Less Is More, Not Fewer

My mom is an awesome woman. She’s funny, sarcastic, smart as heck, super well read, relentlessly dedicated to her kids, and definitely knows her grammar.

Like my mom, I pride myself on my attention to detail and grammar skills. I was a writing and teaching assistant in college, so it was my actual job to edit grammar and help people write better. Living the dream, guys.

Imagine my horror when my mom corrected my grammar.

Me: There were a lot less people there than I was expecting!
Mom: Fewer.
Me: …
Mom: You mean fewer.
Me: …
Mom: There were fewer people there than you were expecting.
Me: No, I meant less.
Mom: Well, you’re wrong. It’s fewer.

She was right. Turns out, even top level grammar nerds such as myself can fall victim to spoken grammatical errors.

So, if you haven’t fallen in love with my mom already, you should. Turns out, I fell even more in love with her after I became a mom myself. The instant my son was born this past December, I wanted to call her all those times I hadn’t, send her more pictures, be a better daughter. Mostly, I just realized that there was a tiny human that belonged to me and I never wanted him to leave me. How had my mom felt when I went off to college? Moved away and got married?

I wanted to soak up every minute of my time with my son, so I decided to quit my full time job and stay home with him. When my son was about two months old, my awesome friend from college texted me, “Hey. Any interest in a part-time job from home with flexible hours?” Why yes, Natalie, yes I am interested. Home with the kiddo and something to keep me challenged and making some money? Working for an awesome company using my skills as a grammar enthusiast and librarian? Sign me up!

So that’s how I got here. I’ll be blogging for Grammatical Art (don’t worry, it won’t always be about moms and kids), and I’ll be helping manage things on the customer side of the company. I can’t wait to work with you and keep you in style with the best grammar wear out there!

Grammar Be Damned

My first blog post is surprisingly a very personal one. My daughter was diagnosed as autistic this week. After a year of doctor, therapy, and other specialist appointments, it is a good feeling to finally have an answer as to what’s going on with her. Having the answer will help us formulate a plan moving forward to get her the educational and therapeutic assistance she needs, so this is actually great news. In all honesty though, it sucks.

No one dreams of their child growing up with any sort of disability or challenge in life. I certainly never thought I would have to worry about having a child who couldn’t talk to me. (I’m long-winded and love to talk to anyone about anything, so it only makes sense that I would have a talker.) However, that’s exactly what happened. I am the lady who loves proper grammar so much that I created a business around it and now my daughter cannot string together a noun with a verb. I would give ANYTHING for my daughter to do so, proper grammar be damned. I don’t care what tense her verb is in, just give me a verb, kid.

Having an almost four year old who has daily meltdowns because she can’t tell you what she needs or is feeling is a big challenge. We are working on using other communication methods like sign language and pictograms to overcome this, but it’s still incredibly frustrating for us, the parents, and the adorable little human.

I wish I could wave my magic grammatical wand and make it all better for her. Poof! You are now able to speak in perfectly structured sentences. Love, The Grammatical Fairy Godmother.

Alas, it isn’t that easy.

Over time, I have the utmost faith in her gaining better communication abilities. At her new preschool (that actually specializes in the education of autistic children), she makes incredible strides daily and her speech therapist works her hard every single session. It’s just going to happen on her own timeline and in her own way. She may end up learning proper grammar along the way and she may not; I honestly don’t care at this point. It’s also not important right now; getting her to communicate in any way is important right now, grammar be damned.


Fundraiser for the School

My daughter is fortunate enough to go to an all-inclusive preschool where the educators tailor their teaching style and the lesson content to each kid’s needs and where the kids can have all of their therapies at the school. Educating and treating a child with autism is very costly. This is because staff to student ratios in programs like this are much smaller than that of a conventional school; they also have very qualified staffers educating and treating the children. Thanks to the school that she attends, it is affordable and we will be forever grateful for having access to the much needed early intervention our autistic child requires.

They cover the majority of the educational costs through grants and state funding, but a large portion is donated by ordinary people and businesses. I would like to assist in raising money for the school for many reasons, but the main ones are that I’d love the school to be around through the decades to come and I want more families to have access to their programs.

I am selling autism awareness t-shirts, sweatshirts, and totes in the shop to raise money for the school. 100% of the proceeds will go to the school that has changed our lives (Grammatical Art is donating all of the materials and labor). Please consider purchasing an item here:

Grammatical Art Autism Awareness Fundraiser

puzzle GA hoodie vneck tote

Why don’t we communicate properly?

I recently blew through the entire first two and-a-half seasons of Orange Is the New Black. In one episode the inmates wrote pieces for a prison newspaper. One wrote in an editorial, “I could care less.” Another inmate explained that her peer ought to have written, “I couldn’t care less,” as the former suggests a sense of care whereas the intent was that the issue was entirely inconsequential. Another inmate interjected that colloquial use trumps proper syntax. To support her argument she then sited use of the word “literally.”

My world crashed down on me.

Not literally.

Language and all of its rules matter. This would be way better if right now I were to provide data and empirical evidence, but I have neither. I couldn’t think of any solid reasons aside from my mild superiority complex; I communicate well, therefore I belong to a greater breed of humans.

As awesome as that would be were it true, I don’t think I like the idea. It’s too judgmental and degrading for a human as kind and tolerant as I am.

We should all communicate properly because we can. Everyone communicates and everyone uses language, i.e., a body of common words and systems, to do it, be it English, Spanish, sign language, clicks and whistles, or Mandarin. Everyone learns and uses language to convey thoughts to others. Why, if we all demonstrate that we have learned language, do we not all use it properly? Apathy? Defiance? Insufficient education?

I am going to passively contemplate it while I binge watch more OITNB and probably for the rest of my life. Side note: Ever since the aforementioned episode I have fought hard to not totally resent Piper Chapman. In the meantime, share where you stand. Why do some of us communicate improperly? Further, when and how should we correct our not-so-well-spoken brethren? And just because I’m curious, have you caught yourself using a word like “literally” the wrong way?

Meet the bloggers

 

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Natalie

My name is Natalie and I’m the owner. I am a sarcastic chemist who happens to love grammar; somehow I combined all of those things to create Grammatical Art. I am a workaholic, a runner, and a mom to a super cool kid. I love semicolons, typography, and the Oxford comma.

 

imageKrista

My name is Krista. I teach German, run marathons, and am a wannabe crazy cat lady in Ohio. My students tell me that I’m a hipster but I like things because they are cool. I don’t end sentences with prepositions and I avoid passive voice.

 

JessPicJess

I’m Jess, and I’m the Operations Coordinator for Grammatical Art. Natalie, grammar, and I go way back to our time in college together. I’m a former children’s librarian, full-time mom, and to me, the ampersand is a work of art.