Monday, November 7, 2011

Bunker down or Hunker down?

Last night I almost died laughing. I certainly lost a lot of sleep due to uncontrolled fits of giggles.

Here’s why.

Last night I learned a very valuable lesson – the hard way.

The lesson is this, ‘never ever use Google to prove a point unless you have already checked exactly what results are shown first’.

My wife is my harshest critic (If you discount the opinion of the millions of internet users who still refuse to read anything at all here at Glen’s Life). I hate showing things that I’ve written to Jo. She always frowns or screws up her face at things, or shrugs her shoulders non-committedly at passages that I’d been really impressed with. She’s not a monster, she just has a better grip on grammar than I do and just can’t look past it.

She thinks I’m having an affair with commas. She has this theory that I am somewhat comma happy. She’s right. I use them far too freely (I am trying very hard not to do that today). Jo is considerably higher educated than I am and is a teacher, so I do accept her opinion on this. Unfortunately I’m the one with the passion for writing, so you’ll just have to put up with my comma love.   

To get slowly to the point, last night I asked Jo to read through the ‘first draft’ of my competition fiction story (actually it was my third and very carefully edited draft, but I told Jo it was my first so that she wouldn’t get too upset at the remaining  typos). I’ve been working on that for a couple of weeks, discovering just how hard it can be to write a story when you really want it to be taken seriously. I knew Jo would sniff out the one or two last mistakes that I’d missed during my read through.

First of all a miracle happened.

She liked it.


How often does your partner actually like your work? I know, well neither does mine.

Then we sat to discuss mistakes.

I couldn’t believe it. Paragraph after paragraph had to be tweaked. Not the story or anything, but commas. Occasional grammar tweaks here and there but mainly commas. Jo just looks and says “why is there a comma there?” or “full stop capitol letter” on auto – she is such a teacher. I was getting pretty fed up and mildly grumpy. I’d put so much effort into this story and was very proud of my work. Why was it so far off the mark? I have to repeat that I do trust my wife on these things.


When she screwed up her nose and asked “What does that even mean then?” about a phrase I’d used, I decided to dig my heels in. “What do you mean ‘bunkered’ down?”  She asked. I explained and was told that I actually meant ‘hunkered’ down. “No” I said, “I meant ‘bunkered’ down. Just because you don’t know the bloody phrase doesn’t make me wrong”. I’d had enough of being taught things. I use this phrase often enough. How dare she just pass me off as wrong just because she doesn’t use it? The nerve of the woman! I told her in no uncertain terms that it’s my damned story and if I want to use a term of phrase then I will do and I won’t be changing it just because she isn’t travelled enough to have heard of it, thank you very much.

The argument went on for a while until I made a decision. The matter needed putting to bed once and for all. I had a point to prove and the internet would help me make it. I knew that my bunkered down was the right term, not Jo’s crappy hunkered down, so I said “Right then – I’ll prove it”

Without bothering to do any research first and with Jo looking over my shoulder, I Googled ‘bunkered down’. The results would quickly prove her wrong and force an apology out of her.

Never do this.


Always check first.

Here is the very first page of results that comes back if you use Google to search the phrase ‘bunkered down’, while your irate wife watches.

Quietly, while Jo was busily distracted holding on to her pelvic floor, I made a barely noticeable alteration to my text.



Teachinfourth said...

Wow, life lesson learned...the hard way.

Glen said...

Tell me about it :-)

Kristy said...

Nothing like grammar wars to keep vim and vigor in the marriage!

Badger said...

I have just checked - It is 'Badger's Dictionary of Modern English Usage'. So you are say to use it . However - research is not spelt the way it is under your photo - but I gave them ten quid anyway.

Wanderlust said...

LOL. Better start striking out those commas!

glen'slife - the wife said...

It's capital letters! Not capitol. Grrrr.

Glen said...

aaaaaaggghghhhhhh Why couldn't I have married Sharon? She was thick and never once noticed my mistakes!

Glen said...

Kristy - I refer you to the above

Badger - you sir, are a gentleman

Wanderlust - so are you :-D

Beach Bum said...

It may not be any comfort but at least you can get your wife to read your writing. Several years ago back when I started to get "serious" over this hobby of writing I made the mistake of asking my wife to read some of my stuff.

The look I got from her was the same one you might give a foolish child who shows you some scribbling on a piece of paper he or she thinks is art.

Since my wife is an attorney, with an appropriate bad attitude, and figuring that my ego could not handle a full assault on my precious endeavors I just leave her out of the loop.

DangGina said...

Ever since they've totally redone blogspot, I've lost track of my the blogs I follow--not sure where the devil to find that list--and I don't have their blog addresses memorized. So. I blame blogspot for my absence. Deepest apologies.

PS Hhahahahaahaha! Love the post!

Glen said...

Beach - I usually do leave Jo out of it until it's published - it's better that way!

Dang Gina - no apology needed - cheers

UleyGirl said...

bloody bloody brilliant. And I think I might say 'bunkered' down, I can't remember now. I thought it was a world war 1 term when you all lay down in your bunkers (??!) or something. Maybe that's batten down the hatches I'm confusing it with?
She;s right isn't she?

Glen said...

She usually is :-)

David C Elgear said...

My wice was not sure if it was "bunkered" or "hunkered" either. I informed her of the correct terminology and then started to doubt myself. I googled "hunkered" and was pleased with myself. See asked me to check "bunkered" to placate her curiosity and I came up with the same definition. We both had a laugh, which led me to your blog, and here I am. I added a few commas for your enjoyment.
Have a great day Glen, we will be hunkered down in our house withthe impending snowstorm.

Anonymous said...

Glen, you just need to move to Australia. Our dictionary has "bunkered down" (as in retreat from the outside world to a place of isolation). I've been researching since getting a complaint for using it. The editors at Macquarie Dictionary say the origins of "hunker down" are from the US military. And you can definitely hunker down in your bunker!