So, like, I totally speak like a Valley Girl, you know?


First of all, thank you for taking the time to read, comment and/or email! I appreciate it very much.


I had no idea that I apparently say “like” and “you know” so often!

I don’t talk like that, usually….at least, I don’t THINK I do….I’m going to have to speak to one of my more honest friends about that and get his or her opinion.

I’m hoping it was only because I was so nervous, being in the room with the headphones and the microphone and everything being live! That was truly nerve-wracking! I was trembling the whole time.

I have much more to say about the interview, but I’ll post later. I found a few errors in the Theatre District on my way home, and I’ll be posting the pictures in a bit.

Again, thank you for the emails and comments — and thank you for pointing out how annoying I really sound live! šŸ™‚


13 responses to “So, like, I totally speak like a Valley Girl, you know?

  1. The audio is on the NPR site now. I’ve just started listening and I noticed the woman introduced you as KELLY McCulley!

  2. Here’s what I don’t understand: if you’re so concerned about the missing comma in “Run Easy Boston”, then why aren’t you even more upset about the fact that “easy” is an adjective, which is used to modify a noun, not an adverb. Shouldn’t it be “Run Easily, Boston”? In fact, I think the greater offense is the adjective/adverb mixup.

  3. I thought you sounded just like yourself! No formal “I’m doing an interview” voice, it seemed pretty close to how you talk to people in person. I guess you use “you know” and “like” a lot, but who in our age bracket doesn’t? Maybe if you want to turn this into a career you’ll have to become more polished?

    BTW, is your work going to be upset that you announced you are looking for a new job?

    Also, you may want to take some steps to protect your privacy now that you’re becoming more well known.

    Great job! I was impressed!

  4. I heard you on NPR and I must say I’m pretty disappointed. I find your schtick limited and your tone preachy. Come back in a few years when you’ve had a chance to finesse your approach.

  5. I listened to your interview on NPR and did not realize you spoke like a valley girl.
    Don’t know what those people are talking about.
    Pinky in California

  6. David Wohl, if you go back into GV’s archives, you’ll see her arguments support yours. The fact is that she had a packet of comma stickers from “Eats, Shoots and Leaves” and could fix the comma error on the spot. In that moment she became the Grammar Vandal. It’s not that she overlooked the use of “Easy” versus “Easily;” it’s that the tools at her disposal only allowed her to copyedit the one mistake.

    At least that’s how I understand the story.

  7. Remember, Ms. Mc., you’ll always have bad reviews and naysayers with megaphones blabbing your way, especially now that you’re being featured in the media.

    So don’t worry about Ramona’s comment. I disagree with her.

    I think there’s a major niche for your platform.

    Keep up the good work……and remember KPBS’ “A Way With Words” podcast on iTunes. It’s free.

  8. Kate,

    I admire and applaud what you are doing. It takes a bit of gumption to uphold a standard like that when most couldn’t care less. I, too, have some pet peeves concerning communication. I believe that you, as well as many others your age, need to work on the art of speaking when it comes to everyday communication. Your generation is quite able to communicate within itself without adherence to rules that enable those of us born in the ’40s and ’50s to understand you. I’m sure your nervousness led you to speak faster than normal, but the use of “like” and “you know” is not easily forgiven even though Alexa apparently thinks it’s OK, since everyone in your “age bracket” does it. As one who is particulary sensitive to bad punctuation, you should also be concerned about the question marks you put in place of periods in your speech. I am a businessman who receives many voice mail messages during a typical day. Many messages from younger (and a few older) people require two, three, and sometimes more hearings in order to figure out exactly what the message is. It makes me feel that they value their time so much more than mine, that it’s all right to waste a bit of mine.
    I still admire what you are doing. I would be most grateful if you would start sending the message to your peers that good and proper spoken communication is also essential in our society.

  9. Hi Kate,

    I heard your interview this afternoon on KVCR-FM in San Bernardino, California. I truly enjoyed your style and personality. While you may be a novice at this sort of thing, I suspect you could have a future in radio – perhaps a weekly “Grammar Vandal” segment on NPR would be appropriate.

    I found it ironic šŸ˜‰ that the Grammar Vandal would use one of MY pet peeves in her speech. Specifically you referred to when you were a little girl rather than when you were a young girl. From my perspective you are STILL a little girl at 5-foot two, while you are no longer a young girl but rather are now a young woman in age.

    Keep up the great work. I love your attitude!

    Best Regards,

  10. I’d never heard of you before, but I caught your interview tonight on NPR. As an ancient teacher of English (since 1964), I was thrilled to hear a young person so passionate about grammar! Keep up the good work. However, I noticed several things I’d like to point out to you: You used the phrase “the reason why…” in the interview and in your blog. One never says “the reason why” or “the reason is because.” Simply say “the reason is.” Also in your interview, I strongly disagreed with the answer you gave the man about someone’s having “gone missing.” Actually, the phrase I usually hear is that soandso “went missing.” My objection is based not on grammar but on logic: That usage sounds as if the person made a conscious decision to “go” missing, the same way someone would decide to “go” shopping. Yet ordinarily, when a person is unexpectedly missing, everyone presumes he/she has met some unplanned fate, such as an accident or kidnapping. The phrase “going missing” has been problematic for me ever since its inception, regardless of whether it’s used with a past participle or any other form. Last, I noticed your use of the word “secondly” on your blog. This is one of the first lessons my AP English Lang. & Comp. students learn! That word simply doesn’t exist (in spite of my preacher’s insistence on using it in every Sunday sermon). It’s just first, second, third, etc.

    You say you’re self-taught; in that case, the best investment you could make (and it isn’t much money) is the classic Elements of Style by Strunk and White. And do keep being a grammar vandal!

  11. I was like, totally listening to you’re every word with a smile on my face and thinking of going back to third grade to learn me some better language skills- Maybe David Wohl can teach me…

  12. You might be more accurate calling yourself the “apostrophe vandal” if you really need a “vandal”-type label.

    Your grammar on NPR was appalling. Please learn how to diagram a sentence and you will have a better understand of the structure of the English language. Or better yet take several years of Latin, French, Spanish and Italian. Those Romance languages really use grammar correctly (most of the time) and they clarify English nicely. (Note that I used the adverb there.)

  13. Whoops, I meant “understanding”, not “understand” in my previous post. Back to the old diagramming tool, or better editing skills, for me…

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