“I Can Help Who’s Next”

Don’t you mean, “I can help the next person”?

Every time I hear it, and that’s everywhere I go, every day, I cringe at the grammar. Yes, I’m a word nerd and I hate when we say things wrong.

Ok, Type A big time and grammar police to boot. I own it. It was easy for me to learn the proper way to speak and write, and it’s the kind of thing that once you know it, you just know it and it becomes part of who you are.

There are many other ways in which people speak incorrectly or put words together that just don’t flow. I hear it and I want to help. I want to say, “Try this: Who’s next?” Simple. Plain. Direct. And grammatically correct.

Or, “I can help the next person in line!”

Or, simply, “Next!”

It’s like the way Michigan folks add a possessive to the end of everything. Example: “I went shopping at Meijers…Krogers….”

It helps when the S is already in the name – i.e. Trader Joe’s. Walgreens.

I could look fondly at my home state and say, no problem, this is our colloquialism and it’s cute and it identifies me as a Michigander. Or I could say, why do we speak this way? Where did we learn it?

I was at a class event recently for my daughter and there were moms sitting there speaking in “ain’ts” and such and I just looked away. It wasn’t for me to fix.

But my kid is in school to learn to become refined and well-spoken, articulate enough to change the world. We can’t do that when we don’t garner respect for our intelligence and comportment.

I’m OK admitting that I’m a word snob. I do believe it matters how we speak and how we come across.

Perspective is reality, you know. Around the world, people speak in many languages – they all know English, even if it’s not their mother tongue, and we arrogantly expect them to.

And when they speak our language, not their own, they emphasize proper grammar and sentence structure and even the way they speak the words is more mellifluous than we native-speakers do it.

It’s a shame to be the clumsy-speaking American chomping away at our words.

So what’s the point? Throw me a bone. Think about it just for a minute. I can help the next person, but I really can’t help who’s next.

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