Home > Uncategorized > It ain’t just what y’say – It’s the way that y’say it, too.

It ain’t just what y’say – It’s the way that y’say it, too.

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I truly love the English language.  Writing and speaking it, in all its extravagance and precision, is a great pleasure for me.  I am self-educated, so I can only attribute my acquisition of a considerable vocabulary to reading.  When I read, I relish a good turn of phrase and admirable structure of a sentence.  It’s like a dish of ice cream with syrup over it in enjoyment.

I don’t mean proper English.  I’m not qualified to judge.  But I am somewhat qualified to evaluate the communication value of words.  Anyone is qualified, because the words should be chosen and assembled in a way that the intended communication reaches the intended reader’s mind. 

Mark Twain, with his bending and blending of words, gives our minds images of dusty villages by a broad river, so clearly one can almost smell the southern heat.  By this standard, anyone is qualified to judge the effect of the writer’s efforts.

Sometimes I am thrown off the enjoyment of a conversation, either personal or on television, by the use of one or the other of a pair of words.  Those words are “anxious” and “eager”.  It seems to me that “anxious” is almost always used where “eager” would more accurately reflect the context.

For instance, one might say, “I’m anxious to get home ‘cause Norman made supper for me”.  Anxious denotes anxiety, which I don’t believe would be the intent of the writer/speaker.  I believe a more soothing statement that would add the appropriate warmth to the situation.  “I’m eager to get home ‘cause Norman made supper for me”, I believe carries the ‘feeling’ as well as the information of the sentence.

Perhaps, had I bothered to gain an education, I would understand two more structures in English that make me wonder.  The common phrase, “I’ve got…”, is a form of “I have got”, which is clumsy, to say the least.  So why don’t we just say, “I have…”.  “I’ve got a date with Norman” might be smoother as, “I have a date with Norman”.

My fourth English language conundrum (besides my wondering why the name of a language should be capitalized) is the positioning of the two words, “to” and “not”.  We say, “They warned me not to go there”.  Somehow, it makes me feel that the better – yet incorrect – way would be, “They warned me to not go there”.  I imagine the warning person saying “Do not go there”, therefore one has been “…warned to not go there”.

I just don’t know.

NOTE to readers who are interested in “Cold Vengeance”, I apologize for my tardiness in posting part two.  My dog ate it.  I’ll redo it and post it asap.

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