Grammar writings

Dear Editor:With his "We Have Only Ourselves to Blame," (The Downey Patriot, 6/19/09) Henry Veneracion brings back memories of our late John Adams who enjoyed such observations/discussion. The item prompted me to meet with Henry for lunch to discuss the item. We would meet for lunch. I asked that he reserve a table for both of us, if he arrived at the restaurant before me, and I would do so if I arrived before him. I also asked him to punctuate the following sentence as his share of the lunch bill: The Director said the Chairman is a jackass. (He was free to substitute other titles for Chairman and/or Director.) I generally congratulate Henry for the use of correct grammar in his writings. I rarely find that his grammar could be better or worse. It has never been the best since there is not better, but neither has it been worst since it could not be worse. I will let Henry report on how our lunch goes! Does lunch move? - Harold Tseklenis, Downey

Editor's note: The following is Henry's response: Our lunch went well. Harold caught me off guard, though, with his little punctuation test: I failed to see that the jackass was actually the 'Director', if you were to put commas after 'Director' and 'Chairman', as in "The Director, said the Chairman, is a jackass." Harold was testing my imaginative powers, which the soup at that moment rendered inoperative. He brought up two other items: one, he objected to my use of good and bad to qualify grammar; he prefers correct grammar. I agree: in retrospect, correct and incorrect are the more precise adjectives, although I have it on good authority that there's nothing basically wrong with good and bad. I don't want to belabor this, though, as we might get bogged down in (time-consuming) semantics. Harold and I have had many friendly and interesting discussions over time, and it is in this spirit that I dare answer his question, 'Does lunch move?' after putting me on the spot by 'letting me report on how our lunch goes' (went). I can appreciate how he posed his question thus, but idiom makes the phrase 'how our lunch goes' right, leaving his question out in left field. Besides, I didn't say my grammar was perfect 100 percent of the time. I try. But I goof, like everybody else.

********** Published: June 26, 2009 - Volume 8 - Issue 10