Grumpy Grampy’s Grammar Grumbles … “Graduate” …


… been kicking this idea around in my head for some time now … never mind wondering how someone “kicks something around” in one’s own head … or at least don’t ask me, I have no idea …

… anyway, I have been considering adding some comments here about the all-too-common grammatical mistakes that mar the use of our language … particularly when the mistakes are made by professional communicators, such as TV and radio newscasters, newspaper reporters and columnists, politicians and political pundits, authors, and lawyers …

… as part of that process, I was thinking about what to call myself … or these offerings … I considered calling myself the “Grumpy Grammarian”, in partial homage to the grammar columnist who used to write for the local newspaper and styled herself the “Gracious Grammarian” … and yes, her comments were always very gracious, even when she was discussing what could only be characterized as grammatical idiocy …

… but, it turns out that there are already several “Grumpy Grammarians” populating the blogosphere … and, not wanting to step on their metaphorical toes, I opted to refer to myself by the nickname I had already earned … “Grumpy Grampy” … and my maunderings here as “Grammar Grumbles” …

… I was finally motivated to put fingers to keyboard today by the news reports related to the proposed Arizona legislation discussed in my other blog here …

… what set me off were the headlines and news articles which stated that this legislation would require that students recite the proposed oath in order to “graduate high school” …

… this mis-use of the word “graduate” has been peeving me for some time, conjuring up as it does images of students standing at the corners of their high school buildings with rulers, making little tick marks every inch …

… as this is the only way a student can “graduate” a school …

… the reason, of course, is that while schools “graduate” students, students “graduate from” schools …

… it is not entirely clear to me whether this particular misuse of the language — which is increasingly common even among professional communicators who ought to know better … such as the writers of the news reports about the proposed Arizona legislation — is a result of educational deficiency, ignorance or simple laziness …

… whichever might be the case, Grumpy Grampy says get better educated, get smarter or just quit being so lazy and use the language correctly … particularly if you have already graduated from high school, college or even grad school … and most especially if you hold yourself out as a professional communicator …

… you ought to know better.


For another — and more linguistically technical, but nevertheless entertaining — discussion of this grammatical error, along with any number of comments which confirm that all too many people just don’t get it, see this excellent website:

Grammar Girl actually does a podcast of her comments, as well, to which you can listen by clicking on the sound bar just below the title “Graduated versus Graduated From”.


There Oughta Be a Law


When I was a kid growing up on Long Island, New York, one of my favorite newspaper cartoons was “There Oughta Be a Law”, by Al Fagaly and Harry Shorten.  It was a take off (or knock off, if you will) of Jimmy Hatlo’s long-running cartoon, “They’ll Do It Every Time”.  So, with a “tip’o the hat” (as Jimmy used to say) to all three of those long ago cartoonists, I offer the following:

“There Oughta Be a Law”  …

… against unsolicited telephone sales calls anytime.  Not that I ever answer them anyway.

… absolutely prohibiting anyone calling on the phone before noon.  That’s just rude.

… against talking to your seatmate (me) on an airplane.  I have my earphones on and iPad open for a reason.

… banning uninvited proselytizing … about religion, politics or global warming.  No, I don’t want to be converted, enlightened or educated.

… prohibiting lame excuses for not having done what you were supposed to do.  As Nike would say, “Just Do It!”  And if you don’t, at least own your failure.

… against vacuous news “reporters” who can’t even read their teleprompters, much less understand the significance what they are reading.  TV news once was and should be all about the stories, not the pulchritude or masculinity of the “talent”.

… requiring that for every new law that is passed, an existing law of equal or greater length has to be repealed.  Many of them are obsolete, useless or just plain stupid, anyway, and wouldn’t be missed.

Which suggests a subject for another discussion — “There Oughta Not Be a Law”!


For the Wikipedia article on Jimmy Hatlo and “They’ll Do It Every Time”, see here:

An article which discusses both “They’ll Do It Every Time” and “There Oughta Be a Law” is here:

My 2013 Non-Resolutions


For the year 2013, I do NOT resolve …

… to be more tolerant and understanding of all the stupid people in the world.  See for examples:

… to eat more green vegetables.  My Mom said I didn’t have to.  I still believe her.

… to organize my home, especially my home office (or “cave”, as Candy calls it).  I like the clutter and am comfortable with the mess, the post-it notes stuck to every vertical surface and the papers stacked on every horizontal surface.

… to read Don Aslett’s book Clutter’s Last Stand or Tara Aronson’s mrscleanjeans’ housekeeping with KIDS, which in my case would have to be “housekeeping with CRITTERS“, but the principle is the same in either event, I ain’t doin’ it.

… to stop saying “ain’t”.

… to be more tolerant and understanding of all the boring, annoying or downright aggravating people in the world (see first item above).

… to “Go Green”, reduce my “carbon footprint” (can’t remember the last time I walked through carbon in such a way as to leave footprints, anyway), or live a “more sustainable lifestyle” (I’m not even sure what the heck that means).

… to lose weight.  If it happens, fine.  If not, like John Elway & Doug Flute, I’m definitely comfortable in my own skin, even when there’s a bit more of it than there used to be.

… to learn how to Tweet … or Instagram … or get “Tagged” … or to Pinterest, Meetup, Multiply or Ning.  I have enough trouble keeping up with email & Facebook to worry about all these other “social media” websites (which are, in truth, pretty anti-social since everyone on them is avoiding actual personal contact with other participants).

… to remember to send birthday, Thanksgiving, Christmas or other holiday cards.  In fact, I may not even open any I receive.

… to “harmonize” my life.  I can’t even harmonize my voice, much less the rest of my existence.

… to forgive those who trespass against me.  Revenge is much more satisfying.

… to be all that I can be.  Been there, done that, not doing it again.

… to accept people just the way they are.  See the first and sixth items above.

… to start each morning by saying to myself five times, “I can do it!”   Then repeating it five more times in the afternoon and five more before going to bed.  If I have to tell myself 15 times a day that I can do something, I either can’t or really don’t want to.

… to avoid the temptations of Baskin-Robbins ice cream, Double Stuff Golden Oreo cookies, Jelly Bellies, Strawberry Twizzlers or Three Musketeers bars.  If only I could find one, I’d add Powerhouse bars to that list, too.

… to start doing yoga.  Self-explanatory.

… to quit my bad habits.  I like my bad habits.  If you happen to disagree, that’s your problem, not mine.