a happy state of mind." At least it's still being used in the adjective sense :-)

Do you remember what a linking verb is? They don't express action, but link the subject of the sentence to predicate pronouns or predicate adjectives. They also are very frequently a part of the "to be" verb: is, am, are, was, were, etc. In addition, they are often related to the senses: sound, taste, appear, feel, look, smell, etc.

Here are some examples of sentences using linking verbs:

Whiteville's football team appears GOOD this year.

The South Columbus Band sounded GOOD Friday night.

Joe's barbeque tastes especially GOOD when you're hungry.

Now...What about WELL?

WELL can be used as an adverb to modify an action verb. When it's used this way, WELL means that the action expressed by the verb is performed expertly or properly. Many adverbs end in "ly", but not all--note the following:

Remember that adverbs answer these questions:

How? When? Where? Why? To what extent?

Here are some examples:

Cassie writes WELL when she puts her mind to it. (HOW does she write? WELL is used as an adverb.)

Harriet dances WELL when she's on stage. (Again, HOW does she dance? WELL is used as an adverb.)

Finally, WELL can also be used as a predicate adjective after a linking verb. Sounds familiar, huh? This is very similar to the second use of GOOD above. Here, WELL means "in good health."

Here's another example:

Although Danielle appeared WELL, she was really very sick. (Notice the meaning here and WELL acts as an adverb.)

So... another lesson is completed! I hope this makes lots of sense to you and that you won't have any more problems with GOOD and WELL. I love hearing from you with special requests for future lessons. Meanwhile, have a great week. Much peace, happiness, and laughter. GG