What is Drastic + Dramatic

Monday, January 12, 2009


Hopefully, I will try and explain,
Irregardless th'enormity of pain
As to whether you shall utilize
Adverbs, verbs, nouns or otherwise,
In time, in rhyme, in this refrain.

Firstly, that which one must do
Is choose he or she, i.e. who
she considers might best impact
her audience, due to the fact
That both hes and/or shes are considered taboo.

A so-called poet then will decide
Among they're methods of ways to confide
The contents of her individual sole,
Her footsteps trace a path yet untold
That only her only words only can provide.

So the poet will be mean while writing a mess
To thoughtfully use tact and to not use no less
Then no fewer words she can and/or say allowed
And when she is done she'll insure you she's proud
But till I'm impressed I just couldn't care less.

(How many errors can you find?)


Goshzilla said...

Oooo! I love this game! I have permission to play grammar jerk-face!

Okay, lessee here...


First line, the infinitive of “explain” is commonly enjoined following “try”, rather than the utilization of the conjunction “and”.

I know a lot of people have a thing for "irregardless" (what with it being a self contained double negative and what have you), but actually, within the last 25 years or so, it's come under the purview of standard usage in many dictionaries. So, ostensibly a mistake, but tacitly allowable, especially within the realms of descriptive linguistics.

Third line, “should” makes for a better contextual fit than “shall”.

“Otherwise” can be an adverb, adjective or conjunction, but not a noun. “Other”, despite its absolute and total inability to sound like “utilize”, is a better grammatical fit. A lot of folks tend to italicize and throw an apostrophe “s” on the end of a word (leaving the apostrophe and “s” un-italicized) when pluralizing a word that refers to a word itself. So, y’know; he’s and she’s.

You’ve got the loverly and awesome homophonic “they’re”/”their” transposition going for you, as well as “sole”/”soul” and “allowed”/”aloud”. You’ve got some superfluous “only” action in there as well (in the last line of the third stanza), and a truly phenomenal triple negative in the phrase “and to not use no less/Then no fewer words she can” which even has the classic “then” in lieu of “than” erratum imbedded smack dab in the middle! Genius!

In other news: you’ve used “insure” in place of a more linguistically prescribed “assure”. There are a couple of other pseudo-hinky usages in your poem, but nothing that really bears any great examination. I am, however, maybe a little bit disappointed that you didn’t go for “I just could care less” at the end. That gem always brings a smile to my tired old face.

Anyway, at final count, how many errors did I find? Well, it’s a cop-out answer, rife with semantics, but I’m going to say I didn’t find any. I’m pretty sure you put everything right where you meant to. You seem tricky like that.

I should, uh... I should probably go to bed now.

Rock, rock on.

emilyf said...

Goshzilla, are you married? Because if you are, it would be inappropriate to tell you I just fell in love with you. ;) You're right, technically, there are no errors in this poem. I considered many other usage bombs, but this is what came out. I told my editing teacher that I would write a usage poem over the Thanksgiving holiday and then didn't...until right before class. So I'm pretty impressed with myself...anyway. Thanks for playing. You got nearly everything intended to jerk a grammar jerk's chain. Cheerio! (Ha, just read Austenland. I love Shannon Hale)

Josh said...

Plus, Goshzilla invoked the Cheat Commandos with his concluding use of "Rock, rock on." And his name is Goshzilla. Emily, you should totally marry this guy. He seems to use his powers For Good AND For Awesome.

Goshzilla said...

emilyf, I think your editing teacher will be pleased with the end result here. It's fun and edit-provoking-- more than enough to keep a grammar Stalinist (often historically over-looked, but even more deadly than the grammar Nazi!) happily occupied (no pun intended) for a good while.

And I don't think I could be less married and still be breathing. At least not outside of Nepal. So your proclamation of love, though ill-advised, comes correct as the kids up until recently were wont to say.

And I love Shannon as well. Met her in High School and have been darkening her doorstep ever since.

Josh, I can already tell how awesome you are, as you typed that entire comment wearing boxing gloves. You are kickin' it old school. The dragon comes in the night, my brother. The dragon comes in the night.

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