Garrison Keillor: ...after a word from the Partnership of English Majors...


Tim Russell: Can I help the next person in line?

GK: I don't know-CAN you?

TR: What are you talking about, sir?

GK: Just that "can" means "able to" -- Are you ABLE to help the next person in line? Only you would know. What you meant to say was, "MAY I help you" -- may I be permitted to help you?

TR: Whatever. Anyway, this is the 10 items or less line.

GK: Actually, it's the 10 items or FEWER line. "Fewer" refers to number and "less" refers to amount. You'd say, "I ate less spaghetti than she did," but you'd say "I have fewer than ten items in my grocery cart."

TR: I don't know what you're talking about. I don't even like spaghetti. -- hopefully you have less than ten items in your cart, or otherwise MAY I tell you to get your ass over to the other line--

Sue Scott: I wish people wouldn't misuse the word "hopefully," --

GK: Oh, hi.
SS: Hi. You must be an English major too.

GK:: You?

SS: Yes, of course.

TR: Look-- I've got people waiting in line--

SS: Are you a writer too?
GK: I try.

SS: (GASP) Be still, my beating heart. I write memoirs.

GK: I do, too.

SS: How fortuitous. What a small wonderful world.

TR: Cash or charge, sir?

GK: I admire you sticking up for correct usage, especially of the adverb "hopefully" -- it's a battle I gave up long ago--

SS: You did?

GK: Sadly, yes. The language evolves and I'm afraid we must accept it.

SS: Frankly, I wish I could, but something bridles within me at the sound of it.

TR: Folks -- could we move it or park it?

GK: I admire you purists but I'm afraid I've moved on.

SS: Perhaps we ought to talk -- you and I --

GK: I'd love that--

TR: Paper or plastic?

SS: Might you have time now?

GK: Of course. Time is but the stream I go a-fishing in.

SS: Thoreau. Walden.

GK: Very good.

TR: People? Please--

SS: One of my favorite books when I was growing up.

GK: One of mine too. What are you reading now?

SS: Now?

GK: I mean, what are you reading these days?

SS: I've gone back to Dickens. "Little Dorrit".

GK: Lovely. I never read that--

SS: Everything Dickens wrote is so rich, so utterly teeming with life-- populated by feeling and color and tension--

TR (ON P.A.): Security to Cash Register 4, please. Security--

GK: In a world of casual violence to our language, when you do meet a fellow lover of English, why not take time to get acquainted? The Partnership of English Majors.

SS: We're different from others, so it behooves us to stick together.