Growing up in a house with a mother who’s (step) mother was a school teacher was-at times-difficult. Proper use of the English language was more than encouraged and definitely expected as the correct way to communicate with one another.
There were times when using proper English was a chore, fodder for teasing from friends, and misunderstood simply because whomever I was conversing with did not “get” my use of certain words and phrases.
Needless to say (but I will say it anyway…this is my article, after all), I am forever grateful for my mother’s insistence (of the use of) proper English. This background has served me well all of my life and while I sometimes use contractions, slang, and occasionally slip into text speak-the use of proper English will always be important to me.
Say again, please:
One such phrase I use often and without thought is “say again” (or more politely: say again, please). This phrase comes in handy when you are speaking with someone and you miss what he or she has uttered. Instead of saying “what?” or “huh?” or staring at them in confusion, ask the person to repeat what they said-in a proper English sort of way: “Say again, please?”.
All teasing aside, once you have explained why you might phrase WHAT in a more correct manner, your friends may actually be impressed with your use of proper English. I must tell you that I do not use the phrase to sound important or better than anyone else. I simply believe it sounds better than WHAT or whatdidja say or huh…
I also must reiterate that not all of my conversations are filled with: say agains, do nots, cannots, and will nots (in place of: what, don’t, can’t and won’t) but I do take pride in what my parents, grandparents, teachers, and other (“smarty”) folks have taught me over the years.
And I am passing this knowledge on to my daughter because I firmly believe that unless we use it-in this case proper English-we will lose it. Consider it my tribute and appreciation for retaining and using all that I have learned.
I am dedicating this piece most especially to my beloved other without whom I would be lost and because he absolutely “gets” my say again. However, I would be remiss if I did not thank the other two for whom this article is written. I won’t mention your names but you know who you are. In spite of the teasing you understand that “yes, my grandmother was a school teacher” and for whatever that is worth-at the very least-it is something I am proud of.
If you have enjoyed the preceding please feel free to check out my blog for all the latest updates, publications, and pictures; happy reading!
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