The Life of Liz

How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world. ~Anne Frank

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Why does do do what do does?

On Adventures on Grammar:

I've come to be regarded here as something of an expert on everything. Now, being kind of a pompous blowhard, you might think that this is an attitude I encourage. Au contraire! Actually, I've come to suspect that I may be something of an idiot and I wish people would quit asking me stuff or they are going to find out too! For example, the other day I was asked if rice is grown in the States. Um...no? Sure? Japan grows rice. Have we gotten around to annexing anyplace with Japanese-style ricing weather? I'm getting slightly off topic here...

Yesterday, as he was trying to translate a question from English to Spanish, Eli asked me what the word "do" means (as in, "Do you have a flag?"). Think about it a moment. Exactly. It doesn't mean anything. But don't forget to use it! It's really important!

I was a little concerned that I don't know why I use this ubiquitous little word, so I looked it up. It turns out that the word "do," when not serving the function of an actual verb, is used in questions and negations, in conjunction with other verbs (unless that verb is "to be" or "to be able to" or anything in the past perfect tense) as a dummy auxiliary. Riiiiiiiiiight. I still don't know what do does. On the plus side, I DID learn what the word "elide" means - it's a super pretentious way to say "omit." Obviously I immediately added it to my vocabulary.


On Mornings:

I'm a simple girl. When it's 5 in the morning, I am really simple. My husband hasn't quite wrapped his mind around this fact because he wakes up like a normal human, bright-eyed and ready to face the day. I wake up functionally retarded. It like my brain opens my eyes and fires all my muscles, then rolls over and goes back to sleep.

This morning, Eli was running a little behind, so he woke me up and said, "Princess, do me a favor? Make me some breakfast?" No problem baby. I got up.
"What do you want?" I mumbled.
He rattled off a terrifying list of food, some of which required actual cooking! I looked at him blankly. He started to get upset, obviously taking my silence to mean "make your own damn breakfast, buddy," when really I was just desperately trying to remember how to work the stove.
"Ok, just make me some sandwhiches" He offered.
"What kind?"
"You know what kind I like."
"No?"
"If you don't want to help me, just go back to sleep!"
"No?" My brain was working hard to move from Using the Stove to Kinds of Sandwiches and couldn't process other thoughts.

At this point he seemed to occur to him that maybe his jammy-clad wife wasn't mean-spiritedly trying to weasel out of making breakfast so much as I was still asleep. He got out cheese, ham, and mayonnaise, gave me some simple instructions and then went and hopped in the shower. Hopefully he was pleased with the resulting sandwiches. And yes, he did check them over to make sure I hadn't left anything important out, or made a mayonnaise-only sandwich - he's not dumb (they were fine, by the by).

Creative thinking? No. Mechanically following simple commands? You betcha.

5 comments:

Pammy October 20, 2011 at 10:23:00 AM MDT  

Maybe Bonnie (as a normal night person) can suggest ways to switch to being a 5am kinda gal...
Glad you were able to make sandwiches...speaking of sandwiches...I need breakfast!

Sabba and Nanny October 21, 2011 at 10:50:00 AM MDT  

I knew we grew rice, but I learned a whole lot more about rice at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rice, for example, “Rice is the most important grain with regard to human nutrition and caloric intake, providing more than one fifth of the calories consumed worldwide by the human species.” Interestingly, Japan and the U.S. produce about the same amount of rice but are nowhere near the top of the worldwide production stats. The PRC produces 20 times more; India 13 times more; and five other Asian nations as well as Brazil all exceed the production of the U.S. and Japan.

Sabba and Nanny October 21, 2011 at 11:24:00 AM MDT  

As one who also is often considered an expert, I always try to speak authoritatively only on those things I am pretty sure of. I don't always succeed!

By the way, pompous blowhardery (blowhardish pomposity?) can be overcome. I'm trying my hardest!

Sabba and Nanny October 21, 2011 at 11:34:00 AM MDT  

Couple of examples of elision: the old play on words "Juneau the capital of Alaska?" "No, Juneau?" or "Jeet?" (Did you eat?)

Sabba and Nanny October 21, 2011 at 11:57:00 AM MDT  

Good stuff on the word "do," btw. I followed quite a few rabbit trails on the web (maybe I should call them spider trails!?) filling out my understanding of the word. One important function for Eli is the emphatic or intensive use of the word, e.g. I write (simple form), I am writing (progressive form), but I do write (intensive form of the verb).

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A brand new mom trying to navigate the crazy world of mixed families, babies, and working full time. Phew! Just writing that makes me want to lie down.

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