Grammar Nazis: Useful Language Experts, Or Elitist Snobs?

from the well-this-ought-to-be-fun dept

I know that my grammar is not ideal, though I really do strive to get the basics right. There are times, however, when I feel that the strict "rules" that are put forth by grammar go too far. If the text makes the point in a way that people can understand, what is the problem? On top of that, there's the utter snobbishness with which some (no, not all!) grammar aficionados put down anyone who makes a silly mistake. I have no problem with someone letting me know about a typo or a grammatical problem in a friendly and useful manner -- but all too often the message is delivered in the tone suggesting that making such an elementary grammatical error suggests that I obviously never made it out of the second grade. So I'm glad to see an English professor taking on the grammar nazis.

Salon is running a review of a new book by English professor Jack Lynch, called The Lexicographer's Dilemma, which argues that grammar nazis should chill out. Grammar rules are mostly to make people feel elite, not to make them any clearer, according to the book. Again, I have no problem with basic grammar rules for the sake of clarity, but focusing too much on the rules over the clarity is a mistake, and it's nice to see at least some "experts" agreeing.

Filed Under: english, grammar, language


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  1. icon
    Chargone (profile), 29 Oct 2009 @ 2:19pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    at least one of the mass effect books does this with 'undue', possibly both of them. 'undo' is repeatedly used instead. sentences often begin with 'And', as well.

    every time one of those sentences begins with 'and' it's because it's [it's? its? i HATE this one :S] the third sentence in a paragraph, and for whatever reason the sentence that should be First has been put second, meaning that the second and third don't line up properly. if this was done correctly the second sentence would be first, then a lot of the time the first [now second] sentence and the third sentence would be the Same sentence, using commas and such.

    i must admit to fail when it comes to capital letters, sadly. i often forget them.

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