If I were an Oscar Meyer wiener…

Pardon me, but I need a moment to rant.

Every day, I have been hearing more and more people saying “was” instead of “were” when they talk in the subjunctive mood. I’m not sure why it, of all things, drive me up a wall, but it does.

When I was working at the ICC (a computer literacy building) for a day, the teacher was having the student write poems. Each poem was written online, on a poem template. Each poem started with the word “If.” The theme of the poems was “becoming a rockstar,” and I kid you not, every single elementary school kid in there started his/her/zir poem “If I was a rockstar…”

It killed me a bit inside, and after class I talked to my professor. (By the way, this happened at my college!) You’d think that at an institution that respects academia would try to propagate intelligence, and correct usage of the English language.

Anyway, I talked to my professor and she said she would talk to the people running the program. I don’t know if she did or not, but all I know is that when I went in to volunteer for the actual program (not just the training part) the teacher didn’t even address the grammar error. In fact, she even had the error in her sample poem. How can we expect kids to learn correct grammar and usage if we aren’t even teaching it to them properly??

I hear this error too in everyday conversation and it drive me nuts. I can barely focus on what someone is saying because I’m so hung up on the glaring error in said person’s subjunctive mood.

I think becoming lackadaisical in our conversation makes it harder for us to adhere to conventions in our writing.

Yes, I know that I make errors sometimes. I human, and everyone is human. But seeing the same mistake so universally, to the point that people question whether am saying it right, makes me kind of frustrated. I also would rather people point out my grammatical misteaks instead of just skimming over them.

Do you have any grammar pet peeves? Do you think that we, as educated people, should make an effort to talk with correct grammar? Or do you consider talking and writing two different domains?



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4 responses to “If I were an Oscar Meyer wiener…

  1. Oh I feel your pain. I get called the grammar nazi by almost all that know me. The were and was issue drives me bananas … I am known to correct people when they speak on that one simply because if I don’t I might slap them instead. I too make errors, but I enjoy being corrected so that I can learn from them.

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