Well, thankfully my spell check will not let me get by with saying that something is awfuller than something else. In browsing google I threw in the words awful, awfuller, and awfullest, just to see what would happen and quick as an eye-wink, google pulled up numerous uses of those words as acceptable grammatical usage meaning awful, more awful, and most awful.

That’s awful! I don’t want to be told I’m awful at anything, but being awfuller than my sister, or the awfullest in my family would be most unbearable. Webster’s dictionary would be happier if I settled for very bad, worse, and worst.

The stimulus for this poor management of my time, was a casual statement I made to my husband at lunch time.

“Don’t add salt to the beans,” I cautioned him.

He said something to the effect that if he did, it would make them saltier. Then he adds, “Would they be saltier or more salty, properly speaking?”

“I’m not sure,” I said. “Actually I think you could get by with either.” (Who ever said women were more inquisitive?)

He doesn’t drop it. “Well, what’s the rule?”

“Well I think you add er and est to words with one syllable and use more and most with words with two or more syllables.”

He persists, “You’re the grammar teacher, you should know.” The ball was tossed in my court to find out.

After research, I find out that I was right (most of the time) with my two syllable rule, except when the two syllable word ends in y then you change y to i and add er or est.

He has now gone happily to bed leaving me to do the research, knowing I will give him the answer in the morning. No wonder he is smarter, more intelligent, and wiser than I. He will learn in two minutes what I have spent forty minutes learning while he sleeps.

The truth is, however, that I could do things faster and better if I just did not have such curiosity. I can’t resist little trivia items like “Most Unusual Superlatives in Senior Yearbooks.” That’s the way I waste my time, but it is most amusing to see how schools deal with having to give some kind of award to every student. They must feed everybody’s ego. So here’s some examples of how to do it: Most Interesting Items in Locker; Most Outrageous Outfits; Nicest Binder Keeper; Silliest Joke Teller; Most Creative Drawer.

So that is how I spend my most valuable time finding funny stuff. And if I find some stuff that is funnier than other stuff, I know not to say that it is more funny. And next time I’ll remember that the beans with be saltier if more salt is added.


(This was written as a grammar post for Blogger’s World and published there on March 9th.  I decided it was worth another go for my followers and/or other readers.)

About oneta hayes

ABOUT ME Hello. To various folks I am Neat’nee, Mom, Grandma Neta, Gramma, Aunt Neta, Aunt Noni, Aunt Neno, and Aunt Neto (lots of varieties from little nieces and nephews). To some I’m more like “Didn’t you used to be my teacher?” or “Don’t I know you from someplace?” To you, perhaps, I am a Fellow Blogger. Not “fellow” like a male or a guy, but “fellow” like a companion or an adventurer. I would choose to be Grandma Blogger, and have you pull up a chair, my website before you, while I tell you of some days of yore. I have experienced life much differently than most of you. It was and is a good life. I hope to share nuggets of appreciation for those who have gone before me and those who come after me. By necessity you are among those who come after me and I will tell you of those who came before. Once upon a time in a little house on a prairie - oops, change that lest I commit plagiarism - and change that “house on the prairie” to “dugout on the prairie.” So my story begins...
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  1. shoreacres says:

    Oh, my. Didn’t I have to learn the lesson, and several times over: Google is so filled with bad information, it’s just not possible to count on it without double and triple sourcing. You can find examples of every error in the world — grammatical, scientific, literary, biographical — offered up with absolute assurance that this is the way it ‘sposed to be.

    When it comes to grammar, of course, the opposite problem lies with the Grammar Police: people who know every rule in the book, and insist on demanding we follow them, or prove beyond any reasonable doubt that we’re barbarians.

    And by the way — I’m with you, on thinking either form would do. Besides, those beans could be made more salty by adding more salt, and if we wanted them saltier, we could salt them again. Of course, we’d end up with the saltiest beans in the world, and not be able to eat them!

    • oneta hayes says:

      Very apt response. I have another coming up; you will probably enjoy. I’m saying this because of your remark about the Grammar Police. It is called, “But Not Always.” A bit of fun about the simple use of a question mark. “Such and such” is the rule – But Not Always. I post it tomorrow on Blogger’s World but not many read there. Thanks for the input. And, a bit of advice for us to heed. Start with very little salt to give room for improvement.

  2. calensariel says:

    I’m laughing here because Drollery and I have similar discussions all the time. I’ve posted one about who took the butter out of the fridge.This was adorable!

  3. dawnlizjones says:

    My mom used bacon fat on the green beans. Let’s see, that would be fat, fatter, fattest…?? (But, boy, were they good!)

    • oneta hayes says:

      Yes, dawnliz, and they make me plump, plumper, and regretfully, I will probably become the plumpest of us all! But at my age I am not likely to become more buxom. Generally the most buxom of us all are a bit younger than I. 😀

  4. judyjourneys says:

    Oneta, I am also a stickler for good grammar. Sometimes that keeps me awake at night until I resolve whatever the nagging issue is. Then, if you throw in that I’ve forgotten more of the rules than I care to count, there are moments when I am really in a tizzy. As a related issue, our local school district eliminated teaching spelling several years ago. Maybe I should organize a protest march (ha-ha).

    • oneta hayes says:

      Wow! Eliminate spelling? How sad. I guess we are supposed to write in “texting” lingo. Can you imagine reading a novel like that? I guess it could happen after a few generations. Other, even more vital, customs and traditions pass off to some “dumber” stuff. At least more vital in the light of eternity. About the grammar – I’m not very picky. It is my husband who is picky about it. If I read a sentence like this: “I seen a robben eating a worm,” I would go out of my mind about the “robben” but I wouldn’t slow down for the “seen.” Now that doesn’t speak very highly of me, does it? On second thought I probably would take a look back. It is rather irritating. 😀

  5. Salvageable says:

    Oneta, I have laid claim to the title “Grammar Dalek”–not exclusive claim, mind you, but I am one of the few. I agree that “saltier” and “more salty” are equally fine. And why disallow awfuller and awfullest when we accept awesomer and awesomest? (OK, I guess those aren’t accepted either.) J.

    • oneta hayes says:

      Nope, let’s not accept them. Apologies if the “nope” offends. I choose my battles carefully but awesomer and awesomest? See Faye below. Awesome wasn’t used very much until the chorus “Our God is an Awesome God…” That set a trend that has washed out the meaning of awesome. “That’s an awesome set of false teeth you have!” or “Did you see her awesome eye brow marker?” are a bit underwhelming. Did I punctuate that right, Grammar Dalek? 😀 😀

  6. Faye says:

    The way the English language has been high-jacked is one of the pet peeves in my life. Even good words used for generations in one of our favourite children’s songs here in oz no longer permissible because one word has become used by one group of people to describe themselves. Awesome is one word so badly misused like salvageable wrote above. It is intended to be a powerful word only used for a deity. It was intended to be an absolute. Certainly no degrees of description. An absolute means there is not higher or lower. Awesome is Awesome! I once told a boy his sneakers were not awesome. They were impressive, great, wonderful etc. but certainly not awesome. When his dad questioned me I told him if sneakers were awesome it would mean they were so consumed by a Divine Light they would burn his feet off. His dad laughed but it led to an interesting class-room discussion. What words belong where and how they should be used. Holy and Glory are other words in the same vein. Bandied around without thought now wonder we lose respect for God as well as for language.

  7. I think you would really enjoy reading “Shoots, Eats & Leaves by Lynn Truss. Hilarious about history and use of grammar.

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