March 2nd is Dr. Seuss’s birthday, and while some of his wonderful characters are famously beloved (The Cat in the Hat, The Grinch, Cindy Lou Who, Sam I Am), I relate most to JoJo, the small Who in Horton Hears a Who. Why such an obscure character? JoJo is the voice that breaks through the barrier so the Whos can be heard and saved from being boiled.
As a writer and editor, I often feel like I am constantly yelling against the grammatically incorrect noise that surrounds us. It drives me crazy to see how the phrase “You’ve got” has become mainstream in advertising and magazines. I actually cancelled my subscription to O Magazine because their editorial voice used “you’ve got” and “we’ve got” ALL THE TIME. The phrase is “you have,” not “you have got.”
I cringe every time I see a bus go by with an ad telling me to “Live Fearless” or “Think Different.” Don’t get me started on the mis-use of its/it’s, your/you’re, loose/lose and the inevitable me/I. (Just ask my kids, I am constantly correcting them when they tell me, “Michael and me are going to play.”) I am the mom at Back to School Night who finds misspellings on white boards…and makes the teacher fix it.
As the world evolves into communicating via tweets and texts, I realize the art (yes, it’s an art) of grammar is dying. While my quest can feel like a losing battle, I will continue to fight the good fight to keep the rules of the English language alive. I will make my voice heard, just like JoJo. I will stand on top of my own Eiffelberg Tower, proudly and loudly yelling, “YOPP!” so I can save the world from bad grammar.
Author: Robin Imbesi