Let me insert a big ol' giant disclaimer here--I love good grammar, but I don't get all squirrely about grammar mistakes, either. So I'd better not see ONE comment from y'all saying how you're so worried to leave a comment now because I'm going to go grammar-nazi on you, okay? I just got some of you lurkers to come out of the closet, for Pete's sake!
I had such an interesting response to this post about proper grammar that I thought I should explain to you why good grammar runs so deeply in my blood.
My mom is an English teacher. "Ahhhhh," you're saying, "NOW I get it."
I grew up in a rural Arkansas town where poor grammar is as much a part of life as Friday night football. Combine the two, and you had the weekly chant from the stands, as the refs carefully measured a play, "MOVE THEM CHAINS! MOVE THEM CHAINS!" Not my mother. She instructed my brother and me that our family chants, "MOVE THOSE CHAINS! MOVE THOSE CHAINS!" We stood out a little, but around our house, it was appropriate to fall on your sword for good grammar.
And it rubbed off on me, definitely. The most romantic thing that happened to me in adolescence was a secret admirer who, for a period of a couple of weeks, covered my '78 powder blue Pontiac Grand Prix with flowers overnight, every night, as it sat in our driveway. The first morning, when my mother and I dashed out to investigate, we snagged the note that was tucked under the windshield. It read,
These are for you; I hope you enjoy them.
My mother and I, equally giddy, looked at each other and squealed, "HE USED A SEMI-COLON!"
So it should come as no surprise that my sweet Joseph crawled into my lap sniffling last week. "Mom," he whimpered, "I hurt my toe badly."
"Oh, sweet boy," I said, rubbing his foot. "I'm so proud of you for using an adverb."