But maybe the person wants to know. Maybe the person would appreciate a friendly correction. Maybe you’re doing your part to preserve the English language, sturdy as it may be.
I usually say nothing, I admit. Life goes on. Everyone is content. But I can’t stop myself from correcting the mistake. In my head. A fleeting mental murmur. Let it go, let it go. But I can’t. Nothing more than mild OCD, I suppose.
Anyway, here are a few mistakes I’ve heard lately.
1. “Between you and I.”
Corrrection: “Between you and me.”
We’ve been scolded so often for beginning a sentence: “You and me should go…” No, no, it should be You and I. So we apply that to every construction. But you wouldn’t ever say “Between you and we,” right? (which is essentially the same as “You and I.”)
2. “My head literally exploded.”
Did it? Literally? And you’re still here, speaking? Unfortunately, the usage gods, the panels that monitor dictionary changes, have capitulated. It’s now okay, they say, to use “literally” for emphasis. But “literally” is often useful. Sometimes we need to know that some extraordinary event actually happened.
3. I saw this restaurant ad on a highway billboard: “Ever wonder why there’s so many Italians in Chicago?” No, but I do wonder how you can spend big bucks on a sign with such a glaring mistake.
4. Studio Movie Grill features these words in giant block letters: “Eat. Drink. Movies.” For some reason, this one doesn’t bother me so much because it’s effective. To correct it would be burdensome: “Eat. Drink. Watch Movies.”
5. “I feel badly.”
We hear this so often that it sounds correct. What you’re actually saying is that your sense of touch is poor. “I feel bad,” while it sounds incorrect, is right.
6. The last example brings up a tricky one. And I’m already second-guessing myself. Which is correct? “I’m good” or “I’m well”? Nearly everyone understands that an action is done “well,” as in “The guitarist played well.” So we tend to change every use of “good” to “well.” But I would argue that “I’m good” is correct, as in “I am good.” It’s a state of being, and “good” acts not as an adverb but as an adjective or noun.
Exceptions about. Correctness sometimes is a drag. For example, I’m rarely bothered by mistakes in lyrics, probably because they serve a sound purpose. I also love how slang slaps grammar sick.
I happen to be one of those people who wants to be corrected, who wants to discuss the nuances of good and well, so please comment on any disagreements on the above or raise other questions. I promise not to be annoyed. For example, I struggled with punctuation at the end of #1 above. Not exactly a grammatical concern, but related. I’m still tempted to move the period to the very end.
Anyway, have a good day, and do good. Yes?