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How to Use Proper English to Make Understand You More People

Updated on July 15, 2013
Writing should not be taken literally, just literary. -Me
Writing should not be taken literally, just literary. -Me

Welcome to the Dark Side

Scene one. Open up on pathetic little man scribbling madly away in a weather worn notebook, wearing a helmet on his head carved from a watermelon. Okay, action.

A long, long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, I first learned how to write. This turned out to be a mistake and my English teacher is probably rolling over in his grave right now, which makes me think I shouldn't have buried him while he was still alive. But I continued to write (and to obviously begin sentences with 'but'), and I always try to write something that will make people scream, love, dance, laugh, and throw up, and if I can achieve all of those reactions simultaneously, I'll consider what I wrote to be a success. I like to fantasize that whoever reads this will scream in glee, bounce up and down, and throw lingerie at the computer screen. It saddens me that I won't be here to see it. I wrote this and I'm long gone, but these words remain.

That's a scary thought, isn't it? Makes you think everything you write should be something worth leaving behind. Actually, it makes me think about pizza. I have a one-track mind.

I first learned how to use proper English to make understand me more people by going to the distant planet Naboo, where I sat at the feet of Yoda and listened to his wisdom. I became his pupil (or as some would call it ‘the apple of his eye,’ since the pupil is the apple of one’s eye, even though it’s not an actual apple, or in any way shaped like an apple, or as crunchy and nutritious as an apple, neither would it serve as a tasty treat for horses), and Yoda became my instructor.

In exchange for his wisdom, I would give Yoda foot rubs and bake him muffins. He also taught me martial arts (not to be confused with marital arts, which would be the art of performing a marriage), which he made me use on myself until I got it right. He said proper English is like martial arts. No, what he actually said was, "Like martial arts, proper English is." A careful combination of swift kicks to the head and punches to the solar plexus of a person's subconscious, and, if done correctly, results in total dominance of a reader’s attention.

I learned everything I could from master Yoda, but I eventually went to the Dark Side of proper English, much to his dismay. I opted to use the force of proper English to control the universe, and so can you. And, in time, you can use it to make understand you more people, or even better, you can make understand more people understand you making more sense than more people you understand making you do so. Here are three simple instructions for how to do that, whatever that was.

A hotdog is the pencil of fast food. Mustard is the ink. Your face is the page. Now write a masterpiece.
A hotdog is the pencil of fast food. Mustard is the ink. Your face is the page. Now write a masterpiece.

If you have a point, make it.

Say you have a favorite color. Did you say it? I’ll assume you did. If you have a favorite color, the best way to announce such favoritism, is to just come right out and say ‘blue,’ or whatever color it is that happens to be your favorite. Was it actually blue? I was just guessing. Simply saying your favorite color is blue would be easy for a reader to understand. They will process that information, think to themselves, ‘Blue skies, bluegrass, blue frosting on a cake, yeah, I like blue…’ and at that point they have processed, configured, acknowledged, and accepted your favorite color for what it is, not only to you, but to them, as well.

If, however, you decide to join the Dark Side of informative writing, like me, you can write something like this: ‘I used to peel off wallpaper and chew on it, back when my dog died, even though it was an imaginary dog and I have no idea what its name was, but the dog could fly and I sometimes wished I could fly away on its back and go someplace special, where the streets are made of waffles and it rains syrup, but that’s not going to happen now that I broke my leg in twelve different pieces after dropping it off a balcony yesterday, it being a wooden leg and hard to hold on to when I’ve got my hands stuck in mayonnaise jars, but I did like the taste of that wallpaper, and maybe I only ate it because it was my favorite color. Oh, that’s right, the dog’s name was Blue.’

From that information, we could gather that your favorite color is blue, but that would require some deduction on our part. However, if you wrote all that intending to let everyone know your favorite color, then you may have deluded the point somehow and made such point practically unattainable, so good for you. Do you like all the big words I’m using? I’m not even sure I’m using them correctly, but I think it makes me sound smart. And smart can either mean ‘intelligent’ or ‘impertinent,’ but I’ll let you decide which one it is.

Hey, I just wrote ‘is’ with a period at the end, and that’s the abbreviation for ‘island.’ Did you catch that? Read it like this: but I’ll let you decide which one it island. Yeah, that doesn’t make much sense when you read it like that. Try reading it backwards. Island it one which decide you let I’ll but. Ha-ha. But. That word still makes me laugh. Now try reading it with your eyes closed. Impossible, isn't it?

Where was I, anyway? Oh yes, on your computer screen. I almost forgot. What have we learned so far? Nothing? I should hope so.

They are no more unicorns, because I ate them all. And they all had toothpicks on top of their heads, how convenient.
They are no more unicorns, because I ate them all. And they all had toothpicks on top of their heads, how convenient.

If you have a point, make it.

Yes, I’m aware I’ve already discussed this issue in the above paragraph, so instead of ‘if you have a point, make it,’ let’s call it ‘don’t repeat an issue you’ve already addressed and risk the act of redundancy.’ Hence, the point has already been made, now continue to the next idea…if you’re a Jedi, that is, and not a Sith lord trying to confuse people with your word play.

There’s times when I’m so tired, that I tend to repeat myself, and there’s times when I’m so tired, that I tend to repeat myself. And, of course, there’s times when I’m really tired that I could find myself eating a horse. How does that happen? I don’t know. I just try not to doze off, and then all of a sudden I’m chewing on a horse and wondering what the hell’s going on, and so is the horse. Never mind how the horse got there. I shouldn’t be writing when I’m on the verge of falling asleep, nor should I be operating heavy machinery, or even light machinery, or one of those horse rides you put a quarter in.

Hey, I just wrote ‘in’ with a period at the end, and that’s the abbreviation for ‘inch.’ Never mind. Point is, you need to be fully coherent when writing, if you want to get your point across and not beat said point like a dead horse. Sorry about all the horse abuse comments. I like horses. Maybe that’s why I try to eat them. They’re delicious. Sorry about the eating of horses comment. I only eat cows. Strange how no one’s offended by that. I mean, heaven forbid I eat a horse, huh? You’re so biased.

Here’s a quick question for you. Am I only a man dreaming I’m a butterfly, or a butterfly dreaming I’m a man? Or am I just a pickle? Makes you wonder. I have webbed feet. Maybe I’m part duck. Okay, what have we learned so far? Nothing? Not true. You’ve learned that you’ve learned nothing, and I think that’s something, so yes, you’ve learned something and you didn’t even know it.

Hey, I just wrote ‘it’ with a period at the end, and that’s the abbreviation for…nothing, actually. So I guess that’s the abbreviation for what you’ve learned so far.

Hear no evil, speak no evil, see no evil...write no evil? Nope! That one's allowed!
Hear no evil, speak no evil, see no evil...write no evil? Nope! That one's allowed!

If you have a point, make it.

I decided to go ahead and label all three of these instructions ‘if you have a point, make it,’ for four simple reasons. Reason number one, it makes them easier to remember if they’re all the same. Reason number two, I joined the Dark Side of the force of proper English, so it is in my best interest not to make too much sense. Reason number three, I like pizza, and even though that doesn’t have anything to do with writing, it often influences all of my decisions in life. The fourth and final reason is a reason unknown to me.

If you don’t believe me, then consider this little known fact. Iceland is 39,800 square miles and Greenland is 840,000 square miles, so now we have learned that all miles are square shaped, but are all square miles only a single mile? It’s actually one mile across and one mile wide, so if you ever decided to walk one square mile, you’d end up walking four miles, from one corner of the square to the next. How many square feet are in a square mile? I don’t know, but if you had square feet, then you could walk a square mile much quicker, but have fun finding a pair of shoes that will fit your square feet. You’d have to wear boxes and then you’d just look silly.

So what have we learned so far? Nothing, and that’s the point. It just isn’t a valid point. It’s not even a point, at all, just beside the point, and I sneaked up beside that point and it never even saw me, because I’m like a word Ninja. Welcome to the Dark Side of proper English. But to be a Sith lord in the Galaxy of Writ, you must be well-trained in the arts of proper English, and only then can you use your power for evil and control the universe (insert diabolical laughter). Your words must be like a light saber, your intellect your sword play, and only by mastering proper English can you ever defeat the point of it with pointless banter, and, at the same time, use it to your advantage.

Grammar, punctuation, and spelling are your weapons, and if you master them all, you can use your power to make understand you more people and then brainwash them into believing they are droids and their sole purpose is to serve you. After that, I will teach you how to strangle someone without even touching them, but that is to be used as a last resort, if you cannot brainwash them with your senseless, but correct grammar. And, after that ‘after that,’ I will teach you the Five Finger Punch of Death, which would be five simple words that you can write, but when you write them in the correct order, they will cause your reader’s heart to explode after they read them. I dare not tell you the words here, for fear that I might actually know what I’m talking about.

And so can you. So go out and conquer the universe, be a Sith in Jedi’s clothing, and may the force of proper English be with you. Do you know what I mean? I certainly hope not, because that would defeat the whole purpose of what I’m trying to do here. So what am I trying to do here? Nothing. I wasn’t here and neither were you. See, I’m waving my hand in front of your face, using an old Jedi mind trick.

You are not here. This is not the article that you are looking for…

Fade to black.


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