Monthly Archives: March 2013

Whom are youm to ask?

The simple answer is that if you can use “him,” you can use “whom”’ if “he” fits, use “who.” That was my proposed subject for this week’s column.

We were in the Optic newsroom as I spouted this bit of faux erudition, when fellow writer Lupita Gonzales said that when it comes to “whom,” we need to think of objects, not subjects. As a now-retired long-time teacher of languages, she’s right.

Is there a construction in English that causes more confusion? Even Hollywood aggravates the issue when it popularizes expressions like “Who you gonna call? Ghostbusters!” (Or is it whom?)

Well yes there are a couple of grammar and usage questions that can rival the who-whom syndrome: Try the there-they’re-their conundrum. Actually, in a mere five words, my friend Chad Boliek, submitted this in response to my having broached the there-their-they’re issue in a recent column. Chad wrote: “They’re there awaiting their bus.” Continue reading

Adding s’s to our yes’es

The first thing I reach for in reading a newspaper is the opinion section. And when going online, to read other newspapers, I click until the editorials, columns and letters to the editor show up.

In short, I luuuuve to read other people’s opinions. But that (reading others’ opinions) comes with a price: namely fighting my urge to correct people’s spelling, grammar and punctuation. Often, I miss the points others make because I’m too busy chasing commas, run-on sentences and words that dangle.

I’ve noticed a gradual decline in people’s ability to spell: the your/you’re issue appears insoluble as does the wont of some to over-punctuate.

Let me explain: Continue reading

Love and hate: It’s about time

We’d been only about four hours into Daylight Saving (not Savings) Time when Bonnie asked her perennial question: “What time is it?”

“It’s 6 o’clock,” I answered, barely awake. “No! I’m asking you what time is it really?” Oh, I get it. “Really” doesn’t refer to the time on the clocks, which I had spent ages dutifully resetting to synchronize with DST, early last Sunday; “really” really refers to the time is was before that back-breaking clock-resetting period hours before.

“Well, then, I guess it’s ‘really’ only 5 o’clock,” I said. But that single answer won’t suffice for long, I am sure. Bonnie will keep “reallypeating” that question until … until we go back to standard time, in six months.

We’re clock watchers and clock buyers. We have at least one clock for every room, including bathrooms. The nocturnal tripping into each room to … let’s see: It’s spring, so we need to spring forward, i.e., make the clocks show 3 a.m. when it’s 2 a.m. … to advance the clocks. Continue reading

Is New Mexico missing again?

A popular, long-lived feature in New Mexico Magazine is called “One of Our 50 is Missing.”

It’s a collection of anecdotes submitted by readers whose state got short-changed by some non-New Mexican.

In this “Missing” column, you’ll read, for example, about a flatland tourister visiting this state and expecting to pay in pesos rather than dollars, or of some phone rep, trapped in a cube somewhere, who tells the New Mexico caller that the company doesn’t ship to foreign countries.

You get the picture.

My time in the Midwest invariably was spent explaining that “Mexico City is farther away from my hometown in New Mexico than we are, right here in Aurora, Ill.” And people often wanted to see my driver’s license, to test their Spanish-reading ability. Otherwise, they’d simply refuse to believe there was such a state with such a name.

Someone ought to hurry and send one of the latest New Mexico omissions to our state magazine. In this case, the University of New Mexico Lobos — yes, those guys who play great basketball — got slighted in an Associated Press poll. You probably realize by now that the Lobos, winners of their conference, are currently ranked 14th in the U.S. Continue reading