Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Lowest Common Denominator of Language

Honoring, for a moment, the fact that most of America has reduced their daily use of language to the lowest common denominator of English that could be understood by the stars and viewers of today's television shows, such as America's Got Talent, Nanny 911, Reno 911, and Grey's Anatomy ( seriously!), I am going to talk about a common slip of speech that occurs when messing with the words don't and doesn't.

The first is a contraction of "do not" and the second is a contraction of "does not." Both are so frequently misused that people, even teachers, are letting this regular misuse slip by.

"I don't know why she don't cut her hair." Said without the contractions: I do not know why she do not cut her hair. Does this sound correct? No.

"I don't know why she doesn't cut her hair." "I do not know why she does not cut her hair."

It suddenly makes perfect sense.

If you get confused, stop using contractions and say out the whole word.
I promise, there will be enough time in the day to do that.

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