I think by now you know that this happens to me all the time. When you spend as much time writing as I do, this duel with words can get distracting. Debilitating even. It’s hard enough to put the right words in some kind of cohesive-enough “right” order so they make sense to other people, never mind now finding yourself second-guessing if the words are even legit.
Well, the other day, this frustrating brain-fart took on a completely new twist. In my language-wranglings, I found myself staring down a word (or words, really) that turned out to be more riddle than senility. My family and I were sitting around the dinner table weighing in on who was going to have seconds of the barbequed corn-on-the-cob. Went ‘round the table: “I am”, “I am”, “I am”. Got to me and I pulled out a favourite linguistic hiccup from one of my daughters when she was wee: “I amn’t.”
As cute as that is, I couldn’t help asking: why isn’t “amn’t” a proper contraction?! I mean, “do not” is “don’t”. “Would not” is “won’t”. Why can’t “am not” be “amn’t”? And if “am not” needs to contract to “I’m not”, why doesn’t “do not” contract to “I’d not” (as it stands, of course, “I’d not” means “I would not”, not “I don’t”. Why????).
I found myself in that weird world where the more I said the incorrect word, the more I wanted it to be the right one.
Any more word-conundrums out there?
Deb: Kay, I guess I’m sensitive to this one because it’s my profession and it doesn’t really exactly totally completely relate to your post, Barb, but why are women called actresses and not actors? We are actors. Not actresses. Are female dentist’s dentrissess? Female doctor’s doctressess? Plummettes? Writerettes? Bus driverettes? Would lawyers be lawyettes? Would accountants be accountable? Would teachers be teacholettes? Would the Prime Minister be the “Not ready for Prime Minister”? The President Presidentette? Astronette, Cleaning Lady ... oh yeah, well that one’s okay.
But don’t call me an actress. I am an Actor, damn it. Don’t call me an actress cause I amn’t!