Watch Out! It’s The -Ly Police!


I am not a master grammarian. I’ve never claimed to be. I make mistakes just like the next guy. Incomplete sentences? I love ’em. But I do have a pet peeve.


My husband calls me “The -Ly Police.” (Grammatically incorrect but his point is understood.)

When the weather man says, “Dress warm,” I shout, “-LY!”

When the Kashi ad says, “Eat positive,” I shout, “-LY!”

When the news anchor says, “traffic is moving smooth and steady,” I shout, “-LY and -ILY!”

It’s annoying. I know.

I mean it.

Really, really annoying. (Oh. You were agreeing with my husband and I was…..oh, never mind.)

Remember when we were kids? – “Ain’t ain’t in the dictionary so ain’t ain’t a word!”

Well, guess what? Ain’t is in the dictionary. As well as a plethora of other grammatical mishaps.

grammar p2

The evolution of language is an interesting thing. And I’d love to think that there’s rhyme or reason to the decisions made. But after some cursory research, my humble opinion is, “No.” There is no rhyme or reason. None. Nada. There ain’t even  a  consensus.

What is it?

Laziness that becomes a pervasive bugaboo. Teens that twist us into thinking that their distinct vernacular is where it’s at. (Ending with a preposition. Yep. Now acceptable in some circles.) 

 And pretty soon, we’re all speaking that way. It’s impactful. It causes alot of controversy. It effects us all. And it makes me nauseous. But it’s a moot point. (Ahhh, I kill myself.) 

One thing I do know is that avoiding regrettable grammar is impossible.

So let this be a warning to all you media people out there. If the traffic reporter on the radio tells me to “Drive safe” or the weatherman wants me to “dress warm,” I’m going to be shouting “-LY!”

With every fiber of my being.


Filed under Soapbox

12 responses to “Watch Out! It’s The -Ly Police!

  1. the overall purpose of language is to comprehensib(ly) express ideas.
    If someone uses bad grammar, but I can understand them, I suppose I can live with that.

    Worse to me are those that use the two dollar words wrongly in an attempt to sound more high-falutin.

  2. I’m with you, Jane. We use our adverbs correctly. Even my daughter. I’ve noticed her correcting her friends without being obnoxious about it.

    My bigger pet peeves? “We seen.” “I seen.” “We was.” Drives me crazy!!!!!

    • It’s funny the mistakes that jump out at us. I don’t notice your pet peeve as much….maybe it’s a locale kind of thing. (Your daughter rocks, by the way!)

  3. Uh… I don’t mean to be nitpicky, but don’t you mean that it “affects” us all? It is kind of ironic that, in a post lamenting poor grammar, you have made one of the grammatical errors that irks me most – the use of the noun “effects” in place of the verb “affects” …

    • Nope. I didn’t mean to use “affects.” I meant to use “effects.” And “impactful.” And “alot.” And “nauseous.” And “moot.” All five of those mistakes were intentionally placed to poke fun at grammatical errors that have now become commonplace.

      Just a little bit of my twisted humor, I guess.

      • I have to admit that, bothered as I am about all of the grammatical infractions out there, I cannot really judge those who are butchering the language because any living language that gets used will inevitably change and morph (eg., how the many regional Chinese dialects were formed from one written language). We don’t speak in old English anymore either, and I can’t help but think that someone must be rolling in their grave over our sentence structure, too. I’m just glad that our language is so fluid and flexible that it can be understood despite vast differences in pronunciation, syntax and spelling!

  4. I often mix my verb tenses or end a sentence with a preposition. I try to use “-ly” correctly, but sometimes I get it wrong. I’ve been trying to use adverbs less often. I love a good proofreader.

    For all my grammatical faults, I can almost always hear them when others make them, and I correct them, too (maybe not out loud). However, if it is your job to speak for a living; then for goodness sake, you should know how to use good grammar.

    I do not understand slang and words that were once considered improper to use in a sentence finding there way into the dictionary. Is it just American dictionaries, or is it also the Oxford dictionary, adding bad words into our vocabulary? And, do schools teach sentence diagramming anymore?

    I love your twisted humor. Fun post 🙂

  5. Pingback: No Such Thing As “Bad English” | Inking Away

  6. I’m too scared to write something here incase I screw up and get it wrong. 😉 Should that have been anything here? See, I haven’t got a clue have I? I bet you scream every time you read one of my posts then! Ha!

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