I’m sure it is clear that I like to write. Well, I hope it’s clear. My favorite class after Design and Art History was English. There is something beautiful about having set guidelines yet still being able to express thoughts and feelings onto paper (or computer screen). I can write science fiction, poetry, research papers, or even a recipe; I’m only limited by my thoughts and knowledge. Oh, and some very useful rules are set in place to help me through the whole process- grammar.
I love grammar. I love it even more when it is used correctly by others. I’ve not read nearly as many books as my husband, in fact, he’s been known to read more books in one month than I have read in one year. I mostly read blogs, work emails, and posts on social networks. The latter has been the most devastating to my taste for proper grammar, and it has left an awful figurative taste in my figurative mouth. Sometimes these horrid posts literally leave a bad taste in my mouth because my stomach churns and bile shoots up my esophagus and into the back of my throat. Yeah, it’s gross and you might have crinkled your nose at that description, but it is true… Or at least has the potential to be true.
I would like everyone to know, that much like a thick southern drawl, the incorrect use of grammar (and misspellings) has the ability to quickly make one appear unintelligent. Repeatedly seeing status messages containing one or more mistakes is probably the reason why my left eyelid has started twitching. I constantly see your when you’re should be used, or there instead of their. As for participles and writers, dangling should not be something that is done either. A sentence ending with a preposition is also not something I want to look at. Why do the rules of grammar seem to be turning into something of the past?
I think I may have to place the blame on technology. Rather than writing a letter and using a dictionary and lessons learned in English class, people are relying on “spell check” and “grammar check”. If one even bothers to look for the red or green squiggles under their typed words, I doubt many bother to make the corrections. Some may not even understand how their grammar is incorrect in the first place. These mindless, programmed checkers can only do so much. You can type the wrong words all day long, but hey, at least you won’t misspell them. They do not know that you typed were when you you meant we’re or that you typed took a breathe instead of breath.
Cell phones do not encourage good spelling or grammar either. We use cell phones to communicate quickly, but sometimes typing on those little buttons or poorly calibrated touch screens can be challenging. So that issue made SMS (Short Message Service) language or “textese” popular. This type of language bleeds over to status updates and emails:
OMG! 2days gna be a bad day. I h8 mondays. NE1 want to go shopping? LOL!
Most children I know spend more time texting than writing school assignments, so text speak or even 1337 speak (leet speak) is more common for them to use. Let’s see one of them write a cover letter or a résumé. I would be afraid to read it! One thing that might be in this generation’s favor, however, is how widely accepted grammarcide has become. Yes, grammarcide- the brutal butchering of the English language and the rules that go along with its use. Schools are already starting to remove cursive writing from the curriculum, so who’s to say grammar isn’t next? Why teach it if no one is going to use it?!
Highly paid professional authors evidently do not need to pay much attention to grammar either. About two years ago when everyone decided to read a very popular vampire romance series, I decided to as well. I was astonished to find a grammatical error within the first couple of chapters. I kept reading and started finding so many, I began to dog-ear each page that contained a mistake. I searched the cover and first few pages for the name of the editor and found nothing. The editor should have been listed as S. Check, because I am certain she only used her spell checker. She has made millions of dollars from her series of books because no one (including me) allowed the misuse of grammar to keep them from finding out if the main character would choose a werewolf over a vampire. Does that mean I am giving into the chaos that is a word without rules? (Did you see what I did there?)
I personally strive to follow grammar’s rules. (Grammar’s mom is also very wise, so I follow great-grammar’s rules too.) I correct my daughter when her adverbs are missing the -ly, and I politely let her know when she is not using a word correctly. She actually appreciates the help. My daughter is a writer though, so I’m not sure if others would be as receptive to my critiques. I have someone who does not hesitate to let me know when I’ve misspelled a word or stepped on grammar’s toes. I may feel a little foolish when I see my mistakes, but I am thankful for the guidance. I’m quick to make corrections to my writing or commit the rule that I verbally violated to memory so I don’t repeat it again. I think it is good to have guidelines in writing and speaking. In fact, if grammar is wrong, I don’t want to be write.