Your Grammar Should Box Your Ears

(A post by the Bookworm.)

The following were culled from the comments left to the author of a 7/24/07 post at The Bing Blog.

The author used the title "When Smart People Have Bad Grammar." Perhaps a better title would have been "When Professional People Use Bad Grammar," or better yet simply "When People Use Bad Grammar?" Why limit it to smart or professional people?

I found it interesting, as well as amusing, that some of these commenters unwittingly proved the author's point. Others, on the other hand, quite simply don't have a clue.
....Some of these would have been excellent fodder for Serena's feature "Twisted Linguistics" over at Parenthetically Speaking.

Here are but three of the responding "Grammar Masters:"

Maybe these people are so smart they know that little meticulous errors in “grammar” are actually meaningless. in the eyes of a linguist, saying “you and me are doing good” is perfectly grammatical, as is “we be goin to tha’ sto’.” bad grammar to a linguist would be “store hippo stolen you killed happy is.” what you’re unknowingly doing here is adding fuel to a linguistic class struggle, stating the way i speak is better because i read it in my school book in the third grade.

Posted By david greer SC : July 25, 2007 6:39 pm
(David seems to be somewhat intelligent, for reading at a third-grade level, but is among the clueless.)
Comming from a philosopher, this is one of the seemingly unimportant rules of english. Meaning of the sentence really doesn’t hang on proper use of Me/I, and using the wrong one really doesn’t affect communicative efficacy. In other words, they get angry that you correct them because it doesn’t matter.

Posted By Anonymous : July 25, 2007 3:42 pm
(It's surprising that someone who is a 'philosopher' can use the word 'efficacy' correctly and not know where from he's "comming." That explains the anonymity.)
sure grammar is important, but when you take it to the level of criticizing a person over the incorrect use of the words “me” and “I” you are going a bit far.
grammar is important for proper communication. once you have reached the point that your message is being coherently translated, any more effort in proper grammar is subject to the law of diminishing returns. the more effort you spend on improving it further, the less time you have to spend on more important things.
so, to answer your question, smart people use bad grammar because smart allocate their time and effort where it is most pertinent.

Posted By ryan, brandon, manitoba : July 25, 2007 3:27 pm
(Brandon, how interesting that you find it necessary to apply economics to the problem of bad grammar. I predict that your use of bad grammar will produce diminishing returns on positive reactions to the resumes you present for future employment.)
Now, just to lighten things up a bit, let's have some fun with a joke with a bit of an ethnic flavor. (Not intended to offend anyone.)
An old Italian Mafia Don is dying and he calls for his grandson to approach the bed and says, "Lissin-a me. I wanna for you to taka my chrome-plated 38-caliber revolver so you willa always remember me."

The grandson smiles weakly and replies; "But grandpa, I really Doan-a lika guns. Howzabout you leava me your ROLEX watch instead?"

Gasping for air, the old man answers with a snarl in his voice; "Shuddup an lissin! Somma day you gonna runna DA business. You gonna have a beautifula wife, lotsa money, a biga home and maybe a couple a bambinos."

After a slight pause to catch his breath he continues, "Somma day you gonna comma home and maybe find you wife inna bed with another man. Whadda you gonna do then... Pointa to you watch and say "Times up?"

1 comment:

Serena Joy said...

Great post, Mike. As far as I'm concerned, there's no excuse for poor grammar anywhere, any time. Once something is written to the Web, it's out there for the duration. It should be letter-perfect. It just ... should.