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By June Casagrande and By June Casagrande | March 7, 2014
Many years ago, back when I used to answer my land-line telephone, I found myself in a conundrum. I realized that, when a caller asked, “May I speak to June, please?” I would answer “This is she.” But I couldn't for the life of me explain why. Why did I use the subject form, “she,” for a pronoun in a spot that seemed to call for the object form, “her”? I had no idea. I tried “This is her” on for size. It sounded funny. Worse than funny. Wrong. I went back to saying, “This is she,” but I didn't feel good about it. I felt like I was using fancy, formal grammar I didn't even understand.
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By JUNE CASAGRANDE | September 27, 2006
Most of the people who read this column do so because they enjoy learning about grammar, usage and style. Like me, they actually find the stuff interesting and useful. But now that I think about it: Why should they have all the fun? I mean, aren't I just discriminating against all of you out there who despise learning about grammar? When will it be your turn? Well today's your lucky day, all you disgruntled high-school students and Yale-educated leaders of the free world. Because today I offer you the best ammo ever in your battles to prove that English is nothing but a colossal pain in the fanny.
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March 18, 2009
You are reading a grammar column. Fascinating. There are a number of possible explanations for this unusual behavior. Perhaps you?re waiting for the UPS man to arrive with your Amazon shipment of reading material that?s actually interesting. Perhaps this morning you replaced your regular coffee with Irish coffee, and somewhere around your fourth cup, decided that reading about grammar would be a ?!%&@ ! hoot.? But at a time when the stock market is starting to remind you of Calista Flockhart on Atkins and home values are starting to look like car values ?
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By June Casagrande | March 14, 2014
I've gotten a lot of emails recently about where to put periods and commas relative to quotation marks. The notes were prompted by a recent column in which I mentioned that, in American English, a period or comma always comes before a closing quote mark (as in "fella. ") rather than after one (as in "fella".). The responses I got, and there were quite a few, all made the same point: That's not logical. Sure, my correspondents conceded, it sometimes makes sense to put a period before a closing quote mark, for example in a sentence like: Joe said, "Take it easy, fella.
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By June Casagrande and By June Casagrande | March 7, 2014
Many years ago, back when I used to answer my land-line telephone, I found myself in a conundrum. I realized that, when a caller asked, “May I speak to June, please?” I would answer “This is she.” But I couldn't for the life of me explain why. Why did I use the subject form, “she,” for a pronoun in a spot that seemed to call for the object form, “her”? I had no idea. I tried “This is her” on for size. It sounded funny. Worse than funny. Wrong. I went back to saying, “This is she,” but I didn't feel good about it. I felt like I was using fancy, formal grammar I didn't even understand.
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By June Casagrande | July 5, 2013
Internet message boards are cauldrons of casual speech. They're often riddled with typos and grammatical errors: the one-word “alot,” countless plurals formed with apostrophes as in “cappuccino's” and “luau's,” the examples go on. (For the record, those should be “a lot,” “cappuccinos” and “luaus.”) Normally, no one mentions these errors - even the message board users who obviously know better. So for a mistake to stand out in this sea of anonymous fast-typing and casual slip-ups, it has to be pretty bad. This one was: A user on a travel message board wrote that she was looking forward to “my husband and I's first trip.” Bad as that is, I wouldn't be mentioning it had I not noticed the user name of the person who posted it: EnglishTeacher702.
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By June Casagrande | May 17, 2013
It's a billboard custom-tailored to grammar buffs. "Every day we help people get back to their everyday," proclaims the ad for Keck Medical Center of USC. In that single sentence, the copy writer does more to help people with grammar than I probably will in this whole column. But I'll give it a long-winded shot anyway. The best thing about this line of marketing copy, grammar-wise at least, is that it succinctly illustrates something far too few people know - that both every day and everyday are valid forms.
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By June Casagrande | April 28, 2010
I have a confession to make. I?ve always been insensitive to allergy sufferers. Growing up in a depressed Florida suburb, it seemed that only the spoiled kids had allergies (?spoiled? meaning anyone who knew both their parents and didn?t drink milk purchased with food stamps because their mom needed all their cash for cigarettes and jug-shaped containers of wine). These were the kids who got taken to doctors even when they weren?t doubled over in pain or bleeding to death. Spoiled brats.
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