1st Place story

A Comedy of Grammatical Errors

By Trevor Wisniewski

Sir Lancelot Oswalt was a man who deserved much respect. He’d worked diligently over the past 40 years at his estate in Colchester writing many poems that, though respected, are often patronized by his friends and family. The insults come solely from his adamant refusal to break any grammatical rules. Common curses like “Shut up” even sound ridiculous from Sir. Landon who instead says, “Up is the location in which I believe you should shut!” which, in all honesty, really lacks the punch the original saying had.

His editor, Wesley Davies, had scheduled Sir Landon to have an intellectual discussion with another man of stature named Hubert Davy. However, unlike Sir Landon Oswalt, the only reason Mr. Davy should be seen as a man of stature is due to his height. Hubert Davy had never done anything truly exceptional. While Sir Landon was writing his famous poem “The Mona Lisa: An Ode to the Eyebrowless”, Mr. Davy was writing his critically assaulted memoire “Religion and Other Things I Don’t Understand”, which quickly found it’s way to the reduced racks at book stores all across the British Isles.

Mr. Davy arrived at Sir Oswalt’s house where he was greeted by Davies and the good sir.

“Good day, Mr. Davy” exclaimed Mr. Oswalt.

“‘Ello sir! He slurred with much enthusiasm.

“May I take your coat?” asked Mr. Davies. He swiftly walked over and took the man’s coat. He rubbed some dust off the shoulder and tossed it on the shelf inside the door.

“I appreciate your organizing this, Davies,” said Sir Oswalt. “It’s always good to have a sound discussion with another intellectu–”

“Excuse me, sir!” interjected Mr. Davy, “I believe you will find my name is ‘Davy’ and that I did not, in fact, organize this. Your editor did!” Oswalt formally introduced the two men who bore similar last names.

“Mr. Davy, meet my editor, Mr. Davies, “ said Sir Oswalt with a rash movement of his hands gesturing towards each of the men. They entered the house where Oswalt and Davy sat down for some tea.

Mr. Davies put down the tea for the men and a large package of biscuits before escorting himself out of the room politely.

“The tea is quite good,” commented Davy.

“Yes, I obtained it on my most resent expedition to Rome. It seems the roman’s know how we enjoy our leisurely drinks”, replied Sir Oswalt before sipping his tea

“I was devastated to hear their empire had fallen.”

“What was that?” Oswalt asked, confused. Davy ignored him and reached for another biscuit. Mr. Davy leaned forward toward Sir Oswalt.

“So, Sir Oswalt, I read your most recent poem.”

“Ah, yes. Did you enjoy it?” inquired Oswalt.

“Well, I must say I truly enjoyed the way you compared the entirety of human existence to that unique little area one square centimeter large located three centimeters down the side of a medium-sized flower pot where the second largest leaf rests slightly. I found that comparison to be so specific. I connected quite well with it.”

“Yes, I just loved the forced, laboured stretch of metaphor. I enjoyed writing that poem. How do you feel about the name?”

“Are you joking? Were there a fine name to pick, you most definitely would’ve found it! How could anyone improve upon a name like The Omnisided Leaf Adjacent to the Red Cup of Tepid Milk?” You must have worked incredibly hard to not include the cup. Obviously it was intended, since the reader would expect to hear about a cup but be left with just a jar full of mental images!”

“There are those who disagree,” scoffed Oswalt, placing his cup down with force.

“Huh . . . that’s a first.” Mr. Davy laughed

“What do you mean?”

“Well, you used the wrong form of the word ‘there’ in your last sentence! You said ‘their’ as in the possessive, when really you should have said ‘there’ as in reference to a location”

“No I didn’t! There is no way to know that! We’re having a conversation! You can’t hear such an error!”

“You did it again!” chuckled Davy. “You said ‘here’ when it should have been ‘hear’.” Davy made a gesture towards his ear while saying ‘hear’. Mr. Oswalt rose from his chair with much frustration.

“Sir! I must tell you that you are wrong! Had I written either of those sentences, they would have been written as ‘T-H-E-R-E those who disagree’ and ‘you can’t H-E-A-R that error!’ They are not incorrect!”

Mr. Davy reached for another biscuit. “I’m just saying that if you were truly the fantastic poet that the pubic recognizes, you wouldn’t make such a silly mistake in your grammar! After all, I have met children in the sixth grade who have mastered this grammar! These same children are barely capable of speech yet they know this grammar.”

“Mr. Davey, I don’t believe the issue is whether or not the grade six students know this, it’s that you are twisting my word! You are attempting to play me as a fool to make your own inadequacies seem redeemed!”

“By God, you’ve done it again. You said ‘no’ instead of ‘know’!” He too was now standing pointing at the other man. “And for the record, don’t even claim to know how I deal with my inadequacies! That information is sacred, kept between myself and the man in the liquor store!”

“Mr. Davy, I must insist that you’re insane!”

“Dear God, Oswalt! Have you learned nothing from your prestigious private schooling?  The word you should have used is not ‘you’ it is ‘you’re’! A conjunction of the words ‘you’ and ‘are’!”


Mr. Davies entered the room to see the two men standing at the table, each fuming, at a loss for words. Davies ignored the men and quickly passed them to place down a fresh pot of tea. Sir Oswalt found his breath returning to him as he caught a whiff of the tea and casually returned to his seat. While doing so he tidied his appearance and saw that his colleague had done the same.

“Shall I pour you a fresh cup, Mr. Davy?”

“Certainly, fantastic tea, I must say.”

“Indeed! I got it the last time I was in Rome.”