Is there a way in casual conversation to say an action that happened in the past but to make it present?  In other words, how can you say, "I proposed to my girlfriend" when clearly she is now your fiancee?  It's quite inaccurate to say, "I prosed to my fiancee" seeing as how you're now currently already engaged.  It's awkward to say, "I proposed to my once girlfriend."  Sure you could say, "I proposed to Marsha" but if you do I'll find you and hunt you down like a dog and send the ROUS's after you.

Fondleham


I proposed to Marsha.  What can I say?  I like to live on the edge. 

Well, Fondleham, you don't need to look much farther than your own name for the first clue into solving this grammatical gaffe.  You can't really truthfully say "I fondled my ham" because by the time you have performed such an action, it is no longer "ham" but "creepy." 

I digress.  This unusual past-tense discrepency actually comes from the ancient Romans, who oddly enough didn't speak Roman, but spoke Latin.  That's because they were Spanish.  And the Spanish coined a term called "pluperfect".  This is a tricky tense that incorporates the word "had", such as "I done had me a jar of dill."  This unusual tense was further convoluted in the Elizabethan age, where they tended to put extraneous eth's on the end of their verbs.  What happened in this era was mangled sentences like "I doneth haddeth me thus one jareth of dill."  By the time the 70's came, grammar was effectively thrown out the window, with such sentences as "Scope the beads on that groovy chick", and now we've devolved to ebonics, which often features less words in a sentence than apostrophes. 

The reason I bring all this history up is to make the point that grammar is stupid.  Don't concentrate on trying to "say" things properly.  You'll just make a cuckold of yourself (and not the Middle Age definition of it either - look it up).  No, the easier way to avoid this embarrasing vocal faux pas is to avoid it altogether.  By that I mean avoid telling people that you're engaged.  Including the one to whom you are to be engaged (you could always say your betrothed).  Don't even let on to her that anything is up, because she'll likely be keeping her ear out for any english errors.  The ears of women become accutely aware of spoonerisms and misplaced modifiers when they begin to think 'the question' might be popped.  Or when champagne is going to be popped.  Or balloons.  So by not telling anyone of your impending marriage, you will avoid that sticky situation altogether.

The only other way to circumvent this problem is to only speak in the future tense.  You simply remark, "I will ask Marsha to marry me", and when someone asks you when, tell them they should, in the future, listen more carefully.  Then as they begin to get indignant, you say, "I will kill you in your sleep."  See if they understand that you've already done it a week ago.  That ought to shut them up. 

There isn't anything I don't know about, especially grammer (and anyone who points out that I ended that clause with a preposition has a punch coming to their neck.  And don't get me started on people correcting any of my misspellings or that I perhaps start (or end) clauses with 'and': also I better not hear about improper uses of puncutation? and the problemn of run-on sentences and incomplete)  I genuinely like giving advice.  So ask me those deep dark questions that you can't confide in anyone else - your psychiatrist, your pastor, your monk, your concubine - nobody.  Fats is here for you.