I love grammar so much that I often let it influence me more than I should. In high school I had to read a book many others have told me they loved, a book that has received many awards and world-wide recognition. I hated it. Not because of the characters or the plot but because the editor should have been whacked over the head with a box full of the darn book before it was released onto unsuspecting grammar lovers. There were inconsistencies in layout, forgotten quotation marks, failure to start new paragraph when necessary … and that’s the editor’s responsibility! The book has been printed and re-printed that many times that I remain hopeful the glaring errors were restricted to that edition – I have not mustered up the courage to pick it up since.
I love grammar … which is why I weep when I see it abused or – worse – murdered. An extra comma laying in a pool of separated words who’ve had to witness the demise of meaning. A word abbreviated to it’s sound, stranded and naked, balanced precariously in a poorly structured sentence.
Why do I take it personally when I find an extra comma in the middle of a sentence? Am I the only one who finds errors on menus in restaurants and brings them to the attention of the staff? Is it wrong to avoid shopping at places that invite ‘U’ to take advantage of what they have ‘4’ sale?
Some time ago I contacted a property lawyer to request some assistance looking at property (before I decided to blow it all on travel) and received an email response that made me shudder. It was rife with spelling errors and punctuation abuse. The sentences were terribly structured and he ended the email with a smiley face (I’ll rant about the abuses the Internet has to answer for later). I simply could not understand what he was saying because my eyes filled with tears for the slaughtered language that writhed in its final death throes before me.
Dramatic? This was a man I was supposed to trust to finalise contracts on a property purchase!
Are we losing language? When did we stop learning about verbs and ellipses and stop using fullstops? Did the Internet kill the English language? The suggestion that netspeak is becoming an acceptable form of ‘language’ is not new but i dnt no if i cn spk lyk dis 4 da rest ov mi lyf coz i jst cnt mak sns ov dis n it taks 4eva 2 thnk lyk dis 2
Words are beautiful. Grammar makes them so. There is nothing in that above sentence that is beautiful or even articulate! Words on a page flow. Grammar is great. Spelling and punctuation are the tools of effective communication! Spelling covers the letters that make up words and punctuation are the funny bits that go in between – it isn’t hard. Grammar is essentially the structure of these and the use of words (spelt correctly) and punctuation (used correctly) to create coherent sentences.
I can’t let my beloved Grammar die.