The Lurking ‘Also’

Lurking-Adverb-Also

“It keeps popping up, and I don’t know why it’s there!”

Grammar Smith really didn’t want to start her Monday morning with a paranoid Maven Syntassein.

“Okay, Maven, what’s the problem today?”

“It’s ‘also’! It keeps showing up everywhere. Sure, it’s not like it’s wrong for it to be there, but I just can’t shake the feeling I’m being stalked.”

Grammar turned to her computer, brought up a complaint form, and [also] started filling it in.

“Can you describe the incidents for me?” Grammar took a sip of her morning coffee.

“Well, ‘also’ seems to tag along with ‘and’ far too much for my taste.”

Maven gave three examples:

  • He had dinner, dessert and also a glass of port.
  • She was head of Markitup Corporation, and also she held a degree in ergonomic engineering.
  • The group traveled to Italy, Austria, and also the Czech Republic.

“It does seem to be annoyingly present where there is no need for it, but ‘also’ isn’t doing anything illegal,” Grammar pointed out.

“But those aren’t the only situations! ‘Also’ shows up with ‘not only…but,’ too.”

Grammar typed in the three examples Maven gave her:

  • Not only were the verbs boring, but they were also in the wrong tense.
  • He had not only rushed into the room, but also tracked mud on the Persian rug.
  • It was not only redundant but also irritating.

“Maven, not only is it legal for ‘also’ to be there, it is [also] very difficult with these examples to make a case for stalking.”

Maven glanced nervously around the room, licked her lips, and [also] tightened her grip on her laptop.

“But it’s everywhere!

“Our hands are tied,” Grammar explained, “but I’ll see if our patrol squads can be more visible. Maybe that will keep ‘also’ from showing up so much.”

Maven left, grateful for that little bit of assurance. Grammar didn’t see where it would make much difference.

She finished her now cold coffee and [also] turned the verb tense cases that were more pressing.

Pursuing Prep. Phrase Perps

Prepositional Phrase mug shot

Grammar Smith had had a long day and an even longer night. All she wanted was a nice glass of Chardonnay and to go to bed. But she was still directing the roundup of the Prepositional Phrase Gang going on by the Department of English Language Offenses.

Grammar sighed and rubbed her eyes. The Prepositional Phrases were members of one of those families every community has: for the most part law abiding but with one large branch that can be depended upon to cause trouble.

In most cases, the PPs stirred up disagreement between Subjects and Verbs (which had problems getting along much of the time anyway). Throw PPs between them, and it all turns into a hopeless mess.

She looked at the operations file before her.

A couple of weeks ago at the Hunt and Peck, a Subject and Verb were at the bar, perfectly agreeable, when a Prepositional Phrase got between them and mixed things up. It pretty much spread like wildfire from there.

Grammar flipped through the reports.

The flower [subject] among the weeds {prepositional phrase} were blooming [verb].

Gusts [subj.] of frigid air {pp} chills [v] the nose.

The rays [subj.] of the alien gun {pp} spreads [v] and kills [v] quickly.

Each [subj.] of the criminals {pp} were [v] repeat offenders.

Of course, the longer things went on, the worse they got.  The DELO raids were trying to stop an epidemic.

Grammar was sipping on a cup of mud passing itself off as coffee when Det. Dis Connect radioed in.

“We’re in Tense City, and we’re having a hard time tracking down the ringleaders,” Dis said.

Wally Wordorder, head of the Fugitive Syntax Squad and with his own mug of mud in hand, knew the apartment complex well.

“Check out the Third Person Present Tense area,” he radioed back. “That’s usually where they hang out.”

“Will do!”

By early afternoon, the stream of Prepositional Phrases being charged and processed had slowed to a trickle. Grammar, Dis, and Wally walked into the bright sunshine heading for home and knowing that, in another few months, they would likely have to do it all again.

The Past Form Isn’t Present

lead-led meme

It was mid afternoon as Grammar Smith walked into the Hunt and Peck after an extended shift at the Department of English Language Offenses. She just wanted a quick glass of Chardonnay to unwind before heading home.

The bar was pretty much deserted. Grammar sat down a couple of seats away from Led and Paid, and ordered her drink.

“Hello.”

“Hiya, Lieutenant,” Paid replied.

Led just grunted and stared into his beer.

“Rough night?” Paid asked Grammar.

“Not sure I’d say it was rough, more like complicated. We had to track some subject-verb agreement offenses over at Fustian University. It took way too much time. What about you two? What are you doing here in the middle of the afternoon?”

Led snorted, looked up at Rocky, the bartender, and said, “Again.”

She brought him a shot and a beer.

“Whoa there, Led. Hope you’re not driving anywhere,” Grammar said.

“No, I’m driving him home later,” Paid explained. She didn’t look too happy as she nursed her drink.

“What’s going on?”

“Led’s in a bad way,” Paid said. “Both of us have been pushed out by incorrect verb forms. ‘Payed’ has been butting in more often for me, but Led has it worse. Seems like everyone, including writers who should know better, are using ‘lead’ for the past tense of ‘to lead.’”

“It’s just too heavy!” Led downed the shot and gulped the beer.

“C’mon. How bad could it be?”

Paid shot a quick glance at Led, who had his head cradled in his arms on the bar.

“It’s everywhere, Lieutenant. I’m almost thinking the DELO should get involved. It’s killing Led, literally if he keeps drinking like this.”

Grammar sighed. She never seemed to be able to get away from her work.

“I’ll put it on the department’s investigation list,” she promised sipping the last of her wine and heading for home.