Tag Archives: Grammar Nazi

The Most Superlative

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Hello Everyone, Grammar Nazi here to give you a quick lesson on Superlative Adjectives.  An adjective is a word that describes a noun (person, place or thing) and the superlative form is the most extreme form of the adjective that you can find.  Most superlative adjectives end in -est, if the root word has one syllable or if it is a two syllable word ending in -y.  For example: big – biggest, pretty – prettiest.  With root words of two or more syllables, you add “most” to make the superlative.  For example:  intelligent – most intelligent.  Two major exceptions are the words good – the best, and bad – the worst.  Remember,

Good, Better, Best.  

Never let it rest,

’till your good is better and your better is the best!

Now aren’t you all glad you stayed in school, kids?

I don’t know if anyone has ever described me using superlatives.  And I’m not a competitive person, so I have never actively striven for superlative status.  In order to find a superlative that suits me, I would have to reduce my field of comparison considerably because there will always be someone out there who is better than me.  Records are broken all the time!  The superlative is a slippery fish to hold on to.

So just for the fun of it, I am going to compare myself to other family members.  But I am not the funniest in my family.  That trophy would have to be shared by my Uncle Russell and my sister Aimee.  Both of them can cause my laughter to dissolve into tears when they get wound up.  Neither am I the most educated in my family, that would go to my Dad who is just months away from receiving his doctorate in the ancient Greek manuscripts of the Gospel of John.  Which reminds me that even through I am bilingual, I am also not the most linguistic in the family. My Dad knows ancient Greek and Hebrew, a pretty good chunk of Latin, can hold his own in Spanish, and muddle along a bit in German… but don’t ask him to pass the butter, because he will  probably forget the word in his mother-tongue, English.  (That’s a family joke.)  I am, in my opinion, not the prettiest in my family.  That honor would go to my Mother who is still often confused for my sister when we go shopping together.  She also has the prettiest teeth I’ve ever seen, movies stars pay big money for teeth like hers… and she’s never had braces!  (Why couldn’t I get her genes??)  And finally, I’m not the most athletic nor the most coordinated.  My athlete husband just laughs at my clumsiness.  (Wait!  I might be the clumsiest in my family!)

So even though I will never be the superlative of anything, I compete against myself, in a way, and try to improve what I do have going for me.  I try to become better and better and what I do and who I am as a person.  I am constantly practicing to improve character flaws that I detect.  I am forever working on strengthening my weaknesses.  I fight the good fight and press on for bigger and better things on a personal level and spiritual level.  Though it’s likely that no one will ever describe me using superlatives, I am striving to be the best ME that I can be.  And that’s all anyone can ask of each of us.

“Flee from all sin, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.  Fight the good fight of faith.  Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called…”  1 Timothy 6:11-12

Me Monster

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One of our favorite comedians is Brian Regan.  He does a really funny bit about people that he calls “Me Monsters”.  They are people who talk about themselves all the time… no, they DOMINATE the conversation with stories about themselves.  Being a Me Monster is something that I try hard to avoid in conversations.  That’s why I started a blog, so I have an appropriate place to tell all of you how wonderful I am (that’s a joke, it’s OK to laugh).  But in this clip, Brian Regan tells about a social fantasy he has about being one of the men who has walked on the moon, because those are the guys that have earned the right to top everyone else’s Me Monster stories.

“Why do people need to top other people?  I’ve never understood it and I see it all the time.  Obviously people get something out of it.  At best they wait for your lips to stop moving…[wait for it] Yeah, you, ME!  ME!  you see the difference?!”  Then he goes on to describe his social fantasy, “I wish I was one of the 12 astronauts who have been on our moon.  They must love knowing they can beat anyone’s story… whenever they want.  They can sit back quietly at a dinner party while some other person, some Me Monster is doing his thing and let him go.  Let him run with the line while you be quiet.  (zzzzz, he makes the noise of a fishing line reeling out)  Let him have his moment… yeah, I’m a big traveler… I’ve got a global enterprise… you know, driving on the Autobahn, cause I keep a fleet of sports cars over in Zürich… blah, blah, Me!  Meeee!… Well, I walked on the moon… You know, you mentioned driving on the Autobahn.  That reminded me.  Once I was driving on the Sea of Tranquility… in my Lunar Rover.  And I too was worried about our speed, until I remembered, Wait!  We’re the only ones on the moon!”

Man, I wish I knew this guy in person!

I can’t stand Me Monsters.  You know, a tell-tail sign that you’re dealing with a Me Monster is that he over uses Singular First Person Pronouns (me, myself, and I).  Now hang on for a second while I indulge my Inner Grammar Nazi with a moment of freedom.  I pick up on this when I hear married people speak of shared moments or objects using the singular first person pronouns.  They say things like “my wedding” and “my house” and “my bank account” and “my children” all the while their spouse is sitting in the same room, at the same table and participating in the same conversation!  In my mind, the Me Monster should be using PLURAL first person pronouns:  We, our, ours… They should say  “our wedding” and “our house” and “our children” to be inclusive of their spouse.  But the Me Monster doesn’t understand the subtleties of grammar and what pronouns can communicate.  Pronouns have power.  The Me Monster doesn’t realize that I’ve just zeroed in on his “Tell” like a professional poker player spots an amateur player who’s bluffing.  Uh oh, we’ve got a Me Monster in the room.

You know how I handle a Me Monster?  I undercut him.  He expects me to try to top his story with a better one.  But that’s HIS game.  He plays that game better than anyone in the room.  But he’s a one-note-song.  I know his only move.  He can move UP but he can’t move side to side or down.  That’s why I undercut him.  I bait him with  a story that is so far below his, so ordinary, that he has no where to go with it.  Instead of trying to top him with a story of how much better I am, I tell him how ordinary I am.  It kills the conversation quicker than anything.  I love the nervous laugh he gives at the end of my deliberately unfunny story.  Now where are you going to go with THAT one, Me Monster?  Are you going to try to tell me how much more ordinary you are than me?  You got no where to go.  Check Mate.