Feminism is overrated

Disclaimer: The following post contains what some might interpret as an inappropriate word/thought or two, and is not recommended for sensitive readers. Bear with me, though; it should get better at the end. Hah!

Growing up, I had everything going for me to be a good and proper bra-burning feminist. I found most men irritating and inferior, to be very honest, and decided early on that I won’t be getting married to one of them one day – between the sperm banks and the storks to supply a baby (the only thing I thought them good for), who needs a man anyway?

In truth, I was a bit of a bitch. Some people found me intimidating, I know, and in a way I relished the thought. It’s not that I didn’t like male company; I just didn’t see the point of being less of myself so that a man won’t feel emasculated – my own little power trip. I didn’t realise then that this attitude actually diminished my power.

When I met my husband, one of the first things that really took my breath away about him, was that he actually found my tendency to bitchiness somewhat amusing… He could take whatever I gave him and pay me back in kind, so to speak. While I might have worn the pants in a previous relationship or two, we both had to learn to share it or take turns wearing it – and we’re still learning today.

It wasn’t easy to give up – I’m still more inclined to keep on struggling to open my own bottles instead of asking my big, strong husband to do it for me – and sometimes I forget. But if you ask me today whether I’m a feminist, this is what I’ll say: I’m a rehabilitating ball-buster, a quasi-feminist, and an equal opportunity Amazon. I am woman, hear me roar!

I know where my strengths lie, and I’m no longer interested in limiting myself to saying “anything a man can do, I can do better.” There are some things that men do that involve getting dirty/tackled/standing when I’d prefer sitting, and I really don’t care to join them. In fact, I don’t believe I need to.

I believe that we women can do anything we set our minds to, and that we should be respected (and paid!) accordingly. Don’t underestimate or undervalue me because of my gender, or suffer the consequences. They don’t warn you of the hellish fury of a scorned woman for nothing.

At the enigineering faculty, I work in a male-dominated environment where some of my colleagues might be surprised at first that the blonde girl has an opinion. But because I cultivate an environment where I also give the respect I demand in return, the blonde girl is soon asked for her opinion instead. I build relationships, because that is one of my strengths, and they can build the engins and circuits instead, because that is not. I don’t have time to fidget about nonsense – I have work to do.

But there are some feminists who might kick me out of the tribe for what I’m going to say next…

Just because I CAN do everything, doesn’t mean I WANT to. I love being married to a macho man who can make me feel safe and small and loved, while loving me for every facet of my sometimes-less-than-nice being. We are partners, after all. I love that I can feel like a woman – sometimes crying, sometimes trying – without questioning whether he thinks I am strong or respects me for it. I know he does; I chose him, after all, and I’m a clever woman 😉

So it frustrates the hell out of me that there are still women who think that I need to be only a specific type of woman to get the respect of a man. Or that a man’s respect is somehow necessary to validate who I am. I honestly don’t understand women who get ridiculously offended when a man lets her enter a room in front of him or holds the door for her, because it is supposedly a statement of the man’s patriarchal power over her as a woman. For the love of all that is good and dipped in chocolate, don’t they realise what they’re doing? If the only thing standing between me and my feminine power and strength is a simple chivalrous act by a gentleman whose mother taught him proper manners, then my feminism is truly fickle and nonsensical. That implies, for me, that men somehow have the power to make me feel powerful or take that power away from me, and that is fifty shades of rubbish.

By saying that a man shouldn’t open a door for me because he is ‘undermining’ my equal status as a strong, powerful woman, I would actually be undermining myself. No woman needs a man’s recognition of her identity or equality in order for it to be so – we are already as equal and powerful as we allow ourselves to be. No-one needs permission to be him-/herself from anyone, and it irks me that some women feel the need to practically give that power away by throwing tantrums about such petty trivialities. I have been known to let a woman walk through the door before me myself. Does that make my a lesbian? Surely it does not, just like it doesn’t make the woman a lesser version of herself.

I am what I am, breasts and all. I need no-one’s permission or approval for it to be so: my identity doesn’t depend on anything outside of myself. If you think you (as a man OR an over-zealous feminist) are ‘giving’ me something that’s always been mine, it’s not a gift, it’s an insult. And I don’t need those kinds of gifts, thank you very much.

What do you think, dear readers? Should I be banned from all future feminist fanclubs, or should we start our own club instead? I’d love to read comments from both men AND women on this one!

Captain’s log, 23/07/12. It’s been three days since my last fix.

It starts with an itching in my right index finger. I move my mouse cursor over to the favourites bar on my laptop, to the dark blue square with the alluring white F in the corner. My finger freezes there, ready to click, when my brain kicks into overdrive to fight the urge. Very deliberately, I breathe, focus on the icon for my e-mail server, and click there instead, to see if I’m up to date with everything I actually have to be aware of (as opposed to the intoxicating appeal of every single thought or detail of every single one of my hundreds of contacts).

I throw myself back into working/thinking/breathing/eating/queue-standing/working/talking… all the moments I filled with getting my fix… until it hits again.

Maybe tomorrow I’ll forget about this habit of mine for longer than I could today? I guess every small victory helps! 🙂

Let’s see if I can get though this week without facebook without feeling like an absolute junkie…

This Oupa is Cruy-cruy! (That sounds weird, right?)

Since television began in South Africa, this man’s (possibly cryogenically frozen) face has been the most familiar one of all.  He’s been reading the news in Afrikaans since ’75, and still looks exactly the same as that first day!

He has a great sense of humour too and has been used often in pop culture campaigns recently. Also, as an added bonus, he might just be an (grammatically correct) alien posing as the world’s coolest grandpa to infiltrate earth one broadcast at a time.  That’s the only explanation that makes sense to me, anyway.

Forget Chuck Norris jokes: my new idol is Cruy-Cruy!

I thought I’d quickly share a few of these funny videos in a new series the Grandaddy of Cool stars in on Being Awesome.

[Especially for my expat readers!  Doesn’t he just make you miss the Haas Das days?]

Enjoy! And have a happy week! 😉

Want to see more?  You can watch the whole series on his youtube channel… 😉

What’s in a name? Lots of alcohol, I think…

I’m fascinated by the choices people make when naming their children. Maybe it’s because I’m the bearer of an unusual one myself, but whenever I hear an odd name I tend to dream up elaborate theories about how the recipient’s parents made the choice to gift their child with the one they gave.

Sometimes, I also have to wonder if they loved the kid at all…  I mean, how do you send a child called Jus-N-Tyme to school with a clear conscience?  Do you budget for annual therapists’ fees to go with his school fees, too?

That should be illegal, you might think.  And, interestingly, in some countries it is.  Germany, along with a few others, prohibits parents from naming their children anything that’s not on the approved list of monikers.  That feels slightly too much like a chapter from a George Orwell book to me (where does freedom of speech come to the party, anyway?) but I have to support the idea behind it to a certain extent. I’m not saying we should all be Adams and Eves and wave goodbye to individuality completely – that would be very, very boring – but where does it end?

It ends, I’ve come to realise, someplace scary: in a world where Apple (the girl, not the fruit OR the brand name) is the epitome of cool and teachers have to keep a straight face when talking to Jermajesty Jackson in class.  Hah!  I really don’t think I could. 😉

Even though I can make a hobby of correcting mispronunciations of Juanli or laughing at the creative spelling people saddle me with (see my previous post on the topic), I know I wouldn’t want it any other way.  (My favourite is when ‘clever’ types actually argue with me about the pronunciation/spelling of the name I’ve had since before I could say/write it myself, as if I could possibly have forgotten along the way and have been wondering about it until they ‘helped’.  Really.)  It definitely gets on my nerves sometimes, but in a way, I like it!

At least it’s not boring, or so common that you need to remember my surname too, to distinguish me from a dozen namesakes.  I don’t feel like a Marie, though, and no Marie has ever walked into a room with the first topic of conversation already lined up in the same way I can:  “Hi, I’m Juanli, pleased to meet you”, I’ll say, and they’ll respond with “Juanli? That’s interesting, I’ve never heard that before…” And there we go.  We immediately have at least one other thing beside the weather to discuss, which helps if you hate small talk as much as I do.

Although, that being said, I don’t have enough fingers and toes (even if I borrow some from friends and family) to count the number of times some Dufus has heard my name and quipped, “Haha, are you, like, Bruce Lee’s sister?”  I don’t think it was even funny in nursery school – that joke crashed and burned a long time ago, but they keep making it.  Original.

I now have to admit something embarrassing.

. . .

This post was inspired by Kourtney Kardashian.  In my defence, I read something in a reputable newspaper.  It’s not as if I watched their show for it!  Although I have had a few moments where the braindead banality of it has helped me to vegetablise on the couch after a long day…

. . .

This was not one of those moments 🙂

Kourtney, sister to four other brunettes with forced K-names (how creative) has decided to call her baby girl Penelope Scotland Disick.  The first name is quite cute, but really, Scotland?

A while ago, we were at the movies to watch Prometheus, which came out at the same time as What to expect when you’re expecting.  While buying our popcorn from the friendly girl behind the counter, I glanced at her nametag:  Expect.  Interesting choice!  I’d love to talk to her mom about it!  I want to ask her what she was expecting when she was expecting Expect.  And if she’s met her expectations? Hehe…

While I was working as an interpreter on campus a few years ago, I saw a friend of mine sitting under a tree in a lonely, shadowed corner, all by her lonesome self.  I asked her why she was sitting there alone, after which she answered, “I’m waiting for Lonely.”  I couldn’t keep a straight face when she explained that Lonely was actually a girl she studied with.  I felt like I needed to give her a hug – the whole scene was just too sad/funny! 😉

It made me wonder how many other examples of such craziness I could find, so I started googling.  I found thousands of examples (apparently the madness is universal) and really giggled like a girl at some of them.  I’ve made a list of my favourites, for your viewing pleasure, so here goes.

Map me, mommy

A tribute to patriotism, or just attention mongering?  You decide.  Besides little Scotland, there are many examples on the net of kids like Ireland England, or “famous” ones like Brooklyn, or Paris (the “fame” part being slightly questionable).  This wouldn’t work in South Africa, of course.  Somehow I don’t see a new trend starting with parents naming their kids for Benoni, or Springs (can you imagine how popular she could be if she lived up to that reputation?).  Let’s hope…

Bite me

I really, really don’t understand this foodie-trend.  I like chocolate, doughnuts and cupcakes, but I have never been intoxicated enough to think that I could name my firstborn after a Kit-Kat.  I was surprised to find out how many people disagreed with me about this, though!  After all, there are people introducing themselves to strangers every day with names like Lettuce, Cabbage Haywood (no relation as far as I know), Lasagne, or Banana Bowdy.  And then there’s Dweezil Zappa (son of Frank) and his poor sister, Diva Thin Muffin.  I kid you not.

Obviously, the parents of these children were either very hungry or very high when it came to choosing names.

Pappa likes puns

As I said yesterday, I like a good pun.  I find them punny (krrrrr-dish!)  😉

But there are limits to appropriateness when it comes to using them.  Making a sarcasting remark about something dumb?  Go for it.  Giving your child a name that will haunt them into eternity?  Hold that thought…  Puns and homonyms are just embarrassing when it comes to names.

How are people like Dinner Ware, Reignbeau Rames, Ivana Tinkle, Al Coholics, or Tu Morrow supposed to stand up in front of a room full of new faces and introduce themselves?  I suspect you have to develop a very sharp sense of humor very early on.

Repeat offenders

Out of all the possible names that people have to choose from/copy/make up for a first name, why do some choose to use the same one as their last name?  If that sounded confusing, it’s because I am.  Confused.  First name?  Scot.  Last name? Scott.  Huh?

In my search, I found more of these than I’m comfortable with, actually.  Is it because the parents were too lazy to think up something else?  Or did they honestly not realise that their child would get tired of saying “No, really, it’s the same” every day? Oi.  While giggling, I also have to feel sorry for unfortunate Zowie Bowie, Cook Cook, Clayton (Clay) Clay and Kurt Curtis.  Bummer…

But You-Neeque is so unique!

Yes, I’m sure she is.  But I don’t think that’s the only thing her mom should’ve been considering when she chose it.  Do you?  Although there definitely are positives to having a name that no one has heard before (Oprah famously stood out for hers after her father misspelled Orpah on her birth certificate), it can’t be easy to wait until you’re sixteen before you can change it.  Lucky for little Talula Does The Hula From Hawaii (nope, not even making this stuff up…), her chance came when she was nine.

Read the funny/sad story here: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/australasia/parents-must-rename-girl-called-talula-does-the-hula-from-hawaii-876813.html

Here are a few final noteworthy examples of “unique”-but-crazy names.  Some are from famous parents, while others were “normal” people who presumably thought they were being cute.  All of them were definitely crazy/high, but probably both:

Hysteria Johnson

Cholera Priest

Governor Bush

Greed Sister Mancini

Envy Burger

The triplet sisters: Miracle, Mystery and Mirage

Alias (as a first name…)

Pajama (pronounced PAY-je-meh, apparently)

Good Dog (yes, it’s human)

Zuma (Gwen Stefani has definitely never met our president)


Buddy Bear Maurice (Jamie Oliver dropped a few places in my book with that one)

Fifi Trixibelle



Audio Science Sossamyn

And finally, the five interesting R-siblings: Rocket, Rebel, Rogue, Racer and Rhiannon. 

Besides stripping or becoming the Mayor of Crazytown, how do these people get jobs/enter foreign countries/convince traffic officers that they’re not mocking them when they hand over identification?  In a way, the fact that they might be employed at all is sort of impressive!

The scariest thing about this list is the fact that, if you stare at the names for long enough…

They all start to look normal!

What is the world coming to?


What strange names have you come across?  Tell me about it in the comments!  If you want to see more funnies, google it, or go here: http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/23631411/ns/today-parenting_and_family/t/harry-pitts-worst-baby-names-all-time/

It’s a little bit funny…

Over the past few weeks, I’ve felt a bit like a goldfish in a bowl – staring at the world from the inside out, not really taking part in it to any extent that anyone would notice. I blame a slump in productivity at work, combined with the traditional “I’m never getting out of this bed again” feeling I get every Winter (you can tell by my usually sunny disposition that I don’t like the cold, right?). Add to the mix a scrumptious layer of eating everything I see (especially when it’s covered in chocolate and/or icing) and a paralysing laziness, and you’ve got the perfect recipe for a Procrastination Pie. Not pretty (but very tasty while you’re stuffing your face with it). Hah!

After having a stern talking to with myself – and my self getting over herself and listening at last – the past week or two has been much more productive and I’ve actually gotten a few things done. I haven’t blogged in a while, though, but I’ve figured out that I’m still subconsciously seeing writing as an indulgence and a luxury I can only reward myself with after having done actual work. Having felt like I wasn’t doing enough of that, I couldn’t spoil myself with some blogging time. It figures that I would make a simple pleasure something to get all serious about! I’m not always right in the head, I tell you…


In the light of my happy return to the blogosphere, and because it’s been a long week (already!), and because we can all do with a bit of cheese on a gloomy Winter’s day, I’ve decided to dedicate this post to the things that make me giggle. A few of my previous posts were a bit on the negative side, so to balance it out, here’s a completely corny, ultimately awesome collection of hilariousness!

Silly things that make me giddy:

Nerdy jokes

Being the absolute word nerd that I am (I have the glasses and everything!), I sometimes find things hilarious that my too-cool-for-nerd-school husband thinks are dumb/cheesy/embarrassingly academic. And he’s a comedian, so he should know… But my sense of humour developed on choir buses and library benches, while his grew up on rugby fields and those spots only the cool kids could hang out at on the playground, so there’s a bit of a discrepancy.

And that’s why I can really relate to this picture:

Peanuts gets me.

So lame, it’s laughable:

Punny wordplays

I have a few friends who can literally have whole conversations only in puns. I’m not completely there, but I love a funny play on words. If it has a nerdy twist, I love it even more!


He’s not called Bad Joke Eel for nothing… 😉

Would’ya like some cheese with that?


And a corny lil’ rumble in the jungle:

Flash mobs!

This is still right up there on my Bucket List. I drool about walking into an airport one day, just to be surrounded by air hostesses, pilots and random travellers suddenly erupting into a perfectly choreographed song-and-dance routine! And a girl can dream, right? It’s corny, always slightly awkward, and in the beginning I definitely cringe a bit, but a good one makes me giggle/sniff every time. I love the sincere and honest expressions of shock and joy as the crowd starts to realise what’s going on. For a few minutes, no one thinks about the issues they were carrying around with them – time stands still until the music stops.

Maybe it’s because I love surprises? It definitely kicks you out of your comfort zone 😉

This one really makes me teary every time!


Cringe-worthy auditions

There are few things that can glue me to a TV set like bad, sad singing auditions. I can stare at those ridiculous people for hours with my tongue hanging out… Somewhere, someone told them that they could sing. That someone was usually lying like crazy!

These poor, ridiculously talentless people… 🙂



When people accidentally mesh languages and meanings to create a completely different picture than the one they planned, I giggle. I know I would be a hundred times worse if I tried to communicate properly in any Asian language, but I can’t deny that Engrish amuses me immensely!

Here are a few examples:

Don’t mistake the mistakes 🙂


That makes perfect sense!

And finally, an oldie but a goody:



What makes you giggle and snort your coffee? Share some laughs in the comments!

Someone give this guy a wooden mic… Maybe to the head… ;)

Yesterday, I promised a post on things that make me happy. I’ve been unexpectedly busy today and couldn’t finish it to my own satisfaction (guess who’s a perfectionist), but I decided to give you something to make YOU happy instead.

It might not be easy listening, per se, but at least you can be happy that you don’t look/sound like this guy! I find him hilarious… Enjoy! 😀

10 bees in my bonnet (the things that irritate me).

I usually have quite a sunny disposition on a good day (and a passable poker face otherwise), but there are certain things that irk me.  Things that make me bite my tongue or shake my head.  And, seeing as today we commemorate the day on which our president throws a very public tantrum, I thought I might share the things I wish I could arrange a strike about.  Because when all is said and done, you need a sense of humor to survive in this beloved country of ours!  Perhaps you’ll come across one of these on an off day and see the lighter side of it too.

Now, before you think I’m going all Emo here, don’t fret – we’ll return to our regular programming of bright-and-shininess in a post about the other end of the spectrum tomorrow 😉

1.  Short people walking slowly in malls

Being of the more giraffe-like and tardy variety of people, I have long legs (and therefore naturally walk fast) and I’m always in a hurry (read: late).  And while I have no problem with short people in general (being related to many and friends with several!), I can’t stand being stuck behind someone who is moving so slowly she’s virtually standing still while I’m trying to rush somewhere.  I have to try very hard not to tap them on their heads and point them toward the exit.  I obviously love grocery shopping at month-end; can you tell?

Don’t even get me started on geriatric snails in traffic…

2. “Helpful” parking lot attendants

As a grown-up, healthy woman who is trusted with actually driving my own car, I am perfectly capable of pushing my own trolley/packing my own bags into the boot/inserting the parking ticket into the machine at the exit.  I don’t need/want help… And I usually don’t have spare change to tip with either.  There are few people as “eager to help” as these, though.

3.  Perfume/face cream vendors in shopping malls

Speaking of eager beavers…  I don’t know if they ship them all from some far-off country somewhere where they’re trained in the dark arts of ambushing innocent shoppers in malls at exactly the wrong moments, but few people can instantly bring out the nastiness in me as fast as these.  The very moment I hear someone saying “Excuse me, ma’am, can I show you something/spray this on you/quickly talk to you?” in a thick accent, I want to let karate chops fly.  And if you’ve ever actually seen me attempting anything as physical as that, you’d know that it wouldn’t be good for anyone’s health if that happened.  Can’t a girl just shop unnecessarily in peace?!

4.  People who talk during movies

If I wanted to watch a movie to the sound of your loud popcorn crunching/giggling/louder than a whisper gossiping, I would have gone over to your mother’s house and sat myself on your couch.  You will be SHHHHHH-ed at.  If that doesn’t work, you will get a speech about manners. 

There has never been a third option… I’m that scary when you get between me and my movies. 

5.  Flirty old men

While any girl might enjoy a random compliment out of the blue every now and then, winking at me in the daytime when your teeth sleep in their own water glass at night is just plain icky.  It doesn’t make you look like a stud, actually, and I’m sure your grandkids would agree.  The same goes for flirty married men (except for the teeth part)… Don’t make me give you the manners-speech too.

6.  Wearing glasses when it’s raining

Few things make the prefectionist in me feel more helpless than little raindrops on the INside of my glasses when it’s dripping wet.  I’m already slightly visually impaired, hence the helpful spectacles, so seeing only blotches when I’m trying to figure out where I’m going irritates me.  Someone really should invent wiper blades for that 😉

7.  No heads up

It’s happened to the best of us.  You look into the mirror after a full day of meetings, chats and general appearances in public, just to see it:  There’s toothpaste on your shirt/spinach in your teeth/your zip’s open.  And if you can see it, the rest of the world probably has as well.  How long has it been like that?  How many people have seen it?  And why, in the name of all that is sweet and covered in chocolate, hasn’t anyone told you about it?!  I make it my personal mission in life to point these moments out to even random strangers – who knows how much embarrassment there could be to save them from?

8.  People who SCREAM AT ME

I have no personal beef with the Caps Lock button on my computer’s keyboard.  It’s come in handy in the past, at appropriate times, and I’m sure we’ll interact again in the future.  I just can’t understand why some people feel the need to capitalise the most unnecessary words in their sentences through abusing it.  I wish the world would realise that THIS MEANS I’M SHOUTING AT YOU!  Please, learn to use your inside voice.  If you’re not actually trying to communicate the fact that you’re hysterical because your pants are on fire and I’m the only person in the world capable of alerting the fire brigade, please don’t raise your voice at me.  It’s just rude and I’m ever so fragile…   😉

9.  People who force me to be insincere

I consider myself quite honest, in general.  Just ask anyone who’s ever been on the other side of a debate with me – I say more or less what I believe has to be said in as diplomatic a way as my temper allows.  I prefer the truth over sugar coating (unless it’s actual sugar coating a doughnut, of course, but I’ll try to focus) and if I don’t like you, you would be the first person to know it.

Some situations, however, force me to be less honest.  When good manners or common courtesy require me to act/say something other than what I actually think or feel, it drives me crazy.  And I like the object of my dislike even less for putting me in that position.  Grrrrr.

10.  Spelling errors in spelling rants

The only thing more ridiculously embarassing to see than someone who rants and raves about grammar and spelling errors in grammatically incorrect misspelled language, is being said person.  I blush.  I giggle nervously.  I pull the duvet higher over my head and contemplate staying there forever.  I’m obviously not perfect!  Oh, Irony, thou art a fickle mistress…. I’m very certain this very post will be positively littered with mistakes. Pfffffft.


DISCLAIMER (nope, not screaming, just catching your eye):  In the big scheme of things to throw hissyfits about, I would be the first to admit that the above list is trivial and unimportant.  But, if politics have taught me one lesson today, it would be that nothing sets a bee buzzing in a bonnet faster than an issue that no one should actually care about. 

It’s in the nature of irritants to irritate the ones on the receiving end the most.  Like mosquito bites.  Just because you wouldn’t scratch that spot on my shin, doesn’t mean it’s less itchy, does it? 😉


What are the things that irritate you?  Share them with me in the comments and we can all have a giggle about them!  If you like to read my posts, why don’t you subscribe to receive them  directly in your inbox?  Thanks for reading, anyway… 😉

I giggled. I snorted. It wasn’t pretty… ;)

If ever there was a way to get into my brain and see what makes me tick, it’s this. Engrish! I might do a full post on it some time, but I’m too hysterical to type properly…



(With thanks to Jaco Botha for putting this where I could get my hands on it) Hahahaaaa! 😀


UPDATE:  Since posting this, I have been gifted with another “little” gem of the same talented kid.  Shame, I’m actually worried for the boy – that’s definitely not healthy – but diets aside, he is obviously special!  Just when I thought I was over the giggles…

Here we go again!   😀

Now that’s what I call a split! And some good quality pants.

It’s Friday, everyone!  Have some giggles on me!

(And thanks for the photo, Bestie!)

Please stop making my eyes itch! And other lessons in grammar.

If I’ve said this once, I’ve probably said it at least a thousand times. I’m really, really easily irritated by the way people use and abuse the language they choose to write in. It’s not just that I get a mildly frustrated pang in the pit of my stomach that I can easily ignore – I literally feel like scratching my own eyes out sometimes. That might sound a bit extreme, I know.

This is my teacher face.

You might even call me crazy (go ahead, I know you want to) 😉 but I might be getting a little dramatic now. I really am persnickety, irritable, and even a little obsessed on a bad day, but mostly I just get a few good giggles out of the unintentionally deformed little freakazoids that people create from perfectly normal words.

Like my husband (and a big chunk of the males in our country) feels about rugby – shouting at the ref, surfing the sport sites, and obsessing over it for hours on end with enthusiasm and lots of loyaly to boot – I, too, get excited about the “sport” I love. Let’s call it Lingo, shall we? (Wow, that’s corny. Sorry.) I’m nominating myself for captain for today. And, well, let me be completely honest… With my track record of zero ball sense and a complete lack of athletic prowess, that’s problably the closest I could ever come to being sporty. 🙂

Now, as all sporting fans will know: You don’t mess with the game! Rules were made to be respected (unless it’s your own team breaking them, but that’s a different story). Rules make it easier for us all to watch and understand, because frankly, we’ll all look a bit stupid without them. (Not pointing any fingers here, but the words “headless chickens” have come up before while watching rugby games. But I digress…)

So, to make it easier for all of us to play this game we call communicating, I’ve decided to clarify a few rules here. You can find these all over the internet on millions of different sites (and, when in doubt, google them, by all means!), but I thought I might make it easier for you if I explained them shortly.

Even if you’ve made one of these mistakes before, please know that there’s no judgement here! This is just my attempt at making it easier for all of us to understand what on earth we’re actually on about… I just feel like it’s my personal responsibility to help the people I like to look clever. Because you’re awesome like that 😉

My top 10 “favourite” corrections:

10. on accident

This is a mixture of two phrases that are closely related, but are actually opposites.

To clarify: I ate the cake ON purpose (because it’s chocolate and it’s not as if it climbed into my mouth by itself…). Sorry. You must have left it there BY accident.

9. Learn vs. Teach

I see this so often, it looks like the whole country’s English teachers were all off sick on the same day, leaving hordes of school kids to be taught by the school’s cleaners for the day. Scandalous, actually.

To clarify: I can TEACH you what mistakes to avoid, but you have to take the time to LEARN the correct usage of these words yourself.

8. Life vs. Live

These seem confusing, but actually are quite easy to remember. The ‘v’ in LIVE has the same sound as the one in the word ‘very’. LIFE’S ‘f’ sounds the same as in ‘funny’.

To clarify: It’s important to LIVE your LIFE with an open mind, because that’s the only way new ideas can find their way in.

7. Were vs. We’re

We’re getting to the nasty ones now. To understand the next few examples, we have to focus on this little guy: the apostrope (‘). An apostrophe is used to indicate where two words are pulled together to form one word, mostly to ease pronunciation in informal language.

To clarify: We WERE there yesterday, but WE’RE here today. This is the easier way of saying that while we had been somewhere else before, today WE ARE here. The two words have combined to form a new, shorter one. That means that if you can put the word ‘are’ into the sentence, it’s incorrect to use WERE.

6. YOUR vs. YOU’RE

The same rule applies here. YOU’RE is a contraction of YOU and ARE, pulling these words together. YOUR indicates possession, meaning that it shows that something belongs to you.

To clarify: YOU’RE going to be glad you remembered these rules when it’s time to help YOUR kids with their homework.

5. ITS vs. IT’S

This is one of the more confusing examples, because everyone seems to get all blonde about it. (Yes, I played the blonde-card… but I’m a natural one myself and look how I’m contradicting it…)

Again, IT’S is a contraction, this time combining the words IT IS or IT HAS. ITS indicates possession/belonging to something or someone.

To clarify: IT’S not so difficult to use it if you just understand ITS meaning a bit better. If you can replace it with the words IS or HAVE, then IT’S is the word you should use. Otherwise, it’s ITS.

And, let’s be clear on this: There is no such word as ITS’. Really.

4. To, Too, or Two

Eish. This is one of those case where, if Mxit were a boy, I’d like to kick his butt for letting kids the world over use ‘2’ instead of the actual, correct word out of mere laziness.

It’s not so difficult to remember, though, if you just use a bit of common sense.

TO has a short sound, like in the word ‘into’. It’s actually a very basic word that you don’t have TO fuss about.

TOO has a long sound, like the word ‘soon’. The extra letter is a clue that the vowel has to be stretched to indicate the sound. This is used the wrong way TOO often, actually.

TWO is the word that comes just after one, right? Obviously 🙂 But, unless you’re actually doing maths, PLEASE write the word out? By using a 2, you’re just confusing yourself. And, frankly, it’s not as if you have to write SUPERCALIFRAGILISTICEXPIALIDOCIOUS, it’s just TWO letters more. Use them. 🙂

3. Exited vs. Excited

Ever heard how “Elvis has left the building”? That means he EXITED it. If he’d EXCITED the building, that might raise serious questions about how the building could possibly feel any emotions in the first place. You’d want to call the Ghostbusters for that, actually.

To clarify: To EXIT is to leave, and it’s also a word we see every day on signs above back doors or in parking lots. To EXCITE is to increase someone’s levels of enthusiasm, and it’s indicated by just one extra letter. Don’t forget about the ‘c’.

2. I could care less

Oh, this one just makes me want to cry…

When you say “I couldn’t care less”, what you’re actually trying to say is that you really don’t care at all. It doesn’t matter to you. You don’t give a flying rat’s… bumb. You’re saying: Even if I tried, I could not possibly care any less than I actually care now.

So, if you get confused and say “I could care less”, exactly the opposite is true. What you’re saying is that you acknowledge that you care about whatever it is too much, and you should actually not care so much. You’re saying that you’re extra sensitive about it, although you know you shouldn’t be.

To be completely frank, you are insulting yourself. Stop. You’re too nice!

And my favourite “favourite” is…

1. Literally!

This is one of the most abused words in the world today. People use it to communicate so many different things, but almost never actually mean that they would li-te-ra-ly do what they said they would do.

To clarify: Read my first paragraph again. While I’m a bit trigger happy about grammar sometimes, I’m not actually a freak. Literally. I really, really wouldn’t actually scratch my eyes out! I like my eyes. If I didn’t have them, I’d have no place to put my glasses, and I like them too 😉

When you do use the word LITERALLY, make sure you are willing to back your words up with actions. Otherwise, you are barking much more than you could possibly bite, and who could really trust you then? Saying “almost” might make more sense sometimes. Exaggeration is never a good argument anyway.

Honorary mentions: I have to say something about two other freakazoids as well.

Using the word LIKE like a million times in like every sentence, makes you look like a twelve year old girl with like a marshmallow for a brain. Really.

And there’s a very important space between the words A and LOT in A LOT. For a giggle, look at this clever little explanation:


I think that’s it for today’s lesson, kids! Ha ha… I hope you found it helpful. At the very least, I hope it will help you giggle when you come across these errors again and, when you do, let me know. I might be bored that day and there’s nothing like a nerdy word joke to perk me up!

For more laughs, you might want to watch this video. It has a few “naughty” words in it, but the point is that it would have been perfectly innocent if the right words were used at the right times. Enjoy! 🙂


What are the mistakes you see most often? What are your pet grammatical peeves? Tell me in the comments and I might include it in a post in the future. I LOVE reading your comments, so please, go ahead!

My naam is Juanli. Lang “aaaah”, kort “ie”.

As daar nou een ding in die lewe is wat my irriteer (selfs meer as liedjies oor toeters op water scooters en mense wat die woord “soos” soos in ‘n honderd keer in een sin sê), dan is dit om die korrekte uitspraak van my naam oor en oor te moet korrigeer. Een keer is hanteerbaar. Selfs twee keer, op ‘n goeie dag. Maar teen die tyd dat ek “Jhaaaaaanlie” vir die derde keer moet herhaal asof ek walvis vlot praat, begin ek jou intelligensie te betwyfel.

Ek het wat mense al etlike kere in die verlede na verwys het as ‘n “moelike naam”. My liefste moeder, in een van haar mees kreatiewe oomblikke, het besluit om Johan en Lizette (my ouers) op hierdie spesifieke manier te kombineer, sonder om my Johanli te noem. Ek het dus geen probleem met die naam Johanli nie, moet my nie verkeerd verstaan nie… Dis net nie MY naam nie.

Van mense wat sopas my naam vir die eerste keer gehoor het, het ek al iets van alles gehoor: John-Lee, Jah-Li (?!), Johnny, Jeannie, Jolly (nee, regtig…) en selfs Sjaanlie. Ek kan ook blykbaar glad nie artikuleer as ek dit vir hulle sê nie, want ek kon sweer ek het dit dan nounet reg gesê?

Om te hoor hoe iemand dit uitspreek as hulle dit net op skrif gesien het, sorg gewoonlik vir die meeste giggels. Johanli is die mees voor die hand liggende opsie, maar ek het ook al ‘n paar Janelies, Jean(soos in denim)-lies en Johannelies gehoor.  Een van my goeie vriende dink immers dis hie-lê-rie-us om na my as Johannelie te verwys.  Ek hou van hom nes hy is, maar ek betaal hom terug met sakke vol sarkasme 🙂

Maar my absolute gunsteling moet sekerlik my hoërskool se skoolhoof wees. Vir die eerste twee of drie jaar van my hoërskoolloopbaan was ek net Juanli, maar om een of ander rede het dit een dag verander toe hy my skielik, voor almal in die skoolsaal, begin Julani noem het. Soos in Jabulani. En dit is wat my vriende my toe vir ‘n ruk daarna ook genoem het. Dit is waarskynlik so dat niemand anders wat saam met my op skool was dit noodwendig sal onthou nie – daar was regte probleme, soos puisies en snipperige meisies, wat hulle aandag geverg het – maar vir my was dit irriterend genoeg om permanent ‘n ereplekkie op my irritasielysie te verwerf. Flip!

En laat ek nie eers begin oor die mense wat my naam voor hulle geskryf sien staan (soos by die apteek), my dan vra hoe om dit uit te spreek (goeie idee), maar dan met my stry oor my uitspraak asof ek 1. verstandelik belemmer is, of 2. hoog is nie (minder goeie idee).

Ek moet erken dat ek nie hierdie gekarring met my naam heeltemal verstaan nie. Ek loop al 27 jaar hiermee rond, en ek het nog nooit gesukkel om dit uit te spreek nie! He he… Maar die belangrikste mense in my lewe het dit ook almal met die eerste probeerslag reggekry (soos my man en my beste vriendin) en dit mag dalk bygedra het tot my eerste, positiewe, instink om van hulle te hou 😉

Want hier kom nog ‘n brokkie eerlikheid: Ek moet ekstra hard probeer om veel van enigiemand te hou wat steeks aanhou om my verkeerdelik aan te spreek nadat ek hom/haar herhaaldelik probeer reghelp het. Ek gee graag vir my naastes byname en het ook geen probleem daarmee om een van hulle af te kry nie – Juans is ‘n ou gunsteling, en dit word verwelkom!  Maar as jy eintlik van beter moes weet (want jy is ouer as drie en geletterd en mag al in die publiek verskyn sonder ouertoesig) sukkel ek om ‘n verskoning daarvoor te kry.  Dit is vir my so goed as om vir jou ‘n beledigende bynaam uit te dink en dan aspris daarby te hou, selfs al is dit nie die naam wat jy na die wereld wil projekteer nie. Soos Poepneus. Ek ken verskeie Poepneuse…

Die interessante ding is dat jy derduisende voorbeelde van my naam sal kan vind as jy my google.  Dit is blykbaar ‘n baie polulêre naam vir meisies in Spaanse lande, en seuns in Asië.  Ek is egter nog nie seker hoe ek oor hierdie brokkie inligting voel nie 😉

Ek vermoed hierdie is een van daai “issues” wat ek gaan moet liasseer saam met my inherente haat vir aspersies en my nommer 9 voete – ek gaan nooit daarvan ontslae raak nie.  Ek weet dit!  Maar, in die tussen tyd, dagdroom ek graag oor ‘n prototipe wat fonetiese uitsprake saam met ‘n spraakborrel in ‘n hologram bo my kop kan laat verskyn – natuurlik met die druk van slegs een, geïrriteerde, knoppie.