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I hadn’t been teaching high school English half a year when the phone in my classroom rang.

Another teacher-friend had a question.

“Is ‘brang’ a word?”  he asked.

I gasped.  He couldn’t be serious. “Nope,” I answered. Brang ain’t a word.”

“That’s funny,” he said.  “‘Cause Gus here has me nearly convinced it is.  He said he brang his homework in yesterday.”  He paused.  “How ’bout ‘brung’?”

This was ridiculous.  I laughed aloud.  “Nope.  Tell Gus ‘brung’ ain’t one either.  It’s ‘brought’.”

After eight years of teaching English, though, I get it.

We say the words we hear.  Even if they ain’t the right ones.  Or make no sense.  Or we consciously know better.

Which I’m hoping explains why I told my own mother recently that I’d boughten bananas.

Somehow the non-word rolled right off my tongue.  Which left the two of us to stare at each other like I’d just taken the Lord’s name in vain in front of the church.


It coudn’t be.

Just yesterday my son presented the floor of his room to me.  “I keeped it all clean,” he said. 

Which, I suppose he had.

Then…having thought I’d compromised enough of my grammar teaching in the common classroom, someone on facebook came along with ‘prolly.’


As in, I prolly can’t come over today.  I’s busy.

I don’t know what happened to ‘probably’? 

But what a guy.  I miss him already.

I just know if he don’t come back, I’ll prolly faint away.


5 Responses to “When the English Language Can’t Get No Respect”

  1. Kristine says:

    Hi Jeanne,
    Was craving your writing but have not had enough time to sit and read until now. Thanks again for a fun read that makes me smile 🙂

  2. Jackie M says:

    Hi…I shore did enjoy this here blog….maked me smile!! J

  3. Kim Frey says:

    So even if Joe spells it right, he chooses to pronounce “tissue” phonetically. No sh all ssss. What do you think of that?

    • jeanne says:

      I think if I heard Joe say Tiss–ue, I’d have iss–ues. Especially if he was wearing that black beanie ‘hold-up-the-convenient-store’ hat at the same time. Hee hee.

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