I want to use a slang term to make a sentence rhyme, but I want it known that I know how to spell it correctly.

For example:

Tennessee is where I wanna be.

  • What are you using this in? A scholarly paper? A personal poem? Just an aside, I think "want to" still lets it rhyme, but that's my opinion. – Nicole Apr 15 '15 at 18:53
  • it's more jokingly, on my profile page for stack exchange. right now I am just using quotation marks. – Malachi Apr 15 '15 at 18:54
  • 2
    A lot depends on what speech phenomena you think constitute "slang", and what you think does not; and what socioethnic group you want to make fun of. – John Lawler Apr 15 '15 at 19:42
  • There is no written slang here, and this is not a matter of grammar. – tchrist Apr 15 '15 at 20:01

Let's consider some choices:

  1. Using quotes or italics to offset your words - Quotes usually serve to distance the writer from the words (scare quotes or literal quotations of speech/writing), and italics are usually reserved for foreign words.

... where I wanna be

  1. Using some kind of markup like a * or ? before the words. This would be tedious to read in any but the most technical of writing.

... where I *wanna be

  1. Using sic. This is more annoying to read than * or ?, and worse, is wrong, since you are intentionally writing the original speech incorrectly, not reporting on some other writer's error.

... where I wanna [sic] be

Slang words are words. Just spell them the way you want them spelled. People are gonna either love it or hate it, and ya can't really help it. You can't really use a word and not use it at the same time; if using the word reflects badly on you then don't use it.

  • Won't *wanna imply that the writer MEANT wanna (as against something else he may have written earlier)? The exact opposite of the requirement? – Tushar Raj Apr 15 '15 at 19:31
  • @Tushar From how I read the question, the OP wants to use slang, but just doesn't want it to reflect badly on him. There isn't really a way to do that. You either use a word, or you don't use it. – Mr. Shiny and New 安宇 Apr 15 '15 at 19:33
  • Yeah, I got that, I was just pointing out that the *wanna notation is completely irrelevant. – Tushar Raj Apr 15 '15 at 19:34
  • Oh, then I have to disagree. There are different uses of the *wanna notation. It's used in linguistics, for example, to mark sentences that are incorrect. – Mr. Shiny and New 安宇 Apr 15 '15 at 19:36
  • Do any uses match what the OP asked for? – Tushar Raj Apr 15 '15 at 19:39

I don't know whether this will meet your purposes, but the only situation I know of where it is acceptable to misspell is when quoting someone else exactly. Publications do that, and if the quote contains an error, they include the word (sic) to show they know it is erroneous.

As in:

In the letter to parents it said: ‘The school is proud of it’s [sic] record of excellence’.

See if you can work with that.

  • this is more of what I was looking for, I remember hearing this phrase somewhere and knowing that it sounded a certain way, so this is more what I was looking for. – Malachi Apr 15 '15 at 19:02
  • 1
    PS - Sic sounds like sick, which is slang for cool. If you get creative, this could turn out to be some poem! All the best. – Tushar Raj Apr 15 '15 at 19:02
  • is the proper usage in square brackets or parenthesis? – Malachi Apr 15 '15 at 19:03
  • oxforddictionaries.com/definition/learner/sic is my source. I'd go with square brackets. – Tushar Raj Apr 15 '15 at 19:04
  • 2
    @Malachi echoing what tushar said, please note that this is primarily used when doing quotes, not generally in other cases. – Nicole Apr 15 '15 at 19:05

There is no actual notation for slang that I know of. Quotation marks doesn't connotate the correct meaning. Quotations would suggest that you are being facetious and don't actually want to be in Tennessee. I would leave it as a regular part of your sentence.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.