Monday, November 05, 2007

Poor Performance or Plain Incompetence?

These are some actual sentences I produced yesterday.

First, the first thing out of my mouth when my friend picked up the phone:

I should take which direction to the airport?

That shouldn't be a wh-in situ question if I'm not echoing something previously said, and how can I be echoing something previously said if the conversation is just starting? I broke pragmatics with this one.

Second, referring to my worry about going up a hill in the wrong direction:

I'm just scared I'll drive it up the wrong way.

Um, that's a verb plus a prepositional phrase, not a verb-particle. I broke syntax with this one.

Third, and this one is so shockingly against all the rules of English grammar that it needs no context:

What should I drive past a?

A hideous, and egregiously wrong, blend of "What should I drive past?" and "I should drive past a what?" I think I just broke the English language with this one.


ambrosia ananas said...

Those are really great. Thanks. : )

Zillah said...

the english language is broken, and it's entirely your fault.

or my students'.

Mom said...

You can't break the English language, the English language IS you. If you said, it will become the thing to say....or should it be "the say to thing it ."

Mr. Fob said...

I'd say the first two are justified by the fact that English has no official rules of usage that anyone's required to follow, and therefore what mom said, but that third one is just horrendous. No native English speaker would ever say that. Ever.

What planet are you from?

alea said...

I wouldn't worry, English's pretty robust. We are, however, going to have to revoke your native speaker status.

The Joo said...

I think your subconscious makes you slip things like this in because it makes you happy to analyze them. Get around someone else who can't speak English so you can meet your syntax-analysis quota each day :).