I have a lot of almost-words. These include words I write but can't pronounce, and also auto-correct words.
Auto-correct words are words that you know vaguely how to spell them or say them, so you get close enough that auto-correct figures out what word you are shooting for and fixes it for you. It works very well when typing. Not so well when speaking, because there is no auto-correct for conversation.
This wasn't a problem for most of my life. Most people I knew didn't really know the real word either, and if I was close enough, they let it slide. Or maybe they were polite.
It was only when I started dating someone who knew whole words, not just almost-words that I even realized how many I used in a given day. Then I went back to school and met a lot of people who knew actual words, and suddenly I felt only quasi-educated. Educated is different than intelligent, by the way. I try to remind myself that being less educated doesn't mean I'm less smart, it just means I failed to pay proper attention in class. If you know me in real life, this will not surprise you.
My kids have decent vocabularies, which of course I credit myself for. I never dumbed down my conversation with them and give them definitions to words they don't know. I also restricted them to a lot of PBS programming when they were little. I have to admit that words like "symbiotic" and "metamorphosis" were taught by the television. But then I can always fall back on my good genes to keep my ego at full tilt.
Until last night, that is. Last night I was hollering (hollering is kinder and less serious than yelling) at the kids to get ready for bed. Because they can tell the difference between a holler and a true yell, they were ignoring me.
Mama: I said, put your pajamas on!
Tiny Pants: I am! I'm getting myself situated!
Wait - did he say situated?
No, I was not filled with pride. That's not where I'm going with this. I was cold hard busted. Situated is one of my almost-words. I pronounce it "asituated" which is close, but not correct. I know that, but I've said it wrong for so many years that the wrong version sounds right.
I had to accept that his vocabulary is not coming from me anymore. He's speaking real actual words that I struggle to say, so someone else's influence is winning out. yeah, that school place I send him is doing their job.
But this means I have to step up my A game. I have to actually learn real words instead of almost-words, and be able to say them, not just write them using autocorrect. I better do it quick, before he catches on.
(Let's not even talk about diagraming sentences, which Big Pants is learning and I know nothing about.)