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The Importance of Correct Punctuation

Look at the difference in meaning in the two letters

Dear John,
I want a man who knows what love is all about. You are generous, kind, thoughtful. People who are not like you admit to being useless and inferior. You have ruined me for other men. I yearn for you. I have no feelings whatsoever when we're apart. I can be forever happy—will you let me be yours?

Dear John,
I want a man who knows what love is. All about you are generous, kind, thoughtful people, who are not like you. Admit to being useless and inferior. You have ruined me. For other men, I yearn. For you, I have no feelings whatsoever. When we're apart, I can be forever happy. Will you let me be?

How to Speak Southern

By Steve Mitchell and Sam C. Rawls (Scrawls), plus other sources

AH: The thing you see with, and the personal pronoun used denoting individuality. “Ah think Ah've got somethin' in mah ah.”

ALL: (noun) A petroleum-based lubricant. Usage: “I sure hope my brother from Jawjuh puts all in my pickup truck.”

AST: To interrogate or inquire, as when a revenue agent seeks information about illegal moonshine stills. “Don't ast me so many question. I makes me mad.”

ATTAIR: Contraction used to indicate the specific item desired. “Pass me attair gravy, please”

AWL: (noun) An amber fluid used to lubricate engines. “Ah like attair car, but it sure does take a lot of awl.”

BAHS: (noun) A supervisor. Usage: “If you don't stop reading these Southern words and git back to work, your bahs is gonna far you!”

BARD: (verb) Past tense of the verb “to borrow.” Usage: “My brother bard my pickup truck.”

BAWL: What water does at 212 degrees Fahrenheit. “That gal cain't even bawl water without burnin' it.”

BLEEVE: Expression of intent or faith. “Ah bleeve we ought to go to church this Sunday.”

CENT: Plural of cent. “You paid five dollars for that necktie? Ah wouldn't give fiddy cent for it.”

CO-COLA: The soft drink that started in Atlanta and conquered the world. “Ah hear they even sell Co-cola in Russia.”

CYST: To render aid. “Can Ah cyst you with those packages, ma'am.”

DID (adjective) Not alive. Usage: “He's did, Jim.”

EAR: (noun) A colorless, odorless gas (unless you are in LA). Usage: “He can't breathe… give 'em some ear!”

EVERWHICHWAYS: To be scattered in all directions. “You should have been there when the train hit attair chicken truck. Them chickens flew everwhichways.”

FAR: A state of combustion that produces heat and light. “Ah reckon it's about time to put out the far and call in the dawgs.”

FLARES: (noun) The colorful, sweet-smelling part of a plant. “If yo wife's mad at ya, it's smart to take her some flares.”

FARN: (adjective) Not local. Usage: “I cudn't unnerstand a wurd he sed… must be from some farn country.”

GOOD OLE BOY: Any Southern male between age 16 and 60 who has an amiable disposition and is fond of boon companions, strong drink, hound dawgs, fishin', huntin', and good lookin' women, but not necessarily in that order. “Bubba's a good ole boy.”

GRIYUTS: (noun) What no Southern breakfast would be without – grits. “Ah like griyuts with butter and sawt on 'em, but Ah purely love 'em with red-eye gravy.”

GUMMIT: (noun) An often-closed bureaucratic institution. Usage: “Great… ANOTHER gummit shutdown!”

HAZE: (contraction) Usage: “Is Bubba smart?” “Nah… haze ignert.”

HEAVY DEW: (phrase) A request for action. Usage: “Kin I heavy dew me a favor?”

HEP: To aid or benefit. “Ah can't hep it if Ah'm still in love with you.”

HOD: (adverb) Not easy. Usage: “A broken hot is hod to fix.”

HOT: (noun) A blood-pumping organ.

IDINIT: Term employed by genteel Southerners to avoid saying “ain't”. “Mighty hot today, idinit?”

IGNERT: (adjective) Not smart. See “Auburn Alumni.” Usage: “Them boys sure are ignert!”

JAWJUH: (proper noun) A highly flammable state just north of Florida. Usage: “My brother from Jawjah bard my pickup truck.”

JEW: Did you. “Jew want to buy attair comic book, son, or just stand there and read it here?”

JU-HERE: (question) Usage: “Ju-here that former Dallas Cowboys' coach Jimmy Johnson recently toured the University of Alabama?”

KUMPNY: (noun) Guests. “Be home on time. We's havin' kumpny for supper.”

LAW: (noun) Police, or as Southerners pronounce it, PO-leece. “We better get outta here. That bartender's done called the law.”

LIKKER: (noun) Whiskey; either the amber kind bought in stores or the homemade white kind that federal authorities frown upon. “Does he drink? Listen, he spills more likker than most people drink.”

LOT: (adjective) Luminescent. Usage: “I dream of Jeannie in the lot-brown hair.”

MASH: To press, as in the case of an elevator button. “Want me to mash yo floor for you, Ma'am?”

MUCHABLIGE: Thank you. “Muchablige for the lift, mister.”

MUNTS: (noun) A calendar division. Usage: “My brother from Jawjuh bard my pickup truck, and I ain't herd from him in munts.”

NAWTHUN: (proper adjective) Anything that is not Southern. “He is a classic product of the superior Nawthun educational system.“ (sarcasm)

OVAIR: In that direction. “Where's yo paw, son?” “He's ovair, suh.”

PHRAISIN: (adjective) Very cold. “Shut that door. It's phraisin in here.”

PLUM: (adverb) Completely. “Ah'm plum wore out.”

RANCH: (noun) A tool. Usage: “I think I left my ranch in the back of that pickup truck my brother from Jawjuh bard a few munts ago.”

RATS: (noun) Entitled power or privilege. Usage: “We Southerners are willing to fight for our rats.” (Southerners have very friendly rats.)

RETARD: (verb) To stop working. Usage: “My granpaw retard at age 65.”

RETCH: To grasp for. “The right fielder retch over into the stands and caught the ball.”

SAAR: (adjective) The opposite of sweet. “These pickles sure are saar.”

SEED: (verb) Past tense of see. “I ain't seed mah brother from Jawjuh in munts.”

SHOVELAY: A GM car. “Nobody could drive a Shovelay like Junior Johnson.”

SINNER: Exact middle of. “Have you been to the new shoppin' sinner.”

SQUARSH: (noun) A vegetable. Usage: “Warsh that squarsh, Bubba… you don't know where its been!” (also verb: to flatten)

SUGAR: (noun) A kiss. “Come here and give me some sugar.”

TAR: (noun) A rubber wheel. Usage: “I hope that brother of mine from Jawjuh don't git a flat tar in my pickup truck.”

TARRED: (adjective) Fatigued. “Ah'm too tarred to go bowlin' tonight.”

TAR ARNS: (compound noun) A tool employed in changing wheels. “You cain't change a tar without a tar arn.”

TIRE: (noun) A tall monument. Usage: “Lord willing and the creeks don't rise, I sure do hope to see that Eifel Tire in Paris sometime.”

UHMURKIN: (proper adjective) Someone who lives in the United States of Uhmurka. “Thomas Jefferson was a great Uhmurkin.”

WAR: (noun) Metal strands attached to posts to enclose domestic animals. “Be careful and don't get stuck on that bob war.”

WARSH: (verb) To clean. “Ah hope my brother in Jawjuh remembers to warsh my pickup truck.”

WHUP (verb) To beat or to strike. “OOOEEE!!! Yer mama's gonna whup you fer sayin' a cuss word.”

ZAT: (contraction) Is that. “Zat yo dawg?”

Why English is so Difficult

We'll begin with a box, and the plural is boxes;
But the plural of ox became oxen not oxes.
One fowl is a goose, but two are called geese,
Yet the plural of moose should never be meese.

You may find a lone mouse or a nest full of mice;
Yet the plural of house is houses, not hice.
If the plural of man is always called men,
Why shouldn't the plural of pan be called pen?

If I spoke of my foot and show you my feet,
And I give you a boot, would a pair be called beet?
If one is a tooth and a whole set are teeth,
Why shouldn't the plural of booth be called beeth?

Then one may be that, and three would be those,
Yet hat in the plural would never be hose,
And the plural of cat is cats, not cose.

We speak of a brother and also of brethren,
But though we say mother we never say methren.
Then the masculine pronouns are he, his and him,
But imagine the feminine, she, shis and shim.

Which which?

The bandage was wound around the wound.

The farm was used to produce produce.

The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.

We must polish the Polish furniture.

He could lead if he would get the lead out.

The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.

Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present.

At the Army base, a bass was painted on the head of a bass drum.

When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.

I did not object to the object.

The insurance was invalid for the invalid.

There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.

They were too close to the door to close it.

The buck does funny things when the does are present.

A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.

To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.

The wind was too strong to wind the sail.

After a number of Novocain injections, my jaw got number.

Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear.

I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.

How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?

I spent last evening evening out a pile of dirt.

Points to Ponder

Quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square, and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.

Why is it that writers write, but…
…fingers don't fing,
…grocers don't groce and
…hammers don't ham?

Doesn't it seem crazy that you can make amends, but not one amend?

If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it?

If teachers taught, why didn't preachers praught?

If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat?

In what language do people…
…recite at a play and play at a recital?
…ship by truck and send cargo by ship?
…have noses that run and feet that smell?

How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites?

You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which…
…your house can burn up as it burns down.
…you fill in a form by filling it out.
…an alarm goes off by going on.

If Dad is Pop, how come Mom isn't Mop?

Copyright © 2005-2021 William R. Penning. All rights reserved.