Let’s talk about grammar.
Ha! Now that I’ve scared the children away we can move on to pornography.
Just kidding! I’m a kidder.
Grammarians, some grammarian said, are the unacknowledged legislators of the world. Or, wait. I think that’s what Carl Yastrzemski said about left fielders.
No matter. What’s important is that someone said it at some time. Or perhaps not.
What brings this all up – so to speak – is that for the Nth time in my young life, I have seen an advertisement for “herbed” chicken. I think I speak for all patriotic Americans when I say:
“‘Herb’ is not a verb, dammit! Ergo, ‘herbed’ is not a word. Not in English, it isn’t. Do you hear me, all you copywriting morons out there?”
English is a wonderful language. You can use it to turn nouns into verbs – sometimes – and to turn verbs into nouns – sometimes. You can turn a noun into an adjective – sometimes – and an adjective into a noun – sometimes.
But you can’t do it all the time. You can’t do it just because you want to.
Let me think of an example. Ah, I have one.
HERBED! It’s not a word! Don’t you get it?!?!?
There are other words like that.
“Reference,” for example, is a noun. It is not a verb. If one wishes to “refer” to something, one “refers to” it. One does not “reference” it.
DO YOU UNDERSTAND THAT, ALL YOU SEMILITERATE LAWYERS WHO I HAVE TO READ YOUR STUFF DAY AFTER DAY AFTER DAY?!?!?
“Reference” is not a verb!
It’s a noun.
It may, rarely, be used as an adjective: i.e., reference room.
BUT IT’S NOT A @#$%*&! VERB!
“Impact,” too, is a noun – not a verb. The verb is “affect.”
For instance, if I should hear someone abusing grammar, and whack this person in the head with a ball peen hammer, it would “affect” this person. It would “have an impact” upon him. It would not “impact” him. Because “impact” – let me hear you say it – IS NOT A G.D. VERB!
Here’s another one: money. Money is what is known as a collective noun. A dime is money. All the money in the world is money. Neither two dimes, nor all the money in the world, is “moneys.” MONEYS IS NOT EVEN A WORD!
You have money or you don’t have it. If you have all the money in the world, you have a lot of money. You do not have “moneys.” You just have money! So stop it! Shut up! It’s only money!
Pardon me. We are nearly done.
The English language is my friend and companion. I hate to see it abused, just as I would hate to see someone hurt a child, or kick an unoffending dog. Bad writing can, and has, made me physically ill. Bad grammar can, and has, affected my feeble brain like a blow from a ball peen hammer.
Perhaps I take grammar too seriously. Arguments exist to this day about whether grammar should be prescriptive or descriptive: whether it should tell you how to use English, or merely describe how other, presumably literate, people use it.
After all – the argument goes – who is Someone A, to tell Someone B through Z how to talk, or write?
I shall settle this argument now. I am Someone A. Y’all are someone B through Z. Pick a letter. Any letter you like. Makes no difference which letter you pick. You can even pick A if it makes you happy. The result will be the same.
Herb is not a verb; hence, herbed is not a word.
Reference is not a verb. Nor is impact. And money has no plural form. It is singular and plural all in itself: perfect. Just as grammar should be.
Now let us speak of apostrophes…
Let’s talk about grammar.