By Catherine Browning
When I attended high school, everyone learned the basic dance steps in PE class. This included the waltz, two-step, polka, and some square dancing. All right! I admit it was somewhere back in the dark ages. But when you were asked to go to the prom, you knew the steps. More important, your partner knew the steps, too. At the more informal dances, we all learned the twist, mashed potato . . . well, you get the idea.
My grandson is a senior in high school. I asked him if he intended going to the prom.
“Do you know how to dance?”
“Does whomever you will ask to be your date know how to dance?”
Now I ask you, what are they teaching students at school these days? I’m allowed to ask this question because I’m a teacher. As of a few years ago, I just do substitute teaching, but I still qualify.
So I asked my grandson if anyone actually danced at the dances.
So I offered to teach my grandson and his choice of dates how to dance. Place your bets now as to whether or not that will happen!
My daughter informed me I was too old-fashioned and that she didn’t even know the present day dances. Perhaps my granddaughter-in-law could teach him to swing dance?
by Catherine Browning
Writing novels didn’t start for me until after my teaching career came to a successful close. That’s when I purchased a Kindle and started reading everything I could find of interest. In judging the merit of novels, one of the major criteria is grammar. It was a shock to find that many modern day writers didn’t know the rules of English grammar or word usage. Here are some recent examples:
. . . or whomever he was.
He indicated she was to proceed him into the room.
What were you thinking of?
My brother came between Carlos and I.
You may be thinking, what is wrong with those quotes? Allow me to explain. The verb to be is a grammatical equal sign. Subject and object are the same, so the first example should read:
. . . or whoever he was.
The second example is confusing the two verbs proceed and precede. Proceed means to continue or move forward. Precede means to go before. So, that example should read:
He indicated she was to precede him into the room.
In the next example, the basic rule is to never end a sentence with a preposition. There are multiple ways to fix this example.
- What were you thinking?
- Of what were you thinking?
- What were you contemplating?
- What were you considering?
In the last example between is a preposition and requires the object form of the pronoun I.
The example should read:
My brother came between Carlos and me.
Numerous books on grammatical usage are available. Chicago Manual of Style is one that many editors use. Another that I have found helpful is Essentials of English by Hopper, Gale, Foote, and Griffith. Or go to your local Community College and take a basic class. No matter what your answer is, using good grammar can only enhance your writing.
Thanks for reading my thoughts . . . and may your next novel be a bestseller!
By Catherine Browning
Have you ever seen a tiny white-haired woman shuffling along with a cane or walker and thought, “I’ll never end up like that!”?
But what if you win the ‘little old lady’ lottery?
Yesterday was my annual physical exam to determine how far along the ‘little old lady’ road I have traveled. The first test is the height and weight test. We will gloss over the weight test and skip directly to the height part. My adult height was 5 feet 10 inches. A number of years ago I was in a tobogganing accident. The result was a compressed disc in my lower spine. Height: 5 feet 9.5 inches. Years of hiking and jogging along with regular living further eroded the height I had down to 5 feet 9 inches.
Shock doesn’t begin to describe my reaction to yesterday’s measurement: 5 feet 7 inches. And I now have to carry a cane when out of doors. People have started helping me out of chairs. Sleeping the night through is a thing of the past.
Never say never! But don’t give up either. My second novel is in the works and it doesn’t have a height requirement.
Hang in there, Baby!
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