Grammar and Grace

The grammar guru in a more mellow moment

I was just about to settle into bed with a good book last night when I heard, “Love. . . . Love?” drifting up from downstairs. “Love” is what my husband and I call each other when there is a problem. Pretty much only when there is a problem.

My mind raced. The kids were in bed. The pets were inside. Maybe he had to tell me about an inconvenient change of plans for the weekend. Or had I missed hearing the phone ring? Did he find out some bad news on Facebook? Maybe there was a family death . . . a natural disaster . . . a terrorist attack? (My brain does this to me frequently.)

I went downstairs with trepidation.

“Love,” he said, “was that link on Facebook to one of your blog posts?”

“Oh no,” I thought, “someone has hacked my link so that it opens up a porn site!”

What I said was, “Yes . . . why?”

“You did my absolute pet peeve. You wrote ‘loose’ instead of ‘lose.’ I couldn’t even finish reading the post.” He held his laptop out to me.

So I dutifully sat down, logged in, and corrected my egregious error.

“Plus,” he said, “it’s not very nice to make fun of all the kids at church.”

“But I turn it around and end up making fun of myself instead.”

“Oh, I guess I didn’t get to that part. I just couldn’t get past ‘loose’ for ‘lose.’ Why do people do that? So many people do that! It drives me crazy.”

But grace abounds. My grammatical sin was forgiven–as soon as I fixed the post. And as of this morning, he is still speaking to me.

In Romans 14:13, Paul tells the church members not to put a stumbling block in people’s way. My husband’s complaint, silly as it might seem, was a good reminder that a grammatical error really can stop people in their tracks.

I know I can’t be perfect. I know that Jesus said, “Father forgive them,” on the cross–so there is certainly grace for my grammatical errors. Still, if I am, as I hope, writing to the glory of God, writing to bring myself and others more alertly into the living presence of Christ, I should do it to the best of my ability.

So thanks to my “love” for keeping me honest.

We all have different grammatical issues. Mine is “every day” vs. “everyday.” A friend of mine can’t stand it when people use “I” instead of “me.” If I ever violate your grammatical sensibilities, please let me know. I will correct it as soon as possible and trust that grace still abounds.

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6 thoughts on “Grammar and Grace

  1. Thank you, Mr. Preacher. That’s one of my particular peeves as well. 🙂 Its/it’s and their/there/they’re are close seconds.

  2. Erm…..you did it again. “can stop someone in their tracks.” Some one is singular. Their tracks is plural. Correctly put I would have written “…can’t stop people in their tracks.” People does that all the time 😀

    • Just testing you, Jim 🙂 Actually, I’ve given up on the s/he, negotiations and just started using “their” as a gender neutral singular pronoun. For better or worse. Though you are right, the plural would work fine in this context.

  3. Why, just two weeks ago I used “eminent” when I meant to write “imminent”. Then today, I read a response to an article where the author used the word “tenant”. I’m certain he meant to say “tenet”. What is this world coming to? Oops, I mean–to what is this world coming? Oh no, prepare for the grammar zombie-pocalypse!

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