'Matter of Laugh or Death,' a humor column
By Bill Dunn
Interesting observations on this thing we call life
(appearing each week in the Republican-American newspaper, Waterbury, CT)
PROF. GRAMMAR GUY BE HELPING YOU OUT
It’s time for another installment of the popular Q&A advice column, “Ask Professor Grammar Guy.” (I am, of course, using the definition of the word “another” that means: the first time ever and surely the last.)
Dear Prof. Grammar Guy: Isn’t this column just a cheap attempt to copy Dave Barry’s “Mr. Language Person” columns? –Bonnie M., Burrville, Conn.
Dear Bonnie: If I were copying Mr. Barry, then this column would be funny. As you soon shall discover, Prof. Grammar Guy has NOTHING in common with Mr. Language Person.
Dear Prof. Grammar Guy: I can’t stand it when people change from singular to plural in the same sentence, such as, “Everyone needs to get their math book out.” It drives me nuts! –Jennifer Z., Burrville, Iowa.
Dear Jennifer: I see your point. It should be, “Everyone needs to get their science book out.” Also, your question should read, “I can’t stand it when people change from singular to plural….It drives us nuts!”
Dear Prof. Grammar Guy: I hear people say, “I got some beer in my fridge.” This sounds to me like an incorrect use of the word “got.” Is it? –Mike L., Burrville, Calif.
Dear Mike: You got a good ear, my friend. People should instead say, “I got to get some beer from your fridge.”
Dear Prof. Grammar Guy: When someone writes, “People should instead say,” doesn’t this split the past participle infinitive, thereby violating the should-would-could compound verb law of grammar? –Arnold B., Burrville, Ohio.
Dear Arnold: No, not exactly, but you’re close. Locating the word “instead” between “should” and “say” actually fractures the future indicative supernumerary, thereby violating Newton’s second law of thermodynamics. The proper way to construct this sentence is, “People shoulda-woulda-coulda say.”
Dear Prof. Grammar Guy: Does it really matter anyhow if people use uncorrect grammar? I mean, isn’t getting your message across much more importanter than dopey old rules? –George W., Burrville, D.C.
Dear Mr. President: I lost you there, big guy. Exactly what message are you trying to get across with your question?
Dear Prof. Grammar Guy: I suspect my husband is having an affair with his secretary, but I don’t have any real proof. What should I do? –Hillary R., Burrville, NY.
Dear Hillary: I think you are confusing Prof. Grammar Guy with another famous Q&A advice columnist, The Car Doctor. So let me give the answer I believe The Car Doctor would offer: First, make sure your front tires are properly inflated. Then take your car and drive it over your husband. If his secretary comes to the wake, you will know that your suspicions were correct. On the way to the cemetery, feel free to drive your car over her, too. Then—and this is very important—immediately take your car to a reputable mechanic to adjust the front end alignment.
Dear Prof. Grammar Guy: My car’s engine makes a funny clicking noise when I accelerate. What do you think the problem is? –Leonard C., Burrville, Ark.
Dear Leonard: I think you are confusing Prof. Grammar Guy with another famous Q&A advice columnist, Dear Abby. So let me give the answer I believe Dear Abby would offer: Keeping your fears bottled up will only make you more unhappy. You must get your concerns out in the open. Say to your car, “I don’t appreciate those clicking noises.” But wait until your car is in a good mood to bring up this uncomfortable topic.
Well, thankfully, we am out of time for today’s installment of “Ask Professor Grammar Guy.” Additional questions can be sent to this newspaper, to the attention of Dave Barry.
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