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Match Made in Grammar

Updated: Sep 24, 2019

Who cares about the toothpaste tube or the toilet seat? The biggest disagreements in my marriage have been over things that actually matter like grammar, punctuation, and literary analysis.


It wasn’t always that way. When my husband and I were dating, I used to love the way he looked at me after I had successfully spelled an impossible word he’d read out from the dictionary. I could spell it, he could define it. We even met in a bookstore!




He likes to say it was love at first sight of the Neoclassical literature books I held in my arms. Never mind that I was trying to sell them back to the university!


You see, my husband and I both graduated in English Education, scored an A+ in compatibility, birds sang as we walked, the whole storybook romance.

I thought, in fact, that I had practically married myself, and myself was a phenomenal choice.




Then things started getting . . . weird.

He’d say things he didn’t mean like, “British literature is better than American literature,” or “Fire is one syllable, not two.”

He even called Life of Pi boring. Um, I’m sorry. Did you not realize the boy’s stuck on a boat with a hungry tiger?


We kept it civil for a while, but then the arguments started. I used commas where he would use an em dash. I preferred italics, he preferred quotation marks. He even employed rhetorical strategies at the expense of brevity, like a madman!


And don’t get me started on our endless back and forth over how words were functioning grammatically in a sentence.