While driving to the Botanical Gardens with my grandchildren a car plastered with Tea Party and Romney bumper stickers swerved in front of me from the right lane and slammed on his breaks so he could make a left turn at the light. Luckily I was driving slowly enough I could break without startling my granddaughters. However, I muttered under my breath, “What an ass.”
Apparently I spoke louder than intended because right away my granddaughter Bridie asked, “Grandpa, is “ass” a bad word?”
Me: It all depends on how you use it in a sentence.
Bridie: What does, “How you use it in a sentence mean?”
Me: Well, ass is another word for donkey, so if you see a donkey and you say, “Look, there’s an ass,” then ass is not a bad word because it’s just another word that means the same thing as donkey.
Bridie: Was there a donkey in that car?
Me: No, but there was a Republican in the car.
Bridie: Is it bad to call a Republican an ass.
Me: No, that’s another case where it means the same thing.
I love helping my grandchildren learn grammar.