That Burns My Biscuits

Published 9:11 am Tuesday, November 5, 2019

You know what burns my biscuits? People who do not use the simple English they learned in high school and people who mispronounce words out of laziness.

When we are with family and friends, we tend to talk like them. That’s all right; it’s called “changing register.” When we are with those we do not know or maybe asking someone for a job, it is imperative that we speak well. I have no problem with anyone talking like someone they are with, but we cannot blame terrible English on being a redneck or a hillbilly or where we live. I too, tend to talk like my peers; I don’t usually notice how friends and family speak and certainly don’t correct them, but that is another reason to speak well. Maybe they will “pick it up” and use better English. I have always said, being a hillbilly myself, “You can be a hillbilly, redneck or anything else and still use good English when it is called for.” All you have to do is pay attention.

Next is a major pet peeve for me. Without going into all the rules about pronouns, here is a way we learned in school to determine if what you’re saying is correct: “Tom and I went to school.” “I” is the subject pronoun. “School was fun for Tom and I.” “I” is not used here as the subject. The way to tell if you’re speaking correctly in this situation is to leave out the “Tom and” and see if the sentence still works, “School was fun for I.” Oops! “School was fun for me.” See? Such a simple solution for a mistake that so many make. I hear people on television say things like this and it burns my biscuits black because they are supposed to sound like the educated people they are. Language used on television is not always correct and we need to be aware of it and of the fact that it is not always right just because someone on TV says it.

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This one is a mistake many people make when typing messages: misusing “there,” “their” and “they’re.” “There” is an adverb meaning location, “their” a possessive pronoun and always describes a noun and  “they’re” is the contraction of “they are.” To make it simple, “there” is place, “their” is people and “they’re” is “they are.” Simple enough if one pays attention to what they are saying.

Other words that are often misused are: “your” and “you’re.” Again, remember, “your” is possession and “you’re” is the contraction of “you are.”

One more: Again, no complicated details, but the way to say it right. “I could’ve went to the store.” Wrong! “I could’ve gone to the store.” Right!

Some mispronounce words routinely, mostly from laziness. For example, I worked with a woman a long time ago that said things like “Wal Mark” for Wal Mart, “penicillim” instead of penicillin and “Repco” for Revco (a name of a drug store). These were not the only ones either. She mispronounced so many that it was noticeable to everyone, not just me. This woman had a college degree and should pronounce words correctly, right? Nope. When I asked why she said the words that way, she replied, “That’s just the way we talk around here.” Well, I was from the next county over and no one I knew had never mispronounced such simple words. She should have paid more attention when reading. It’s just lame to blame bad English on where you are from or you live.

And last: Drug is a substance used as medicine, not past tense of “drag,” just saying…

That’s your English lesson for today and although I am not an English teacher, I hope this information helps someone strive to speak better English.

If you have a subject that burns your biscuits, please let me know, I’m running out of things to gripe about! Email me at

You are in my prayers,