I never really understood grammar when I was in school. Perhaps it’s because English grammar has so many exceptions. I prefer to think, however, that my hippie teachers who did not teach sentence diagramming to this girl who needs structure to understand something.
I mean, seriously. I had one teacher whose English class consisted of analyzing the lyrics of Simon and Garfunkel songs. Not that I have anything against Simon and Garfunkel. But please, when I’m in 11th grade, I need the classics.
Since then, largely because of my teaching of the English language to non-English speakers, I’ve had to master many elements of grammar. But still every year I seem to run across something I never learned before, such as:
Is it toward or towards?
Further or farther?
I still don’t get the difference between toward or towards, so if someone can enlighten me, please feel free. Further is used when describing text, as in: “She goes on further to say…” whereas farther is used to describe physical distance, as in: “It’s a bit farther to the next stop.”
I like Grammar Girl’s tips. Here’s one in particular about roots of some words from lesser-known languages.
I gave my dad a card for his birthday this past August. On the front it said: “Is it ‘butt-naked’ or ‘buck-naked’?” And inside it said something like: “I’m glad I can always come to you for these things!”
He emailed me a few weeks ago and asked if he missed some update in the English language that eliminated the apostrophe from the word “it’s.” Or perhaps the opposite–that everyone uses the apostrophe, even when trying to use the possessive form of the word, as in: “Please give me some muffin’s. I’m hungry” and also ignorant, but that’s beside the point.
Anyhow, these are the inane things that occupy my mind. My latest pet peeve is the difference between “less” and “fewer.” So if someone incorrectly uses “less” to describe a countable noun, you might just hear me shout “fewer!” from the back of the room, but I’ll try to contain myself.
Rhubarb Sauce / Jam / Jelly
Over the summer, my mom was telling me about how she and her mom would make rhubarb but not into a jam or jelly for bread, but rather as a sauce, like apple sauce.
She said they would just wash and trim the rhubarb, dice it, and then add sugar to create juice. Then they’d cook the rhubarb a little bit and let it soften until it becomes more of a sauce. So that was an interesting tidbit to add to this particular recipe.
This recipe for Rhubarb Cherry Jam, however, is not a sauce but a jam (p. 99). It’s easy–just sugar, rhubarb, cherry pie filling, and cherry jello. Boil the rhubarb, pie filling, and sugar for about 20 minutes, and then at the end add the jello mix. I got black cherry jello (that’s the only cherry flavor I could find).
Here it is boiling away:
The cherry jello gives it a jewel-like ruby red color. Yum! This wonderful recipe comes from Sharon A. Thank you, Sharon!