Well, it's Friday, and you know what that means. For me, it means I'm really discombobulated, because I had yesterday off, so yesterday felt like Saturday, then today felt like Monday, but then I have tomorrow off again so I don't know whether to scratch my watch or wind my arse.

It is also Ask June day, and really, why wouldn't you trust the answers of someone who is so pretty, eats so well, and clearly seeks the correct bosom support? Have I got SANDBAGS in my shirt? What gives?

This flattering pic is actually two years old, and was taken on our cross-country journey involving moving from LA to NC. You can see why Marvin made sure he took me along and didn't go screeching off in a trail of dust as soon as I hit the restroom or anything. Pretty.

Let's try to forget my SAG award and move on to the questions at hand, shall we?

Erin D. asks, What if you got to pick your name?

Well, Erin D., this falls under the category of one of those things I know I have talked about before, but I will tell it again because maybe not everyone has read it. And for all the Culpeppers and What  About Moms who are all, This tired story again? You guys can just bleep over to question number two.

My parents were big old hippies, Erin D. They were big old hippies in the factory town of Saginaw, Michigan, which was not something you encountered every day. I do not know why they became hippies when pretty much everyone around them was heading off to the General Motors plant to tighten the same bolt for eight hours straight day after day, but somehow the heady scent of patchouli reached them, and although they weren't going to San Francisco (well, actually, my father did, and brought them back some lovely matching tye dye t-shirts), they did kind of symbolically wear some flowers in their hair.

Tyedye 002

All this is to tell you that when they had me, when they were both approximately seven years old, they named me "June" (which of course isn't my real name, my real name SCREAMS 1965. I am totally the Hannah of my generation, and I am also kind of the Mildred of my generation, as no one–and I mean no one–names their kid my name anymore, and you can never find pens or cups or magnets with my name. You can, however, find 187,000 Jacob pens and cups and magnets, which my name decidedly isn't).

However, when I was around four, my parents, who looked when I was four as they did in the picture above (look at how hot mom was), sat me down for an awareness session. We probably sat on the floor. We may have had tea. Anyway, they said, "June, man, you're your own person, man." (I didn't even really know how to pull my own tights up yet, but okay.) "Your name is June right now, but when you're ready, if you want to name yourself, you come tell us what you want your name to be."

I am not making this up.

I ruminated on this for several days, although my parents were forever springing new ideas like this on me, so it wasn't that big of a thang. They had once told me it was okay to swear. That one was fun, until I really started doing it and I sounded like the kid from The Exorcist and they decided my free expression wasn't cool.

Anyway, I sat them down for another awareness session. "Pam, John. I've wrapped my head around this, and I have a name. I am Sparkly Rose Blossom."

You guys. It is the BEST NAME EVER for me. I really AM Sparkly Rose Blossom. And I do not know why my parents ever had the cockamamie ideas, because they said no to this one, too, just like the swearing and also to the whole let's-sell-the-car-and-get-a-motorcycle-and-June-can-ride-in-a-side-car thing we considered for awhile.

At this point, Erin D., you probably wish you had never asked. But I really think that I perfectly captured my inner name at age four. So let's go to question two.

Arlene ponders, The word is strength. I keep hearing it pronounced as 'strenth' as though the g is silent. In ancient days we pronounced that g! It sounds so lazy when the g is dropped. Dear June, do you have any words of wisdom for me…other than "chill?"

Well, Arlene, I am the last person to tell you to chill, seeing as just today someone at work said "You must have been taken back when that woman hit Tallulah!" (which is another post) and what I was TAKEN BACK by was that yet another person thinks it's TAKEN BACK and not taken Aback. I found myself answering, "I WAS taken AAAAAAAback" in a way that I hoped would be subtle, but you know it wasn't. So me? Tell you to chill? Come on.

Anyway, Merriam Webster, who I would marry if he/she/it were available, and what a fine wedding portrait that would be, tells us that both pronunciations are acceptable, but that pronouncing the "g" is preferred. I looked into it a little, and it seems that NOT pronouncing the "g" seems to be a Midwest thing. I'd be interested in hearing from people–how do you say it and where are you from?

Patty asks, I am pretty good with grammar and punctuation, but I've always been stumped by "bring" and "take." I've heard the rule a hundred times, and usually it's pretty intuitive, so I know which to use, but sometimes I don't know. Can you help?

Well. This is not an easy one, Patty. And let me tell you, when I have a question like this, and people start saying things like "object of the preposition" and all that crap (not that that applies here in the slightest, but you know what I mean, when they use all that English major gobbledygook, and I AM an English major!), I just get even more confused. And also really, really bored.

So what works best for me is a game of some sort. So here is my game for bring and take.  When you travel, you take. "Take a good bra with you when you go to A&W." You use "take" when the action is away from the speaker. So that's how I remember it, the "t" for travel. (Grammar Girl remembers "take" and "takeout food." You don't get "bringout" food.)

When the action is toward you, use bring. I am having the action come toward me. "Bring me that supportive undergarment." So I remember the I in bring.

Now, when the action can go either way? "I might bring/take a set of falsies with me next time I go to A&W." Believe it or not, either is acceptable.

Hyphen Mama, who apparently gave birth to hyphens and I would like to hear about that, asks, Why is it that I'm not allowed to "feel badly", I'm only allowed to "feel bad" (to "feel badly" would mean that I'm not able to feel very well). But I can miss somebody very badly, I can do badly on an exam and I can smell badly?

Mom of many hyphens, (well, really, I don't know how many hyphens you gave birth to. Maybe you are just hyphen mama to one. Are you planning to have more hyphens? Is there an em dash in the future? Okay, I'll stop.) "badly" is an adverb, which means it describes a verb. And there I go doing the thing I said bored me and made me confused.

So what I mean is, when people say they feel badly, as you know, what they are saying is they are not doing well at feeling something, like their fingers are numb or something.

Same thing if you say you smell badly. You are saying that you can't smell anything. The correct way to say it would be "I smell bad."

Grammar Girl says use "bad" with words having to do with feel, taste, and smell.

People get confused by this because it IS correct to say "She behaved badly" because "behaved" is a verb. So is "do," which is why it's correct to do badly on an exam.

CariOkie, who has the best name ever, wonders, How can I take anyone seriously who consistently says nucular when referring to nuclear energy? And I'm not just referring to George W. I hear it all the time!! Of course, I live in the part of the country where everyone is always "fixin" to do something, and where the phrase "all y'all" pops up regularly.

Cari and your Okie, I too am bothered quite a bit by the noocuular thing, but you know what? People think I am going to be bothered by vernacular stuff like "fixin' " and for some reason I never am. I am kind of delighted by it, actually. Okay, "all y'all" is pretty bad only because it is redundant.

But when I lived in California I loved learning all the Hispanic words like meja, which I guess is spelled meja, I don't even know if it's a real word, and all the really wonderful insults I learned from the African American women I worked with, like calling people heifer ("That heifer better not think she's leaving early.") And if you think I haven't learned 12 million hilarious Southern phrases already (my favorite thus far has been "grinning like a possum eating s**t off a hairbrush") (because really, you can so SEE how wide of a grin that would be. It is just so perfect. And so something my grandmother would have said had she ever learned that particular phrase).

And none of what I said above counted as incorrect English, but what I mean is, the fixin' and the axe and the Canadian "eh" and all that? I like 'em.

So I guess like the Nester, I think it doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful. But I would like it to be correct as often as possible. Does that make sense?

43 thoughts on “Ask June III: Revenge of the Sith

  1. Sid Leavitt says:

    As a former typographer (before becoming a reporter and editor), I congratulate you on using the term ’em dash’ in this post. Yes, you and I do live in a small world.


  2. Mother says:

    To pal from ma. I’m glad I could help you out, and I’m glad that you and June are still in touch. Your name is the essence, the quitessential ’60’s name. After all, both Elvis and Pricilla chose it.


  3. Mother says:

    Notice how your mother is affectionate, but your father is not. It’s not that I’m bitter, it’s just that I am reminded. Also, people have commented on how pretty your mother is. I really like that. Thanks folks, and especially you Ian.


  4. Elsie says:

    My former sister-in-law was born in 1955 and shares your first name…if I have correctly recalled your actual name. My name is shared with no one under the age of 85, however.
    Go to to find out what rank your name was in various years…all the way back to 1879. Mine made it to #31 in 1896 and 1897. Hmmm…I see it dropped off the top 1000 list from 1976 – 2004 but is back now. Yours has maintained a constant presence on the list in 1928.
    This is a really cool part of the Social Security Administration website.


  5. Your Pal from MA says:

    Hi June! Do love the Ask June installments!
    As you know, I also have one of those rusty old sixties/seventies names. If I hear of someone named my name, I know for certain she’s in her forties or nearing it!
    Have you explained to your dear readers why you call your Mom and Dad by their first names? I remember when we were kids and I thought that was so odd!
    Do you remember that it was actually your Mom who finally taught me how to tie my shoelaces?
    And, lastly, now I know where I developed my severe fear of clowns! At YOUR house!!! How creepy! (And, very un-hippy-ish!)


  6. Culpepper says:

    I love Ask June. You are so informative yet witty. The picture of your parents is fabulous. You mother is so pretty and your father reminds me of Jim Croce. As a child of the 60’s (who also has a name you never hear anymore) I have found that in the history of time there has NEVER been an item created with my first name on it. It sucks when your friends leave the store with their cute personalized items and your bag is empty. Weird names (or at least out dated names) stink!


  7. “Happier than a possum eating s**t off a hairbrush”? Fabulous! Ranks right up there with “Slicker than snot on a doorknob” (which someone actually used in a normal conversation). Also, I would like to add “fustrated” to our list of obnoxiously mispronounced words.


  8. June says:

    Now everyone is going to think my name is Beverly.
    Also, a friend in college used to get all worked up because in the cafeteria when they served french dip? They used to say, “Would you like that with au jus?” My friend was a French major, and apparently the “au” already means “with.” So “with au jus” was just too much for her. You can imagine how she felt about Burger King’s croissandwich.


  9. Sharone says:

    I have to chime in with some of the other commenters and tell you that I never knew anyone with your real name (except for one opera singer, and she was fabulous) until the last maybe 1 1/2 years, when I met not only you, but three other delightful young whippersnappers born after 1980. So maybe your name is enjoying some kind of mini-revival.
    Plus, also, too, I pronounce the g in “strength” and hate “nucular” (really??), although the mispronunciations that really get me going are those where the person just isn’t reading carefully and doesn’t really care–like saying “tostadO” when the menu says “tostadA,” or “Pandido” when it’s really “Pannido.” Or, when I used to work at an ice cream parlor, “Jamoca Almond Fudge” when the menu clearly said “Mocha Almond Fudge.”
    Hmmm, these are all about food. I guess maybe I just get all worked up when food doesn’t get its propers. R-E-S-P-E-C-T, that’s all I’m saying.


  10. arlene says:

    The regional pronunciations are fascinating. Actually it is surprising we have them anymore. Radio, TV, and movies have tried to “generic’ our language. Long may the dialects twang!
    The first time I noticed someone saying “strenth” was on one of the home shopping networks. An older lady with a bajillion facelifts was hawking miracle lotions to keep your face young and natural looking. She kept yakking about the ‘strenth’ of her products. She has long ago lost anything natural looking about her!


  11. Tee says:

    Being a native Georgian, I’m into y’all and fixin, but to axe a questions just!!!! An axe is something you use to chop wood. To see an “educated” person stand before a very large group of educated people, as in church, and use “axe” makes me want to stand up and scream “IT’S ASK, NOT AXE”!!!!! ROFL about the heifer comment. We once suspended an employee for calling a fellow employee a “red heifer”. You just can’t have women fighting on the job.


  12. Ree says:

    I have one of those 1960-ish Michigan names, too. When someone said it in the hallways at school, half the girls turned around! I think you are so a Sparkly Rose Blossom.
    Strength with the g sound.


  13. Jenene says:

    I’m from central Canada, now living on WA. I have always said “strength” and I have never heard anyone pronounce it differently. I’ve also been using “ya’ll” for quite some time now, even though I’m Canadian.


  14. Adrienne says:

    Hot damn grammar is boring. I like to fill up that space in my brain with curse words and insults. Thanks for including the portion about the shit eating grin, it saved the post for me 😉


  15. Hyphen Mama says:

    Bwahahaha… really, what’s it like living inside your mind? That’s rhetorical… not an Ask June question. But really, I wish I could vacation inside your mind for a week or so. I’d be a much better person on the flip side.
    I’ve only birthed 2 hyphens and as simple as it probably sounds to birth a hyphen, you’d be surprised at how complicated it really is.
    Um, can I copy/paste your a-MAZE-ing Grammar Girl tips into a booklet? Seriously, no teacher (grade school through college) ever explained it that well. Have you ever thought of writing a book (okay, again rhetorical… as I’ve read a few past posts and I know the answer to that).
    And I pronounce the G in strength. Born in Nebraska (I NEVER EVER admit that), raised in Colorado. Forgetting the G in strength annoys me like people who call kindergarten KINNYgarden. Or call Ninety NINEY. Okay, I’ll stop.


  16. shana says:

    “All ya’ll” is not redundant. It’s the plural form of ya’ll.


  17. June says:

    My father with the large hands also says “warsh.” His parents were from West Virginia. Must be a West Virginia-ish thing.


  18. Bambi says:

    In my part of the country we say “warsh” instead of “waaaash”. “I’m going to go warsh the clothes now”. Drives my kids nuts!!


  19. Gladys says:

    June I so agree about the clowns. If you want to know why read this story. It will give you an idea of why I HATE clowns.!83D9B59407F3C62F!953.entry
    Clowns are EVIL!


  20. Kari says:

    I think “all Y’all” is cute! But that’s probably b/c I’m from the midwest, so I don’t hear it a lot.
    Your parents are adorable, and I love your choice for your name. Although, it might make things a bit difficult in adulthood. Can you imagine a grown-up named “Sparkly”? Outside of a strip club, that is.
    My Dh’s biggest grammar pet peeve is when people say “up under” as in, “The hat is up under that shelf over there”. Drives him nuts!


  21. phasejumper says:

    Ok…I’m the most naive person alive. I totally thought your name was June. (I have no clue of what your real name could be since I was born in ’79. I share a name with a slightly younger pop singer turned train wreck.) I am from Indiana, educated in Florida and live in Ohio and I always use the “g” in strength. However, I can’t stop myself from using “boughten”.(As in, “If I had known it was bad, I wouldn’t have boughten it.”) I know it is not a word, but it keeps coming out of my mouth….


  22. pendy says:

    Y’all is never singular; it refers to a bunch of folks. ALL y’all refers to every single one of those folks. Also, the emphasis is pronounced on the ‘all’ so it comes out as ALL y’all.


  23. chacha says:

    Ok, so one of my friends in catholic grammar school was named your real name and she was born in ’78, like me (in fact one day younger than me). So I’m thinking that at least through the early 80’s it was still a cool name.
    And I pronounce the “g” in “strength” – I am a Mass-hole, though.
    Speaking of annoying pronunciations – the thing that drives me BONKERS is “height” pronounced “heighth” with the “th” sound at the end. I want to crawl out of my skin when I hear it. That must be incorrect, no? That and when someone says “The leftovers will get ate” instead of “eaten.” Oh, drives me MAD.


  24. ASHLEY says:

    I will defend the phrase “all y’all!”
    So y’all can be singular. Usually we do this for emphasis.
    We’d use all y’all to emphasize more than one y’all.
    And now I sound crazy. I’m thinkin’ ALL Y’ALL are crazy! 🙂


  25. J says:

    Where I come from one might hear, “if I haffa get up, I’monna come down there and kick all ya’lls asses”.
    Love your Sparkly Rose Bosom.


  26. Actually I don’t remember that story.
    And hey! My sister is named the same as you, with one letter creatively different, and she was born in 1989. So I guess my parents were a little behind, besides being orthographically challenged.


  27. Gladys says:

    Ok first let me say that Sparkly Rose Blossom is just the coolest ever name. My mother wanted to name me a really cool 1950’s name “April May” yes she wanted to name me after two months cause you know why???? Here name was JUNE and my grandmother’s name???? MAY! Yeah I’m am so glad she called me Gladass instead. Oh and I’m all over the all y’all and over yonder. Just exactly where is yonder and why am I over it?


  28. Frost & Oddrey says:

    Your Mom is so pretty in this photo. I always thought she was attractive but, wow….what a cutie she was. And from this photo i can see some resemblance to your pappy.


  29. Frost & Oddrey says:

    Your Mom is so pretty in this photo. I always thought she was attractive but, wow….what a cutie she was. And from this photo i can see some resemblance to your pappy.


  30. Frost & Oddrey says:

    Your Mom is so pretty in this photo. I always thought she was attractive but, wow….what a cutie she was. And from this photo i can see some resemblance to your pappy.


  31. Shelley says:

    I pronounce the g in strength. I’m not sure I’ve ever heard anyone not pronounce it. Strenth? I’m not in the midwest though.
    However, I am in the southwest, which is how I know that “mija” is an endearment towards one’s female offspring, the combination of the words mi (my) and hija (daughter). Similarly, you could call a son mijo. The j has an “h” sound. I know you know that, but others might not.
    So, is your real name Lisa, Susan, or Linda? 🙂 I think Sparkly Rose Blossom is my favorite.


  32. arlene says:

    June (aka Sparkly Rose Blossom), thanks for the clarification. I had never thought that it might be a regional thing. And thank you for the badly needed refresher course on badly. Ok, I’m good now.
    By the way…”SAG award” *SNORT*


  33. Laurie White says:

    Also presently is spelled presently not presentily…*le sigh*


  34. Laurie White says:

    I presentily live in Canada on the west coast, have lived in the ‘middle’ too. Lived in Tucson for a bit and Ireland ( the republic) for nearly three. In all places the g is what gives the word strength!
    Something that bugs me is people improperly using ‘wound up’ as in ” He wound up dead” NO! He could end up dead but not wind up dead. Grrr.


  35. June says:

    Oh, and P.S. To the right of my father? Up there on the wall? Horrifying clown picture. One of about 17 horrifying clown pictures in the house. It’s like my parents went to the “Paintings That Will Scar Your Child and Make Her a Little Twitchy Forever” store for all their artwork.
    And behind mom, there, in the kitchen? Scary Simon and Garfunkel picture. Are you going to scar your own child? Parsley sage rosemary and thyme (to scare me).


  36. Bonnie says:

    Hey, June,
    I mean Sparkly Rose Blossom. GREAT name. I’m a native Hoosier and I pronounce the “g” in “strength.” (Then again, I’ve lived in New York State 40 years.) I also learned to love A&W frosty-mug root beer in Indiana. Wish I could join in your repast. My mouth is watering. Too concentrated on the food to notice anything sagging.


  37. June says:

    Oh, haven’t I ever mentioned it before? My father has 27 fingers. Hunh. You’d have thought I’d have brought it up before this.


  38. Paula FROM NEW YORK, DAMMIT says:

    What is with your hippie father’s HANDS? They are HUGE and it looks like he has way too many fingers! Scary.
    I am from New York and we pronounce the “g” in strength. We pronounce the “g” in the word before it too, to wit, “f***ing strength.”


  39. Heather S says:

    It is pronounced with a “g” in North Dakota.


  40. CariOkie says:

    Thanks for answering my burning question. I was fixin to tell you I was raised in the midwest and always pronounce the “g” in strength. Y’all is handy and takes the place of the plural “you” found in other languages. All y’all is a bit much, but it’s better than a sharp stick in the eye, as my mother would say.


  41. Bethie says:

    Pennsylvania is close to Midwest, so I thought I would share a few pronunciation funnies. A true Pennsylvanian will say Pennsavania, tempature, foward, and strenth. The strenth of a person in Pennsavania is based on the ability to look foward when the tempature is low.


  42. Cat says:

    Frankly, I think Sparkly Rose Blossom is just about the perfect name. Don’t you hate when parents tell you can do something then they change their minds and say no you can’t do it? My kids sure hate it when I do that to them.


  43. I almost didn’t make it past your correct bosom support comment but I persevered, and I’m so glad I did b/c I too am bothered by all of these things, and if I wasn’t before, I will be now, b/c I always remember these silly rules after I hear them. So thanks. I think.


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