Grammar rant: you’re doing it wrong

Like any true grammar snob, I enjoy reading grammar rants.  I find comfort in the fact that I am not the only person whose blood pressure rises when an adult writes with the grammatical competence of a five-year-old child.  I particularly enjoy grammar rants that are well-written and a bit snarky, like this one that was written by Carolyn Plath.

Unfortunately, decent grammar rants are few and far between.  To support this claim, I’ve compiled statements from several online grammar rants.  What you’re about to read is a mixture of real statements made in real grammar rants I’ve read on the Internet.  You’ll want to look closely–there is at least one blatant grammatical error in every sentence!  Please brace yourself for the world’s most contradictory grammar rant:

Is this how bad the English language has been mauled?  It makes me tear my my hair out.  Is it too much to as for you to use proper punctuation?  Use comma’s where it makes sense.  One period is sufficient, and if your going for ellipsis points they are three periods.  At first, someone smudged the apostrophes off not any longer.  hey have given up. 

This is minor, but it happens enought that it’s starting to drive me crazy.  “There” is can be used in many different ways to relay a position, a state, condition, etc.  “Their” is a pronoun that is reflects ownership by more than one person.  I even emailed the station and asked them where there editors were.  How many teenager are going to hear that and consider it acceptable grammar?

<speechless>

I stress–quite often–that I don’t critique the grammar of the average Joe posting on the Internet.  But if you’re ballsy enough to rant about improper grammar, you should be smart enough to proofread your own damned writing before you share it with the world.  Agreed?

The original grammar rants can all be found here:

http://www.runnersworld.com/community/forums/runner-communities/high-school/rant-poor-grammar-spelling-general-english-skills
http://www.footbag.org/forum/viewtopic.php?start=0&t=474
http://arstechnica.com/civis/viewtopic.php?f=24&t=962355
http://www.planetminecraft.com/forums/grammar-rant-t137153.html
http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/parent-cafe/954190-grammar-rant.html
http://www.audizine.com/forum/showthread.php/376568-Grammar-Rant
http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=319221
http://boardreader.com/thread/OT_A_Random_Grammar_Rant_5nnppX59jzj.html
http://www.cruise-addicts.com/forums/f4/grammar-rant-95718/

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21 thoughts on “Grammar rant: you’re doing it wrong

  1. Hope, I think I am in love! You are a gal after my own heart.

    I too share your horrified reactions to blog posts like the one you’ve exposed here. “Use comma’s where it makes sense” should be regarded as a criminal offense, not just a mildly annoying writing gaff. My Bigger Self might be willing to accept the possibility that the culprit’s first language is not English (the ONLY possible excuse!) in which case writing as a grammar-police poseur is inexcusable – so either way, it’s just wrong.

    Thanks also for introducing us to Carolyn Plath’s work. I was also smugly pleased to note that she spells “Carolyn” in the correct fashion.

    Regards,
    C.

  2. Oh I am having spasms from the bad grammar! I try to keep my comments to myself about grammar unless it is in an academic or business setting. However, I know one person who goes crazy with commas in sentences.

    She writes sentences like the following:

    I am so tired, after a long day at work. You and I, are going to hang out tonight.
    I definitely don’t know, how to use commas properly.

  3. It amazes me how far the deterioration has gone. Professional writers whose work is heard on NPR no longer understand when to use “ate” versus “eaten”. As a matter of fact the correct usage of all the strong verbs is utterly beyond the booboisie. I’ve spent most of my working life in IT, and I can’t tell you how many times I cringed inside on hearing college-educated, native speaker colleagues say that a process or program had “been ran”. What the holy flying F___? When I was studying German, my work was marked down for errors like this, but in English nobody gives a damn.

    I know language evolves, and in any language there’s always some divergence between what the grammar books say and the way native speakers actually use the language. But why does my native language have to be the one most of whose users have apparently decided to speak like ten-year-olds? It reminds me of the current trend to have one’s shirt-tail flapping under sweaters and sport jackets. Here’s a clue–it doesn’t make you look hip, edgy, or defiantly independent. It makes you look like a fifth-grade parochial schoolboy who pulls his uniform shirt out of his pants as soon as he turns the corner on the way home.

    • I agree with all of this! I love your analogy about the shirt-tail under the sweater–that’s how I feel when people write “u” instead of “you” or say “redonk” instead of “ridiculous.” Saying “redonk” IS ridiculous. But that’s a rant for another day. 😉

      • I appreciate the kind words, but I have to disagree with you on “redonk”; I think it’s catchy and I like the way it suggests donkeys and therefore the characteristic of being asinine. Many neologisms are laudable, and usually more defensible than the butchering of the language’s existing features.

  4. Pingback: Grammaniac – another great blog! | Parrots, Prose, and Peanuts

  5. I am constantly questioning, and trying to improve grammar in my own blog, but I really want to start with every blog I see where a sentence is started with a conjunction. Did “School House Rock” lie to me all those years ago?

    • @zuludelta45: Beginning a sentence with a conjunction is acceptable as long as it is *appropriate*. It’s NOT okay to start a sentence with a conjunction if you’ve broken up thoughts that should have been contained within the same sentence.

      Example of what is acceptable:
      “The Bobcats anticipate that they will win tonight’s game. But what if they don’t?” This is acceptable because “but” introduces a new thought AND it adds emphasis to that thought.

      Example of what is not acceptable:
      “I like chocolate. And I like caramel.” There is no reason you can’t say, “I like chocolate, and I also like caramel.”

      Starting a sentence with a conjunction is one of those things that you analyze on a case-by-case basis. It’s not a black and white issue. 🙂

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