Annie’s Mailbox – 10.31.08
Posted: Friday, October 31, 2008 9:48 pm
The Messenger 10.31.08
Dear Annie: My mother-in-law has terrible grammar, and I am about to blow up if I hear one more “ain’t,” “thissun” or “don’t got no.” How can I stop this ignorant misuse of the English language?
It was difficult when my children were little and they would come home from an extended stay with Grandma using those expressions. I had to spend hours correcting them. I also took the opportunity to correct them in Grandma’s presence, but she never got it. My children are now in college and speak with perfect grammar, but Grandma still sounds like an uneducated peasant.
My mother-in-law and I work together and it is becoming increasingly embarrassing. Just the other day I heard her say, “The truck ain’t even worth what I’m payin’ in preemums.” I wanted the floor to open up and take me in.
Is it too much for her to present herself in a classier manner, especially when working with the public? — Embarrassed Daughter-in-Law
Dear Embarrassed: If your children are in college, you’ve been putting up with this for many years and it’s not going to change. Grandma isn’t interested in relearning how to speak. Unless her grammar causes you to lose customers, there is no reason to take it personally. Stop making it your problem and turn a deaf ear.
Dear Annie: I loved your answer to “Larry is Losing,” whose wife is coddling her 30-year-old daughter, enabling her to be irresponsible and immature by doing her laundry, fixing her meals and cleaning up after her dogs. You’re so very right to say this mother is actually being selfish. She is filling her own emotional need to be needed. Parents who truly love their children, no matter how old they are, want them to be self-sufficient, strong and independent.
I only wish you had added one thing to the response: A suggestion to contact Co-Dependents Anonymous. CoDA is one of the many wonderful 12-step programs and has been around for 22 years. CoDa offers local meetings, online resources, good literature and information on how to start a group in any town. Thanks for letting me put in my 11 cents worth (inflation!). — M.R. in Los Angeles
Dear M.R.: Thanks for the recommendation. Readers can contact Co-Dependents Anonymous (codependents.org) at P.O. Box 33577, Phoenix, AZ 85067-3577.
Dear Readers: Today is Halloween. Please dress your trick-or-treaters in flame-retardant costumes that don’t obstruct walking or vision — and parents, walk with your children. Be careful. Have fun.
Dear Annie: I appreciate your including the quote from President Lincoln on Patriot Day. The quote, however, actually reads: “We here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain; that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom; and that this government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
I am not about to speculate as to why “under God” was missing. As a history teacher, however, I challenge my students on the importance of accuracy in quoting primary sources and archaic texts. Thank you for an apt quotation. — D.G. in Ohio
Dear D.G.: It was not our intent to leave out any words. There are often minor editing errors when material is transcribed from one source to another, and although readers don’t generally notice, any time “God” is left out, we hear about it. Our apologies to anyone who was accidentally offended, along with our thanks for the opportunity to reprint the quote in its entirety.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to email@example.com, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611. To find out more about Annie’s Mailbox, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.