Maybe it’s just here in the south where folks misuse verb principal parts, but I don’t think so. People on the television from all parts of the country are butchering the English language, especially where past and past participle forms of some verbs are concerned. Court shows are programs where the most incorrect forms are uttered. Defendants say, “The car was tooken from my driveway.” Plaintiffs growl, “He done it on purpose.”

            I feel sure that most, if not all, have been taught in school the correct forms of verbs. Most can remember the long list of verbs which they committed to memory for tests. Evidently, too many tipped their heads and allowed that list to pour from their ears as soon as tests on them were taken.

            At any rate, it would be wonderful if everyone would re-learn the present, past, and past participle (the form used with has or have). If nothing else, the correct usage would prevent my blood pressure from spiking.


PRESENT                 PAST                          PAST PARTICIPLE

GO                              WENT                         GONE

We have GONE (not went) to Florida for vacation.

DO                              DID                             DONE

He DID (not done) his homework before supper.

SEE                             SAW                           SEEN

Last night I SAW (not seen) you at the movie theater.

RUN                           RAN                           RUN

The girls have RUN (not ran) the concession stand for the baseball league.

TAKE             TOOK                         TAKEN

The police officer has TAKEN (not took) statements from both drivers in the wreck.

            Above are just a few of the misused verbs. If anyone wants to know more of them, he or she only needs to Google misused irregular verbs to find a complete list of them.  (

Let’s hope that folks will spend some time learning these forms so they don’t sound illiterate. Let’s also hope they encourage their children to learn them the first time around.


            As I suffer from another herniated disk and wait for it to again cause so much pain that surgery is the only remedy, thoughts of what I used to be able to do creep up.

NO! This isn't a picture of me!
            For one, I used to be able to hoola-hoop. It took some practice after our parents bought those plastic circles, but eventually I could keep the thing circling my too large stomach for a sustained period of time. After more practice, I could keep it going around my knees. What I wonder fifty years later is why didn’t the pounds melt away as I used the hoola-hoop? These days, an attempt to make the hoop make more than one revolution would end up with my lying on the bed for days and writhing in pain.

            Once upon a time I rode a bicycle with ease. Daddy and Mother got our first bikes when we were seven or eight. Waiting for warm weather to arrive, we’d ride the things in tight circles in our unfinished basement. Dodging the metal support posts was difficult, but both Jim and I became good riders.

            Those bikes were stripped down models. They were prized possessions, but they were nothing more than basic bikes. That meant the only speeds available were the ones we could supply with our legs. Jim and I rode those bike all over the community and over the ridge to Karns. On a couple of occasions, we traveled to Hardin Valley, where Bill Jones lived, and then we wound through roads until we arrived at a place at which we could see the lake. I’m not sure which one it was, but by the time we rode back home, I’d had my fill of biking. Oh, by the way, we never wore a helmet. Sure, we had some wrecks and suffered scraped knees and bruised egos, but we never cracked our heads.

            I’ve tried to ride a bike in the recent past. One, I don’t have the stamina to stay on the thing. Two, my back aches like crazy from sitting in a hunched over position. Three, those small seat lead to chafing and other more serious pains. So, I gave up on the idea of becoming a geriatric cyclist.

            One Christmas, Jim and I received skateboards. Yes, even back then they were available. However, the entire thing consisted of a painted board with a logo and four metal wheels similar to the ones on outdoor skates. We practiced on them until riding down the hill on the subdivision road beside our house was no big deal. Even as we sped down the road, making a right turn onto the second street was an easy move. The only danger came when the board made contact with a rock or stick. Those obstructions stopped the wheel, but not the rider. Plenty of times I left the board and ran down the hill or went flying forward until I splatted on the pavement.

            I’m smart enough to know not to try riding one these days. I could never keep my balance, and if I fell off the thing, the possibility that something might brake, sprain, or rupture is possible.

            These days, I am thankful if I can walk to the mailbox without having to stop while the pain in my back and leg subsides. Yep, I used to be able to do physical things with little worry about hurting. These days, I’d be happy to work in the yard and play golf without suffering. What happened? I suppose it’s another example of aging kicking  a guy’s butt. Still, it beats the alternative, so excuse my whine; I’ll try ache in silence.

The Most Overused Word in the English Language


According to Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary the word “get” means “to gain possession of” or to seek out and obtain. Perhaps it is the most overused word in the English language, and too often, “get” and its forms are incorrectly used.

For example, when a person is ill with the sniffles and coughing, he will say,

“I got a cold.”

According to the definition of the word, the individual is declaring that he actively sought out and obtained the cold. Maybe he sat outside nude in the cold weather until his immune system was comprised enough so that the germ infected him. Maybe he visited a doctor’s waiting room and sat in the presence of sick folks until he contracted the illness.

Another example is this:

“I got an F in English.”

Did the individual set up a plan whereby he could fail tests, not complete homework, and not pay attention to the instructions from the teacher?

The solution to overuse of “get” and its forms is to either drop it or reword the sentence.


Wrong:  I got a cold.

Correct: I have a cold.

Wrong: I got an F in English.

Correct: I made an F in English.

The correction is simple and only takes just a little thinking of to better write a sentence.

BY THE WAY, the correct forms of the verb get are get, got, (has or have) gotten. To say, “I have got a solution for every problem” is WRONG!!!!!! The correct usage is “I have GOTTEN a solution for every problem.”

Remember, the most overused words in the English language is “get” and its forms. Avoid using them in your writing so that your ideas are more strongly presented.

They Eat Their Young

            Did anyone else take time to read the front page of the Knoxville News Sentinel the other day? The top story detailed how some GOP groups were criticizing Governor Haslam for what they believe were a multitude of sins. The whole story left me irritated and flabbergasted.

            The brouhaha began when Stewart County Republican Party Chairman and seventh grade teacher Kyle Mallory put together a list of the governor’s transgressions. Mallory describes himself as one of 10-12 Republican “activist” (usually meaning extremist),  and he’s on a crusade to have other county Republican organizations, as well as the State Executive Committee, condemn the state’s leader for those so-called “sins.”

            One complaint is that the governor hasn’t cleaned house after his election. To the contrary, he’s kept 85% of former Bredesen’s appointees to executive services. Mallory wants them ousted; he wants a purging of anything or anyone who might have Democratic ties. Forget about the fact that these folks performed well in the jobs over the eight years that preceded this Republican administration. No, Mallory’s marauders want to return to a patronage system while the good of the state and its citizens be damned.

            He also berates the Governor’s hiring of Samar Ali as an Executive Service employee. Even though she is an expert in Sharia Compliant Finance, a growing interest to businesses investing in the Middle East, Mallory declares the area is something used to finance terrorists. He just as strongly objects to her place in Tennessee government because she served in Obama’s White House fellowship program and her family has long history of supporting the Democratic Party. Never mind that the woman grew up in Waverly, TN and was a 4-H Club member. To Mallory, all Muslims are terrorists, or at least his rhetoric seems to indicate such a belief.

            He next comes unhinged because Haslam has “allowed and retained openly homosexual persons to make policy decisions in the Department of Children’s Services.” I suppose the Chairman didn’t get the memo that departments and their employees must act in accordance with existing laws. Any person will find going against them difficult.  This man sounds suspiciously like an infamous local state senator and homophobe with his fear and unfounded attacks of homosexuals. Of course, when he is pushed, Mallory declines to further comment.

Another complaint is that the governor failed to sign a resolution criticizing the United Nations Agenda 21 that passed the Republican-controlled General Assembly. He also chides the Governor for his hiring an Education Commissioner from out of state and one who is, according to his ranting, “an embarrassment to the Republican Party.”

            The hope is that folks can see how whacky Kyle Mallory and others of his ilk are. They claim to be Republicans, but that’s just not true.  One who is loyal to a party will question actions of its leaders, but he will still support the overall agenda and decisions that come down. Mallory is most likely a member of the Tea Party. That means he’s an extremist in Republican clothing. His goal is to move GOP to the dangerous, rocky cliffs of the extreme right. Any individuals who fail to bow in fear or curry favor from these out-of-touch folks are ostracized until they are stripped of office or power.

            It would appear that Mallory’s mob is hell-bent on radicalizing the Republican Party and annihilating the Democratic Party. Nothing would suit them better than to take power from both political groups and to centralize it with a small group of ideologues who are paranoid about the motives anyone who doesn’t fit their mold.

            I’ve voted for some Republican candidates throughout my lifetime, an act that led my mother-in-law to call me a mugwump. However, with the radicalizing of the GOP, I don’t much think I can cast a ballot for a member of a party that is constantly on the attack. I long for the Republican Party of years gone by. That group didn’t agree with ideas of the opposing party, but for the good of the country and its citizens, collaboration was more important than ideology. That old party supported its candidates and office holders, even if it disagreed with some of the votes they made and beliefs they held.

            The new Republican Party is much different and dangerous. No one is safe. In fact, sometimes they eat their young who don’t drink their Kool-aid. I hope their reign is short-lived. As for Kyle Mallory and his malevolent members of the Stewart County Republican Party, let’s hope more intelligent and educated minds prevail. I know for sure that I wouldn’t want this man teaching my child.

Proper Personal Pronouns PLEASE!

Perhaps the most often violated rule in our language concerns pronouns. For the life of me, I don’t understand what the problem is with folks. Actually, I do know what is wrong. Most people never learned the cases of personal pronouns and don’t have the faintest idea of when to use them. So, here goes nothing; I’m attempting to explain one area in this post.

Personal pronouns—two cases

Subjective (nominative)—used as subjects, predicate nominatives, in comparisons using than or as. I,you he, she, it, we, you, they, who

Objective—used as direct objects, indirect objects, and objects of prepositions

                  me, you him, her, it, us, you, them, whom

Preposition—a word that shows the relationship of its object to another word in a sentence. 

Most people know common prepositions: over, about, above, between, on, for, etc. What they don’t know is when how to use the correct pronouns with them.

Incorrect: Keep this secret between you and I

                 The present was for you and I.

                 The fault for the wreck was place on you and I.

Okay, the way to check if the pronouns used as the object of preposition is correct is to say it aloud. For example, “between you” works. How does “between I” or “for I” or “on I” sound? If they sound all right, then I can’t help you. However, if these sound wrong with pronouns (they are), then use the objective form. Then you have

Keep this secret between you and me.

The present was for you and me.

The fault for the wreck was placed on you and me.  

Some people use the incorrect pronoun because they think it sounds more sophisticated. WRONG!!! The incorrect use of a pronoun is a sign of poor grammar background.

The goal is to put an end to this disgusting, widespread  misuse of pronouns with prepositions. Pass it along; don’t keep the information just between you and me.