Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Yours in Good Grammar and Bad













As a writer, I admit this little cartoon hits home. Improper use of the possessive makes me cringe. So do misspelled words, iffy grammatical constructions, and the word “drug” in place of “dragged.”

But here’s the thing: I’m married to a man who gets the word “drug” wrong all the time. He also says “good” when he should say “well.” (“It’s going good.” “Grrrr.”) He says “acrost,” no matter how many times I point out that it isn’t a word. He’s very smart, very articulate, a fascinating story-teller -- but the written word is just not his thing. As a dyslexic, he reads very slowly and thoroughly. In the time he reads one page, I can finish an entire chapter. It takes him a week to write someone a letter (which he actually still does) while I can write hundreds of emails in that same amount of time.

How can a writer so passionate about the written word be with someone who has a fifty-fifty chance of choosing the proper use of “You’re”? 

Before I met my husband, I always went for guys who were equally verbally oriented. But maybe opposites really do attract. After all, when he tries to explain any aspect of building, fixing cars, or even a scientific principle, my eyes glaze over. I’ll do nonsensical things like start a fire in the woodstove when a cardboard box is sitting on it. If he can tolerate my head-in-the-clouds moments, why should I complain about sketchy grammar?

Besides, we’ve learned to live with each other’s strengths and weaknesses. I book all our plane tickets because it would take him hours on the computer. He knows my carpentry help won’t extend much beyond holding boards in place. He indulges me with games of Bananagrams knowing he has no chance of winning. I bite my tongue when he adds that extra “t” to “across”. We don’t judge each other or make fun of each other’s quirks. Well, not too much. And we never forget each of us has knowledge and skills the other can’t even approach. 

So how about you? Do you think opposites attract? Is there an area in which you and your partner are completely different --- but you make it work somehow? 

4 comments:

Meg Benjamin said...

Well, my hubs is a chemist and I'm an English major, so yeah, opposites definitely attract! And I can now rattle off phrases like gas chromatograph mass spectometry without a qualm (although I can't spell it, apparently).

Kelly Jamieson said...

Yes my hubs and I are pretty opposite. He's not a reader. I devour books. But I can't take a good picture no matter what and when I need Photoshop he's my man. He's also pretty good at math and science and I suck at both. So together we are a whole brain. :-)

PG Forte said...

I think this might be the most romantic post I've ever read. I admit to being something of a grammar nazi, but I think I'll be a lot more tolerant after reading this post. <3

Erin Nicholas said...

oh, Juniper, this is awesome. My hubby and I are opposite in LOTS of ways. Not the brain thing as much-- we're both writers (though non-fiction and fiction which are definitely different) but I'm an extrovert and he's an introvert and that can be way harder to overcome than grammar problems! Though him being quiet means more time for me to talk so it definitely works! *G*
Erin