Lord of the Flies, All Ready and Jessica Simpson

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

In the past I've been told I write well. I expected high scores in my English classes and 9th grade Honors English was no exception. Mrs. Cabella was one of my all time favorite teachers, but we didn't exactly get off on the right foot. She severely critiqued my writing (completely fairly), but I was not accustomed to receiving anything but a red star and circled A at the end of my papers. To say I was embarrassed, appalled or any other of the like to receive my papers back fully marked up would be an understatement.

So I rolled my sleeves up past my elbows and got to work. I won't over dramatize it by saying it was the last paper of the class, but it could have been. All I remember was the overwhelming need to persuade Mrs. Cabella that I could in fact write. A high grade may have been needed to swing my grade or it was simply that I could not stand for a teacher thinking poorly of me. Whatever the case, I poured my heart into that paper. I believe the subject pertained to Lord of the Flies, but my memory really doesn't serve correctly much anymore. I sat for hours drafting the perfect paper and grew frustrated with the thesaurus and my parents, as they didn't provide the correct suggestions or understand my arguments. Finally, I approved of the paper and with great pride handed the assignment in, already anxious to receive it's feedback.

I was completely shell shocked and consumed by righteous anger when it was returned to me. The note on the final page and glaringly obvious absence of a grade sent me into an absolute tizzy. Mrs. Cabella simply wrote: "Wonderful paper, beautifully written. I'm not sure how to grade this though, as I am unsure how much of it was written by you."

In my life, there have been very few times I have been more heated than I was while reading that note in class. The hub of the classroom vibrated on my red tinged ears, as a flush quickly overcame my face. Shame was the most prominent emotion. I was ashamed to have written so poorly prior to the paper held in my hand that my teacher couldn't believe it was crafted by me, but instead had to assume it was acquired or majorly assisted by my parents.

The details are again fuzzy as to how the situation panned out. My Mom was definitely one of those mom's, so I'm sure she either called or sent a note to defend my ability, deflecting the notion that the paper was written by either her or my Stepdad. Mrs. Cabella took my conversation and my Mom's support as enough rationale to provide a grade for my paper and all was well. I was redeemed. I convinced Mrs. Cabella that I could write well!

That's my background with English. I read a lot, even picking up The Crucible for fun in 6th grade. I won't pretend I understood the majority of the book, but I was always reading and expanding my vocabulary. On this bend, I'm so glad I opened this random post on the MSP board on the nest, because I died laughing while reading this blog: Hyperbole and a Half. Please, do yourself a favor and hop on over to read, right now.

The other day, I went back to read A Lot is Better Than You at Everything. Basically this post provides a mental escape for those with enough grasp of the English language to become irritated by the misuse of "alot" instead of the proper "a lot." I laughed hysterically through the blog post, particularly due to the illustrations. Suddenly I locked in on one word used in the post: already.

You see, I'm actually not a grammar snob and I'm not sure if I actually do write well. I like to throw around vocab words and hate to reuse adjectives in the same blog post, let alone sentence, but I don't remember half of the rules I learned in grade school. A year or so I stumbled across a headline that made me change my writing. Much like clarifying the fact that "alot" is not a word, nor woolly monster created by a blog, this headline called out that "already" should not be used. Instead, all instances of "already" should instead be divided into two separate words "all ready."

And so, for the past year, I have written "all ready," with a slightly upturned nose, as I practiced my superior use of a little known grammar rule. But as I read the above post and saw that the blog author used "already," as one word, I knew with dread that something was amiss. It didn't seem possible to me that a blog post with the sole intention of making fun of those who don't write well would use "already" incorrectly. That would be like throwing "ain't" around just for fun. And so, I started to peruse the internet, attempting to find an article, any article, even if from The Onion, to support my use of "all ready." But there is none. Not a single one.

Just call me Jessica Simpson. I've been trying to single-handedly over haul "already" to "all ready," much like Jessica's campaign on her popularity to transform "Oh my G*d!" to "Ohmygah."

I'm going to go hide in a hole now.


Lucky Girl said...

I don't think you are crazy, as I seriously recall being told the same thing about already/all ready but I can't be certain that it isn't a Canadian thing - like how we Canadians spell colour and favourite.

Also, if it helps any, I was also accused of plagiarism once in high school - Grade 10 Geography - I was not pleased :)

Molly said...

Haha, as someone with a journalism degree I can completely relate to this post!

I never said anything about your use of the word All Ready. I figured if you were using it there had to be a reason :)

And p.s. I spread that Hyperbole and a Half blog around like wildfire on Twitter last week. I was "cry" laughing until the wee hours of the morning.

Funniest blog EVER.

leah @maritalbless said...

It is just so funny! I came across it through the nest: http://community.thenest.com/cs/ks/forums/thread/42583656.aspx

Bekah said...

Ah I do love Hyperbole and a Half!

You know what else has always irked me? Loose instead of lose. I make grammatical errors occasionally (ALL the time) but that one kills me!

Also...spell check just informed me that I spelled 'grammatical' wrong the first time! Aghh!

Anonymous said...

Could you be thinking of "alright"? Alright is not a word. "All right" is correct. (I'm a trained editor and I just double-checked this in Chicago, Associated Press, and the Careful Writer.)

AJ said...

My sweet Leah, are you asking what the difference is?

All ready = Everything is ready (We're all ready to go!)

Already = used for everything else. (I'm already done with my homework)

Unknown said...

People don't even care how they write any more. Sad.


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