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Miss Manners: I’m worried my grandson will learn poor grammar from his other grandmother

Dear Miss Manners: I know very well that it is passe to correct others’ speaking grammar, and I don’t, but here is my situation.

I am a retired English professor who lives across the country from her grandson. Soon, the nearby grandmother will be taking on daily care of this grandson, and her grammar is poor. It is easy to say, “No worries — so long as the parents’ grammar is superior, the child will have enough other influences on his day-to-day speech,” but honestly, I am saddened to think that phrases like “I seen it” will be in his ear for hours on end on a daily basis.

I know my daughter needs child care help, and that loving care from a family member is a great thing. Still, I cringe.

I have cultivated a relationship with the other grandmother, and in texts, I often respond with a corrected form of the grammar she has just trounced (“Oh, you SAW that last week?”). When I do visit, we cook and listen to music together; I think about selecting tunes like “I Saw (not SEEN!!) Her Standing There.” If I did so, and she sang along, I wonder if that would be an opportunity to gently raise the issue, but I fall back on my former sense that one just does not do this.

I am looking now for toddlers’ books that reinforce grammar. Is there anything else that I can do?

I know as time goes on and travel becomes easier, I will see my grandson more, and as he grows, I am sure to, with him, reinforce proper grammar, but what will I say if he says, “But (other) Grandma says (insert nongrammatical phrase)”?

Children are good at compartmentalizing. Some can learn two different languages by speaking them to their parents separately. So surely your grandson can grasp the concept that (other) Grandma likes to talk one way and you like to use proper grammar.

Of course, Miss Manners trusts that you will not say it like that, or do anything else except blush when your grandson inevitably corrects (other) Grandma and looks to you. At least it will not have been you doing the correcting.

Dear Miss Manners: I’ve been dating a man for the third time. We are both in our early 70s. He’s been texting and calling quite a bit during this time.

I had decided to break up with him … again. But before I could say a word, he stopped texting and calling. So I stopped, too.

Is it bad form to leave it like this without saying goodbye, or good luck, or anything? I’m okay with ending things this way, but it doesn’t seem right. Maybe it’s easier for him?

For both of you, really. Perhaps he anticipated the breakup. Perhaps he assumed that eventually you would get back together again, so there was no need to go through the unpleasantness of formally ending it.

Either way, it seems to Miss Manners that you should take the win — and try not to resent him for ending it first.

New Miss Manners columns are posted Monday through Saturday on You can send questions to Miss Manners at her website, You can also follow her @RealMissManners.

©2022, by Judith Martin