Alright, folks, between you, me and the gate post, its time for you to get on up off of that couch, go to the book store and get yourself a copy of COOL HAND HANK, officially on sale today.
But before you go, tell me what's wrong with the preceding sentence. Or maybe you'd rather tell me after you get back. That's okay, too, because about the only thing that isn't wrong with the sentence is the basic suggestion.
A couple of months ago I did a post about punctuation or usage, something to do with grammar--a game that is, for some of us, a fine alternative to watching the Superbowl this year. We did have fun with that post, didn't we? Even stirred up a little controversy. Love that. Because I'm under the gun deadline-wise, my mind is on words, words, words. Let's play that game again. Oh, and it's late, and my mind is mush, so if I make any glaring mistakes herein, it's purely an oversight.
So what do you have for corrections? I started with alright because it's my current pet peeve. Yes, yes, some will say that you see it in print so frequently that it must be acceptable by now. Uh-uh. Alright is not all right. It's two words. It's just like already and altogether, you say? No, it isn't. All right is two words.
Between and among. Between is only allowed two pieces of bread, one on either side of the filling, which is between the two pieces of bread. Three or more pieces of bread make a club sandwich, and you're dividing the filling among those pieces of bread. I need to invite some of these TV talking heads over for lunch and show them how it works.
Get on up off of that couch might work in dialogue, but we don't pile up the prepositions if we want to be grammatically correct. I hear off of a lot lately (a lot--always two words), and it's fingernails on the chalk board. Is it correct in any instance? Can't think of one. Oh, yeah, there was a missing apostrophe in that sentence, too, wasn't there? The bedeviling it's. I was thrilled to see that my granddaughter had a worksheet on apostrophes last week--fill in the blank with the correct choice--and she got them all right. Second grade! There's hope for the future, folks.
By the way, I'm all for idiomatic dialogue. I want my dialogue to read the way my characters would talk. I'm using more "eye dialect" than I used to. More fragments. Breaking lots of those old rules. But grammar serves a purpose, as does punctuation. I'm always checking my construction, looking things up, trying to make the best use of the tool that is language. What do you think? What difference does "good grammar" make? Any pet peeves or bugaboos you care to share?
COOL HAND HANK is the third but not the last of my series set in Montana and South Dakota. Hank is a rodeo medic and a friend of Zach Beaudry's--the banged-up bull rider you met in ONE COWBOY, ONE CHRISTMAS. Like Zach, I fell in love with the Drexler sisters and their struggle to expand their sanctuary for mostly "unadoptable" wild horses. When cool Hank meets feisty Sally Drexler at Zach and Ann's wedding, he's intrigued by the whole setup, too. But he's met his match in Sally. Check out my website for a taste of Chapter 1.