SYW: Grammar, Genets, Sibs, & Alter Egos

Monday Melanie starts 2022 with the following Share Your World questions:

What frivolous, but annoying thing that people do be considered a sin (crime)?  
And how should violators be made to repent (be punished) for it?   

Confuse possessives with plurals by adding an apostrophe where it does not belong!!This is extremely common these days. Don’t they teach grammar in elementary school anymore or were these people asleep in class? It should be a crime, punishable by having to spend a whole day in a grammar class in which the attendees would write out many examples of both plurals and possessives, using all the rules for making plurals and possessives in the English language.

Cake’s is not a word, although the supermarket would have you think so! What belongs to the cake? Frosting? A message written on the top? No. They mean simply “more than one cake” which is a plural. The rule in this case is to add an “s” to the end of the word, NO APOSTROPHE! I have a dear friend that makes this mistake all the time and it drives me crazy!! But I don’t tell him about it because he would feel I am just lecturing him in my teacher mode! At the very least, he’d be embarrassed and since I only see his writing in emails, I’m letting it slide. There is one common exception to this rule which confuses a lot of people: its and it’s. “Its” is the possessive. (Its paws, its timing, etc.) “It’s” is a contraction of “it is.” If it doesn’t make sense to substitute “it is” where you’ve written “it’s” in a sentence, then correct it by removing the apostrophe.

Imagination IN and impracticality and logic aside, if you could pick one animal to have as an exotic pet based solely on how cute and adorable it is, what would it be?

A genet. I had never heard of this species until I went on a safari trip in Tanzania, and at one of the lodges, the owners had genets (they left food out for them so the genets would hang around) who would crawl out onto the rafters and stare at the people below. They look like cats, which is probably why I like them so much, but they are not cats. However, they are so CUTE!!

A genet looks down on diners at Ndutu Safari Lodge.

Do you have any siblings?  If so, where do you rank in birth order?  And do you think either of these facts contributed to the person you became?

I am the youngest of 5. I have three older sisters and one older brother. I’m sure it contributed to the person I became, because I tended to get away with stuff more often than the others. And I was the rebel, or “black sheep” of the family, so I think I made my mother rethink all of her child-rearing methods that she had developed raising four other children before me. Letting me excuse myself from dinner because “we eat so late” and I wanted to watch a TV show during that time. (Not sitting with the family during dinner was always verboten!) And letting the cat stay with me in bed instead of making him sleep in the garage. Things like that, I was able to get away with. Still, I fought a lot with my mother, but not my dad – he was always calm and hated conflict. Then my siblings, one by one, went away to school, and I ended up with only my brother, or alone, living at home with my parents. I think that had an effect also. I loved one of my sisters the most, and always wanted to stay up until she got home from school so I could see her right away. It was hard when she went away, because she served as a buffer between my brother and me. My brother teased me mercilessly, and I wanted that sister at home to comfort me, to distract me with songs or games.

We all have things that make us happy, but what makes you deliriously, giddily, tail wagging-ly happy?

I wish it were my grandchildren, but I don’t have any. It is my cat that makes me the most happy, although I wouldn’t say “giddy” – I love to watch her antics, to play with her, to hear her purr when I stroke her. Speaking of wagging, did you know that cats wag their tails? People associate wagging with dogs, but my cat does wag her tail by flipping it back and forth when she is content. It’s almost an unconscious gesture, because if I pet her when she is almost asleep, her tail starts flipping.

Who could resist a face like this? This is my adorable fur baby Hazel.

If you had an alter ego, who or what would it be?  Describe some fun or interesting things about them!

I don’t know if my alter ego would be male or female. I guess I would want her/him to have the skills and personality characteristics that are the opposite of mine. My alter ego would be confident, organized, and a risk-taker. (S)he would do things I would never do, such as ziplining, hang gliding, going on archaeological digs, and white water rafting. (S)he would be athletic and agile (unlike me) and be an excellent photographer. (S)he’d have a blog, far more exciting than mine, about traveling all over the world. At home, (s)he would have an awesome job: graphic designing, travel consultant, linguist or anthropologist, famous novelist or painter, architect designing eco-friendly buildings. (S)he would get involved in environmental projects that would really make a difference in preserving species from extinction or mitigating the effects of climate change.

I guess my “alter ego” would be damn near perfect!! 🙂 😀

What are some hopes or accomplishments you’d like to see happen in 2022?
My number one priority is for the federal government to really get serious about mitigating climate change, and that the population in general become more aware so they can pollute less and love our planet more! I have many other hopes, but I’m afraid they are just pipe dreams: Trump and his cronies get convicted for corruption, lying under oath, and deception of the public. Everyone gets vaccinated against Covid-19 so no new variants have a chance to take hold and wreak havoc. And a personal accomplishment would be for me to waste less time, so that I have time for all the things I “don’t have time” to do! And that the exciting trips I have booked for this year don’t get cancelled!!

If: It’s Hypothetical (SoCS)

If is a preposition at the beginning of a clause supposing something. In many European languages, “if” requires a verb in the subjunctive tense, because it is speculation about something that hasn’t happened (yet) or an alternative or hypothetical scenario. In English, the subjunctive would be thus: If I were...

But nowadays, most people say “If I was” so the subjunctive is falling into disuse. But it is very much alive in the Romance or Latin languages as well as many others. Learning what comes after “if” in Spanish means I have to think of how to conjugate the verb that follows. After a while, it becomes a habit: “Si quisieras” (if you want…) sounds right and I feel proud of myself for remembering to use the subjunctive! I was brought up in a highly literate family, my parents requiring us to speak properly – we would get corrected if, for example, we said “Me and Joe are going to the concert.” Commonplace nowadays, but not right. It sounds sloppy, ignorant. An “if” clause, however, would perhaps not sound so dissonant, because it has become acceptable not to use “were” as a subjunctive verb.

Also, most verbs in English don’t have a different form for an if clause: “If I wanted” is the same form of “want” as would be used for past tense in any context. I would wager that most people who read this may not even know what I am talking about! (Subjunctive? What is that?) If you study French, or Portuguese, or Italian, for more than one college semester, you will definitely have to learn it!

“If I were hoping to go on a cruise” is actually correct, but often now you will utter “If I was hoping to go on a cruise.” It still sounds dissonant to me, but it doesn’t bother me because I don’t use the subjunctive as often as I used to. Sometimes I forget all about it. I guess English speakers think IF is enough to signal a hypothetical event. Eventually it will be so rare that saying “if I were” will sound strange.

As for going on a cruise…I’m ready to go! No ifs, ands or buts about it!

(My attempt at stream of conscience writing this week for the SoCS challenge.)


Monday Peeve

Paula at Light Motifs II has a weekly forum for people to let off steam!! It’s the Monday Peeve!

monday peeve kitty cat

Paula was talking about unreliable narrators in novels and it made me think about the book I just finished, which I really liked, called Homelands by Alfredo Corchado. The book is non-fiction, a memoir about binationality and immigration. Being an immigrant from Mexico, like three other friends, pulls him in different directions. Is he American or Mexican? Anyway, this isn’t a book review so I will get to the point!

He often injects conversations into the narrative. Although he starts a new paragraph, he DOESN’T USE QUOTATION MARKS! So it gets confusing when you are not quite sure if the person is speaking or not. He doesn’t make a distinction, except to start a new paragraph. Further confusing the issue, he will refer to the person who’s speaking only as he or she, and because he often goes on tangents, it’s not clear who “he” or “she” is. The use of pronouns isn’t enough when you are reading a tangent about something that happened in the past, with no real break between that and the “present-day” narrative.

Relatively minor, but it’s only a peeve after all! I will give my rating on Goodreads as I do with all my books, but he loses a star for this lack of quotation marks and the resulting confusion!

I do recommend the book, however, for readers who want to know what it’s like to be an immigrant, especially from Mexico, from the inside – that is, the immigrant him/herself, not a narrative of someone looking at it from the outside.