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Dear John,

6 Jun

There’s no easy way to say this.  Otorhinolaryngologist?  OtorhinolarynGOLogist?  I’m not sure.

It should come as no surprise to you that you’re being dumped.  I’ve been alluding to it all over the internet.  Haven’t you been reading my cagey, elusive Facebook statuses?  They were classics.   “Sometimes I just wish …”?  Gold.  “I wish you could feel how I feel … because then you’d feel bad …”  Right to the point.  “That moment when you’ve ended your graduate school career and so are no longer technically allowed to write a university-sponsored blog?”  Well, that one was a little more clear.

But I’ve been dropping hints that this relationship is over.  Because if you thought that that one status –“He’s the reason for the teardrops on my guitar … heart symbol” — was just a friendly reminder about the erosive effects of water on polished maple, then you were WRONG, but should maybe consider a career in woodworking, because we could really use people like you.

So there’s no easy way to say this: Hepaticocholangiocholecystenterostom–oh, I already made a joke like that?  That’s my bad.  That’s on me.

This is the last OFFICIAL post of Grammarsaurus Rex.  Some of you may not know this, but this blog has been graciously sponsored by the University of Cincinnati.  I have recently ended my glorious career as a graduate student there, and as such, will no longer be writing for them.

The next phase in the UC grammar blog project will continue at english1001.weebly.com under brand new authorship and ownership.  I know nothing about this blog, except that I am certain it will be wonderful, as the author sent me a nice email and that made me feel good.  I am also unsure what a weebly is, though I have to assume that it is something like an epileptic cousin of a Furby.

At some point, I will likely transition this blog to a new domain.  It may focus on grammar; it may not.  We’ll see.  But I’ll notify you when and if that time comes.  But for now, I’m taking some time to finally get to know the real me.  Whoops, sorry: that was a typo.  I meant get to know the real Mii.  I’m going to spend a lot of time playing video games.

So this is where we end things.  You know how it goes.  All six of the friends drop their keys on the dining room table and they head down to Central Perk.  The gang is put on trial for being horrible people.  Hawkeye spies the “goodbye” message left by B.J.  Dukie’s descent is juxtaposed with Bubble’s ascent and we all weep for Bodymore, Murderland.  The island was … purgatory?

Also, my identical twin would like to point out that “it’s not you; it’s me.”  But this is less of a commentary on this psedu-breakup note and more of a thing she said looking at an old photograph.


Grammarsaurus Rex

This post is not to be confused with a current “Saved as Draft” posted entitled “Dear Don Jon previews … thank you.”



The whether outside is frightful.

7 Oct

I once thought that nothing could get in between me and my love of autumn, but darn it all, they’ve done it again: teenage girls and their subsequent access to the Internet have ruined another thing I love.

First, they took YOLO (for those not in the know, this stands for “you only live once”) and they now say it before they do stupid things.  That’s fine.  I was okay letting YOLO go, because once I started hanging out with a bunch of reincarnationists, it turned into a whole thing.  You know, we’d be doing something crazy like sky diving, and when I jumped out of the plane, I’d scream, “YOLO!” and then they would jump out after me yelling, “I’m coming back as a bear!”  So more power to you, teenagers.  Take YOLO; you can have it.  Because you’re right: you do only live once.  And like you, whenever I am faced with the reality of my own mortality, I realize that if I found a pair of glasses with chunky black frames, I could totally take a picture of myself and caption it as “nerd lol.”

They also ruin music.  Let’s not forget that before all of this “I listened to this band before they were cool and now that people like them and this band I’ve revered for years is actually receiving the airplay and critical play they deserve, they’re totally ruined” hipster nonsense, teenage girls getting a hold of good music really DID ruin it for the rest of us.  When a band you’ve worshipped for years becomes, “Omg I totally love them, they’re from that episode of Grey’s, right?” or “I love Radiohead.  That’s the name of that movie where the guy holds that big stereo up outside some girl’s house, right?  I heard that movie was made in the 1940s,” it can be a little deflating.

But now they’ve really done it.  Now they’ve ruined fall.  Fall used to be my perfect season, the season where everything was beautiful and right, and where we all just kind of understood that the weather was perfect and everything was happy and darn it all, but we were going to go apple picking.

These teenage girls like fall, too, and that’s their prerogative.  But instead of quietly enjoying it like the rest of us, they’ve taken to social media sites like mad.  If I see one more Bieber-loving snot reeking of Ax and eau de Pro-Active post one more picture of a tree overlaid with white text that says stuff like “i cant wait for fall & campfires & s’mores & sweatshirt weather” and some such nonsense with all their friends commenting with hearts they made on their keyboard, I’m going to Hannah their Montanas all the way to next Christmas.

All that about weather being said, today’s post is about whether.  And if.  And what the difference between them is.

These transitions are getting more and more abrupt.

Whether and if are not interchangeable words.  The basic difference for usage is this:

  • If should be used if the sentence is conditional.
  • Whether should be used to show two or more alternatives.

Here are some examples:

Knock once if you are a friend, knock twice if you are a foe, knock eighty-eight times if you have OCD and your family will die if you don’t.

In this sentence, every time “if” is used, it represents a condition.  Under the condition that you are a friend, you knock once.  Under the condition that you are a foe, you knock twice.  And so on.

Now, let’s try a “whether” sentence.

Because my weather app on my phone was broken, I didn’t know whether it was sunny or stormy outside.

In this sentence, there are two or more alternatives (in this case, sunny or stormy), so whether is used, and quite cleverly, I might add, because of the subject matter.  If would not be correct in this sentence because it is not conditional.

I’ll give you an example of how choosing if instead of whether (or vice-versa) could confuse the meaning of the sentence.

I didn’t know whether you would play the trumpet or the cornet.

I didn’t know if you would play the trumpet or the cornet.

In the first sentence, the use of whether indicates options: you’re definitely going to play something, but are you going to play the trumpet or the cornet?  In the second sentence, we have a condition: I don’t know if you’re going to play ANYTHING at all.  I may have offered you the trumpet and the cornet and choices, but we still don’t know IF that is going to happen.

So you work on correctly using whether and if, and I’ll work on all of this rage I have against teenage girls and their Internet affair with fall.  After all, I do need to remember this: one day, they will be adults.  Productive members of society.  They will no longer be teenagers posting ridiculous fall memes all over the Internet.

They will be posting pictures of their sandwiches.

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