A Grammatically Correct Grudge: Arguing with an English Teacher

Oh there’s no place like home for the holidays, except when your charming and elegantly-behaved guidedog decides that regurgitating his breakfast on a brand-new carpet is a good way to impress your parents with his impressive houseguest manners. (When I have children, I sincerely hope God decides to take pity on me and give me the colic-free model, because I think I’ve done my time, and then some).

Needless to say, Dad was not amused, and I felt somewhat unnecessarily guilty. I say somewhat unnecessarily, for while dogs are no more capable of controlling their gag reflex than humans, he’s still my dog and my responsibility. (Not that I can control his gag reflex any more than I can control my own, but I’ve been genetically programmed for guilt, like all good Catholics). After I’d finished apologizing profusely, my father insisted, “I’m angry, but I’m not angry with you.”
“That’s right, you’re not angry *with* me,” I thought as I walked away from the situation in an attempt to let it diffuse before I said something I’d regret for eternity. “The use of that particular preposition implies that you and I are angry together. I am not angry, therefore you cannot be angry with me. You are angry, and that anger is directed at me, or at the situation in which my dog and I have been implicated. In sum: you are angry at me, not with me.”

Count on an English teacher to demand that any grudge held against her be grammatically correct.


  1. LWSpotts said

    Heh! I’m usually the Grammar Nazi in my circle, so I totally appreciate this post.

    • poetprodigy7 said

      It’s such a burden being a guardian of our language. sigh.

      • guate6 said

        I guess someone has to guard the language, suck as it might.

      • poetprodigy7 said

        In truth, it would suck much less if people would speak it properly. As Henry Higgins rightly asks, “Why can’t the English teach their children how to speak?”

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