Mama Vicky Says … I’m lost at sea without my GM!

A dictionary.
A dictionary.

I haven’t posted anything new in quite some time. I have wanted to, but my General Manager (GM) has been gone for a few days. Daphne is my GM as most of you know. Without her to run the good ship Mama Vicky Says… I flounder. I honestly do not know how to post my articles. Pretty sad state of affairs, right? I am like a fish out of water. I have asked to learn, but it is obviously faster if she does it herself and doesn’t have mom along for the ride. However, I intend to learn for sure. I am a do-it-yourselfer and don’t like to rely on other people to do something I should be able to do.  She enjoys directing the ship and so I have let it ride. I asked her last night if I just went on the site and posted an article. I am thinking it has to be simple. She told me there was more to it than that, like changing fonts, and importing pictures, etc.  I guess that’s true if I don’t want the blog to look like the classified ad section of the newspaper. So, right now, all I can say is, “Hurry home, Daphne!”

This next has nothing to do with being computer illiterate, just illiterate. There are words that people mangle that sends me right up the wall. I have a real grammar and English fetish. It drives me nuts to hear words misused or changed in to verb participles that they weren’t meant to be in. I don’t know if you are familiar with Lynn Truss. She is an Englander with a fetish for perfect grammar and punctuation as well. She wrote a book, entitled Eats, Shoots, and Leaves. On the cover of the book is a cute Panda bear eating some leaves. The title in itself is a play on punctuation.

There are two words that I hear frequently used in places of employment, including my current gig, that are mangled into words that do not exist. No matter how many times I say these words are misused, nothing changes and I hear them over again. Bad grammar to me is like nails on a chalkboard to someone else. I have heard nails on a chalkboard and I don’t get why people cringe. What’s the deal? Maybe you kind readers can fill me in on the scoop.

Two of the words that currently have me in a dither are mandation and orientate. In the context of my work, employees can be mandated. This means that an employee who is mandated, aka given the directive, has to stay past their shift and work extra because of a shortage of staff. The next shift will invariably ask, “Were there any mandations?” Ouch! There is no such word as mandation! The appropriate question would be, “Was anyone mandated?” It is not that hard.

Let us consult the dictionary. Now you may as well know that at our house we don’t have a paperback version of the collegiate dictionary. We have the mother of almost all mothers hardbound Webster’s New Universal Unabridged Dictionary which has over 315,000 entries and other special features. This is one of “those” dictionaries that belongs on its own pedestal like you see in libraries. (Mine does not have a classy pedestal for 2 reasons: 1) a pedestal costs money, which I am chronically short on; and 2) there is not room in my tiny condo for one other thing.)

So consulting Webster, the word mandate means an edict, decree, or ruling as a noun. The verb form indicates that someone is telling someone what to do. The verb mandate is conjugated as mandate – mandating – or mandated. Someone who gives a decree is called a mandatory and someone who is holding a decree, or mandate, is a mandatary. And something you are required to perform is said to be mandatory, as in it is mandatory for an RN to a license in order to work.

Nowhere is mandation listed. Egads! No why I am carrying on about this? Because I hear it many times daily. In fact it is the title of the flowsheet in which we keep track of who’s been mandated last. I will confess that the last time I made an entry in this log, I took my blue Sharpie and crossed out Mandation and put Mandate. No, I am not a fanatic.

The other word I mentioned is orientate. I have always believed that I am orienting a new employee to the business. This person is in orientation. When training is completed, the person has been oriented and is now working on his/her own. The orientation lasts two weeks, etc., etc. Who came up with that awkward word – orientate? It sounds like the speaker is stuttering, right? So let’s consult my hefty Webster’s Dictionary and set the speakers who use the word orientate straight. I find orient, orientation, which is the act or process (Another word that grates on my nerves. But that’s for another time.) of orienting.

As I look further I think I have actually found an error in Webster’s. Can that be? There is an entry for orientate!!! That is impossible. Orientate conjugates into orientated and orientating. And they mean the verb to orient. There is no way! There is just no way!

So the next time someone uses that foul word “orientate” I just have to cringe and bear it. And even worse, I can’t tell them they are wrong! I feel a bout of gastritis coming on. I had better get my hot water bottle and take to my bed for I am really feeling ill.

I’ll bet there is no way to mess up the word ornithosis! Blog you later!

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