I know English is a living language, so I expect it to change.
Yet, some changes bother me. For example, the "-ly" at the end of adverbs is gradually disappearing. A television guest the other day said, "That suits me perfect."
Then there is the wrong use of pronouns. "Me and my friends went to that movie," or the other sad utterance: "That’s between you and I."
However, I am totally irritated by or left hopelessly bemoaning the increasingly common use of two words: ‘guys’ and ‘grab.’ Even more annoying, the two words are often wedded to each other in the same sentence.
We go out to eat. We are greeted with, "How are you guys tonight?" Guys?
Plural? There’s only my husband with me. I bite my tongue.
Most of my life, the term ‘guys’ has referred to men. Now it seems to cover both genders, including women sans any male.
Next the server comes by while we’re mid-way through our meal and asks, "Can I grab you guys anything else?"
None of the meanings in my Canadian Oxford Dictionary for ‘grab’ would make sense in the server’s question.
One night at a local restaurant I couldn’t stand the "grab" and "guys" anymore.
After we paid our bill, I spoke with our server and explained my position gently. "Please don’t call your diners guys when it is obvious that some are female. Also, please don’t ask if you can grab anything for them."
He stood there quietly taking in my words. Then he politely asked, "What can I say instead?"
His question surprised me. I answered, "Well, you could ask, ‘How are you tonight?’ Just omit the word guy. You could ask, ‘Is there anything else you’d like?’ or ‘Could I get you something else?’"
Of course, by this time in my life I realize the proper use of "could" and "may" is going by the boards faster than a streak of lightning. I’m letting that happen. However, I want the "guys" and "grab" changes to have a violent end.
Weeks passed. Once again we were at the same restaurant. Who should wait on us but the same young man.
"Do you remember me?" I asked.
He nodded. I said, "I am so pleased that you didn’t use guys or grab when you served us tonight."
"You know," he said, "it was so hard to get rid of them."
Then to my horror a week ago I heard myself saying, "I’ll be right out. I just need to grab something." I guess my battle against grab is lost.
Oh well, there is still the use of guys for males and females to stamp out, or I can hope my fondest dream comes true.
I can hardly wait to hear two men being greeted with, "How are you gals tonight?"
Jeannette Timmerman is a community correspondent for Fort Richmond.