Tuesday, January 12, 2010

An Everyday Experience

 I think I could start a daily blog just collecting instances of every day versus everyday confusion. Once again, for the record, everyday is the adjective meaning "commonplace," every day is your standard adjective-and-noun platonic coupling. So, an everyday occurrence can happen once in while, or it can happen every day.  Considering there is a 50/50 chance of getting it right, why does it seem that you're more likely to find the wrong usage? Or is it just that this grievance has become a personal fetish of mine, so I'm seeing examples everywhere?

A couple of cases in point from yesterday. I was buying a loaf of crusty sourdough at the local Cobs Bread (what--no apostrophe?) and offered the young man behind the counter--a surly youth with bad skin and an adam's apple the size of an eight-ball--a twenty-dollar bill for my three-buck loaf. He looked at it as if I had slapped a dead raccoon on the counter top.

"Got anything smaller?" he said finally.

"No, sorry. Just went to the ATM. That's all I've got."

He issued a weary theatrical sigh and let his bony shoulders sag even further, before opening a till that was chock-a-block with billls and coins of small denominations and completing the transaction.

I digress. Our focus is here is not the attitude of kids today (but c'mon, metalhead, you're serving customers in a bakery, not selling dime bags in the parking lot), it is the promotional flyer on display next to the abundantly-stocked cash register--the one with the tagline, bread for everyday. Everyday what?, I want to ask. Maybe next time, I'll get surly bakery youth to explain.

Later that afternoon, young Abby arrives home from her first grade class bearing a message from the teacher about the words Abby is to study this week to prepare for a test on Friday. (It seems to me when I was in first grade I was pretty much just trading hockey cards and eating paste, but there you go.) The message concludes:
It is my hope that your child will be able to transfer what they learn through this spelling program into their every day writing.
Grrr. It is my hope that my kids grow up in a world that recognizes a distinction between everyday writing and bread for every day.

And that they don't become surly bakery youths.