Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Rubber Bands vs. Rubberbands

So Monday started out well. The last rubber band in the bag went on the last newspaper of the day. How often does that happen?! Never... except that one time when it did. As I attempt to glean some meaning from that once-in-a-lifetime-so-far experience, I wonder does it mean I should quit my paper route NOW... or that a shortage of rubber bands is in the future... or that I should bag the papers more often. Most likely it means that I need more sleep, but I didn't need a sign to know THAT.

Are you wondering at my spelling for "rubber band"? Doesn't it look odd as two words? I really think it should be one word, but the little red line beneath it insists that it isn't.

Upon consulting Google, I typed "is rubberband one word." The first line of the results page read, "Did you mean: is rubber band one word?" Yes, I suppose THAT is what I meant. Then the first three results declared that rubberband is, in fact, one word. So maybe that wasn't what I meant after all. Obviously, I am not the only one caught up in this dilemma (but I MAY be the only one losing sleep over it).

But the red line persists.

Who is the real authority on such matters? First there were bands. Then there was rubber. Then someone put the two together to form rubber bands... but WHO decides if they should be put together to form RUBBERBANDS? It's a mystery.

We could ask the same questions about car pools or carpools. But as we know, THAT is a discussion for another day... when we have more time.


  1. You crack me up! Not just because you're so funny, but because you seem to think exactly like I do. My spellcheck (oops!) spell check (note the space) and I have issues like that all the time.

    As an example, here's a note I wrote to a friend a while back:
    Are you going to enrichment night tomorrow? If so, what are you bringing? If not, disregard last question. I'm taking a fruit salad, if I remember to get to the store tomorrow. I guess I could just cut up some peaches. Can one fruit count as a salad? Hmmm. Okay I'm good; check this out from SALAD any of various dishes consisting of foods, as meat, seafood, eggs, pasta, or fruit, prepared singly or combined, usually cut up, mixed with a dressing, and served cold. I think I might just be about the only person you know who has actually ever looked up the word "salad" in a dictionary. I'm pretty sure I'm the first I know who has, and that was my first time, too. Not that I expect there to be other times. So if you go, and if I do take a peach salad, you can vouch for me that it counts, right? In the mouth of two or more witnesses...

    And, in case you might be tempted to think that's an isolated case, here's another letter excerpt to the same friend at a different time:

    I went to Shopko and bought Ben some wool socks, which I was sure I had bought him before, but he claims I didn't, but of course, I could be getting him mixed up with one of other scouts in this house. So I got him some. They had some of those gloves with no fingertips, with the mitten flap (there must be a clever name for those, but I've never seen what it is) on sale, so I bought a couple of pair (or is that pairs?) Okay, so I looked it up, and here's what it said: Pairs: Used with binary nouns (often in the plural to indicate multiple instances, since such nouns are plurale tantum) [Whoa! Not only can you have nouns, being defined as Persons, Places, or Things, but there are also "Binary" nouns. Who knew?!]

    a pair of scissors; two pairs of spectacles; several pairs of jeans
    but not a pair of cymbals

  2. pt. 2

    Uhhh, why NOT a "pair of cymbals"? Ah ha! In case the curiosity of that last question was going to keep you up all night, I figured it out to give us both some relief from the suspense. The clue is in the phrase "plurale tantum" above. (Raise your hand if you learned what that is in grammar class. I don't know how I missed it. Never heard of it. And that is two things I've learned in the past 5 minutes that my grammar teachers never even bothered to mention. I wonder what else they were holding out on me. Actually, I do know one: subjunctives, which I hadn't heard of until I started studying Spanish. I'm still a little bitter about that one, so I don't really want to talk about it right now.) Here's what that is [In case you've forgotten, I'm about to enlighten you as to the definition of the Latin phrase "plurale tantum", unless of course you had "good" English teacher, in which case this will only be a review, maybe]:

    plurale tantum (plural pluralia tantum) [And you can bet that if she didn't tell me what it was in the singular, no way did I ever learn that plural one. Hmmm, maybe that's what you learn in Latin class.]

    1. (grammar) A noun (in any specific sense) that has no singular form, such as scissors (in most usage).

    Roger wasn’t sure whether “jeans” was a true plurale tantum, since the word “jean” exists and describes a type of cloth.

    Actually, if that's the explanation, then I have issues with it, because I think you can talk about cymbal in the singular. Anyway, that was kind of an interesting little tangent, though, huh? :) You might try tossing the phrase "plurale tantum" into one of your conversations with Mike and see if he notices. No one on the internet wants to tell us exactly how it's supposed to be pronounced, so just say it however you want; he'll never know the difference (unless of course he got the good grammar teacher). [End of Excerpt]

    So, I just think it's funny that you write about going to the dictionary to check things out all the time (okay,I've seen it twice on here, now, but that has to mean you do it all the time) like I do. We could be related!

    [To anyone else who wanted to leave comments on here, I apologize for taking up all the space. You're welcome for the grammar lesson, though.] :)

  3. Oh, my goodness Sister--you need a blog... oh, you have one. No, actually you have FIVE!;)

  4. I have the same issue with bookclub. Even as we speak (not literally, of course) the automatic correcter on my iPad wants to separate the words, but I sincerely love it as one word. And please thank Melody for the grammar lesson. I don't even remember the names of my teachers, let alone what they taught, so I am impressed. I am going to the dictionary one to look up binary noun....