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I recently took a course that spent a great deal of time going over grammar. [Are you asleep yet?]
I know, it’s not the most scintillating of subjects, and trust me, after six hours of it, you do start to feel like you have brain damage; the funny thing is, when you refresh yourself as to what proper grammar looks like, suddenly you realize that we are a world that has forgotten how to speak, not mention structure a sentence. And yes, I did also realize that most of my blogs are rife with hideous errors. I am filled with shame.
Fine, perhaps this is not on top of the priority list when it comes to the world’s ills, but then again, maybe bad grammar is an underlying indication of what really ails us? Of course I shall explain where I’m going with this. In general most people speak badly and fail to use proper grammar because they are simply too lazy (that’s ‘too,’ not ‘to’ lazy J). When Mrs. Grammar teacher hits the classroom and starts talking about split infinities and correct punctuation, I can only assume that most of the class slips into a coma. The students either tell themselves that a properly constructed sentence is not important in the grand scheme of things, or they figure that their trusty computer will catch most of their mistakes. So in short, apathy, laziness and indifference wins out. And this of course is what really ails us, the attitude that doing things correctly do not matter anymore. [sh*t, is it do or does? Arrrggghhh!]
The other problem is that bad grammar is so pervasive now, that most people do not even know when the wrong usage is staring at them in the face. Take a sign at the local supermarket for the express aisles. The signs used to read, “Ten items or less.” I know you’re thinking to yourself, so what? Well, some grammatical society that was clearly sick and tired of the bad grammar epidemic [and with a lot of time on their hands] called up the supermarket chain and informed them that their signs were wrong. It really should have read, “ten items or fewer” [fewer is used for countable items; less for non countable items].
Yes, I know, the sentence sounds strange. Do you know why it sounds strange? Cause we are all used to using hearing things said the wrong way. I’m sure half of you out there are thinking, seriously, what is the big deal and why am I going to give this a second thought!! And perhaps the other half are thinking what I can’t help but think…isn’t it kind of pathetic that we have become a society that doesn’t even know one language properly let alone more than one? [Europe, you’re doing pretty well on this front; America – not so much].
Now, because of this course, I am obsessed with grammatical errors – as if I have idle time in my day to focus on this stuff. And I am sure I will fixate and correct, and be that annoying pedant that drives the King bonkers by correcting him when he says, lie instead of lay. But saying all this, I also know that I will also continue to misuse ‘that’ and ‘which’ and dangle my participles like some cheap grammatical floozy.
Rome wasn’t built in a day.