Drat — it’s pronounced /ɡrās/

I sent a couple of emails last night. When I woke this morning, I read through those emails as the situation at hand was once again on my mind.
I wrinkled my nose a bit as I read a couple of typos. Drat!


I don’t like it when that happens. A quick impulse was to write and apologize for the typos. Instinct told me to let them know I had sent the emails on my phone, it was late, I was in a hurry, and so on.   However, I quickly thought — not necessary. The focus was not on me and a couple of typos.

Like many things in life–it’s not about me.

My mistakes are just that.  A quick slip of my thumb that really need not be the focus. However, It made me think of the importance of one’s words and the importance of being gracious. Surely the recipients will be gracious and be able to receive  the intended information.  Beyond that, I hope they receive the intent of the message.  In this particular case, I’m not worried about judgement.

In the case of this blog, those particular emails are not the focus.

To my grammar loving friends, please don’t give up on me. Please don’t think I’m abandoning my English major and speaking nonsense. 😉 Bear with me. 

As someone who is intrigued by words, I often notice written mistakes. Truth be told, I commit many mistakes. Sometimes those “mistakes” or break in the rules of grammar  aid in the presentation of the message. Or at least I think they will. Incomplete sentences for example. (See what I did there?) We don’t always speak in complete sentences and sometimes I employ them in writing as it fits the conversational tone. Perhaps this sets some people off and quite frankly, that’s not my mode. It’s not my intent to set people off — at least not often. It’s also not my intent to focus on the errors of others. I’m more concerned about message, yet I know mode is valuable.

I’ve often said, perhaps I’m more a linguist than a grammarian.

What I’m pondering goes way beyond words. Words…form and rules that are designed to influence words are merely the vehicle that made my mind probe to the heart of the emails — the hearts of people.

I’ve started many drafts in the past few months even though I haven’t published any blog entries lately. I wonder what to do with my words and my thoughts. Even now I’m wondering the direction of these thoughts and whether they will be published.The mind still rambles and words are a means of processing.  

This post isn’t meant to stir up debate or opinion on the value of the Oxford comma or the irritations that may be felt when their, they’re, or there are miss used (that one was on purpose.) I am aware of the value of Standard American English, but that is not where my heart is at this morning.

My heart is pondering a specific situation, yes,…but it is just one of many times when I’ve thought, what does grace look like. Grace may not resolve every situation. It may not bring immediate relief. But grace in my response can be a source of strength, comfort, maybe even a lifeline.

A few weeks ago I was at a hospital in support of someone important to me. The day grew in length as we didn’t know which procedure would be employed and waiting is hard. I was walking in the hallways, trying to get my steps in and trying to keep my mind in focus. I made eye contact with a woman who was obviously waiting and we exchanged smiles. She then offered a kind word about something that may seem trivial to some. I was struck by her kindness, the graciousness of her comment. I thanked her and took a few more steps. As I turned to continue my laps, I rerouted to the chair next to her and asked, “can I ask where you are from? Your accent is beautiful!”  She shared another gorgeous smile and made a humorous comment about noticing her accent. In the course of our conversation (which was picked up more than once that day) this precious soul made reference to “mistakes” made in word choice. English is not her first language  I never dwelt on those choices as I loved her sound, I loved the look in her eyes, I quickly fell in love with her story.

Again, word mistakes or grammatical errors are not the point of this post. They are merely a vehicle for my thought process. 

Graciousness led me to a new friend. Grace from a stranger lightened me that day. 

Grace led me to Olga, my sweet friend from the Ukraine. We shared a piece of life’s struggles that day. A message from her on my voicemail this morning offers encouragement that we may share more of life together. Her grace extended opened a door. Grace keeps the door open.

My heart is reminded to not dwell on my mistakes. It is easy to return my thoughts to them and wonder what others think. STOP. Yes, learn from them. Yes, move on. Yes, offer grace to others and receive grace in return.

It’s a crazy time to be alive. I would imagine someone has said this in every time. I cannot solve too many crises that are occurring on the world stage. My sphere of influence is rather small. Political turmoil has many spinning in circles and many spewing unkindnesses beyond their norm. People are hurting.  People are wounded. People are scared. People are people.

We joke about the many nicknames of my youngest. We chose her name for more than one reason. We chose “Meg” as that is what we wanted her to be called. Her name is not Megan or Margaret, both fine names. It is simply, Meg. She has many nicknames and some are funny and clever, in my opinion. However, what amuses us the most is when someone reads her name and asks how it is pronounced. She, being quite witty, has some fun responses.

  • It’s pronounced ME –  the “g” is silent
  • It’s pronounced Kim (one of my favorite responses)
  • It’s pronounced Meguh – with a strong “g”
  • My given name is Megatron

What would it look like to pronounce “drat” a bit differently? What would the words sound like if a change were made. If the focus was less on the error and the grievance and more on the person, maybe “drat” (or let’s face it — we are much harder on ourselves AND on others and classify the error more strongly than that) could sound a bit more gracious.

The choice is there to make. I’m working to change a few rules. I’m not sure Webster will comply, but I’m thinking a few of us could impact many by responding with a little more ɡrās


And now to publish, wondering how many typos I will find after I push the button. 🙂

 

 

 

 

2 thoughts on “Drat — it’s pronounced /ɡrās/

  1. Hi Diane, I always enjoy your messages. Didn’t know english was your major.Our granddaughter -Becky has a masters in english.17 years of school which beats mine… I managed to pass the county 8th grade exam,even missing 63 days out of 180.Still have the aged report card to prove it. On one my report cards the teacher added.  INCLINED to mischief.. Had to be one of my brothers.)))))))  unc Tom

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  2. I didn’t start out as an English major, but that along with German became my path. I’m now trying to muster the nerve to finish the Master’s program I started a few years back.

    It’s always good to hear from you. And I’m thinking there are many stories within the lines of those Hill 44 report cards.

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