Spinning Yarns, part 2–Me, Myself, and I
Speaking of writing in the first person, I have struggled with this for years. It is really annoying to have to re-write when composing an email to a friend. The I-did-this, and I-did that, gets old and needs to be repaired grammatically. However…that might get pretty boring and contrived.
Sorry to be the grammar police, but that is my nature. It has always pained me to find a glaring error in a serious piece of work–NOT to say a typo, although too many typing mistakes (i.e. hitting the wrong key) questions one’s ability) –but a word that is misused or misspelled out of ignorance. A painful misuse of the language is not necessarily due to ignorance…I myself spelled “receive” with the i and e reversed, until a copywriter sent me a kind reminder (“hey-dummy, it’s I before E except after C…) and yes, I was there the day the teacher taught the rule. So now I always pause in my typing (keyboarding) and recite the rule in my brain…. I before E except after C. I before E except after C….
I was well along in grad school when someone corrected my pronounciation of “amphitheater” and my son and daughter-in-law informed me of how to say “Pythagoras” the right way. Well, in my defense, those old Greeks had a lot of names that defied pronounciation in English.
Another thing, althought I once aspired to be a linguist, I became a Historian instead. Linguistics has always fascinated me, though. Back in my freshman year of high school I studied Latin, and that one-semester course has proven to be one of the most valuable sources of background knowledge for me in my future (actually, past) endeavors of life. To this day I can recite from the text: “Britain est insula.” Pretty good, huh?
Using the right word at the right time is part of fluency in any language. English is a bad example, to me, because it is nearly impossible to master without a lot of memorization. Spanish has been relatively easy for me although it is very hard for an advanced adult to learn a second language. I can read fairly well, but speaking is another sotry. Now French–yikes! I needed a second foreign language credit, so chose French For Reading Proficiency. My Spanish helped greatly, as did the semester of basic Latin long ago. But when it came to the final exam, I was lucky to eke out a C. The instructor told me that my translations were beautiful, but I was too slow and did not do enough in the allotted time. I can explain that: French is packed with nuances and specific meanings, and I admit to taking an inordinate amount of test time to browse the dictionary (which was allowed.) So my translation was good, but I wasn’t fast enough…or to put it another way, the goal was a rough translation, not necessarily accuracy.
The only other C on my transcript was in Geology. They tricked me on identifying the rocks. (Another story.)
So anyway, it would have been cumbersome and awkward to try to write the foregoing piece without resorting to the first person…. me, myself, and I.
I did edit this yarn…and there were some really dumb mistakes. Not in the typing, but in using the wrong word, being vague, and getting carried away with aside comments. The grammar police really need to be careful of how they word things!
It did give me some blog ideas for another time though… 🙂