Phi Gramma Jamma


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Salutations, blogosphere! Sir Marcus here with a topic that I must admit, I can never seem to get enough of: the prevalent poor grammar of people all around us. It has gotten to the point that I’ve been practically pregnant with the anticipation of my impending bite out of this subject. Well guess what, blogomaniacs? Over the past several years or so, my metaphorical water has broken, and that bundle of joy is being delivered to you now with this blog parading as my OBGYN.

So now that you’ve gotten that unquestionably far-too-memorable, but absolutely most unforgettable image out of your heads, I want to preface this all by saying that those that know me know that I was an English major in college, which is conducive to being inherently anal about these sorts of things. So be forewarned because while I certainly don’t mean to sound pretentious or self-righteous at all, you should realize that I’m a guy who carries a pocket thesaurus, so I obviously notice these mishaps more than your average Joe. I sometimes can wear my pretension like a hat, but this stuff needs to be said by someone, no matter how small the potential audience. I’ve been guilty of these things as well, so trust me when I say that it hurts me much more when I make these mistakes myself than it does when others make them. Actually, that’s not really true at all, but just know that I see it in myself too. If it still comes off as condescending, I don’t mean it to sound that way, but then again I’d say you may feel that way because you’re feeling super guilty and if that’s the case, then maybe a little condescension never hurt anybody, so build a bridge and get over it, Nancy.

I know there are others out there who yearn for better grammatical sense just like I do, and if me saying something makes me that movement’s villain, then so be it. I mean, I’m okay with a little slang here and there (I talk quite a bit of it here in less formal settings), but there’s a difference between ignorance by circumstance and ignorance just for ignorance’s sake and it’s my job to point that out, so let’s do the damn thang.

When I was in high school, one of my English teachers used to issue “Grammar Jams,” which were pop quizzes meant to check – that’s right, you guessed it – our grammatical skills. Anything from run-on sentences to use of periods/exclamation points to comma splices were fair game, and though most people hated these things, I thought it was a great idea and had a hard time curbing my enthusiasm for these wondrous occasions. I’m not saying I aced them all because Lord knows that I didn’t, but the idea was that by the time we’re in our teens and young adulthood, we should know the basic grammatical principles upon which OUR PRIMARY LANGUAGE is built, a sentiment that I was more than happy to get behind. This is when I really started paying attention to things like this.

Since then, I’ve not been able to help but notice how terrible some people’s speech really is. I brought this up recently to a couple friends of mine, but there really is no valid reason for us to not know the difference in usages between “to and too,”” there, their, and they’re,” or “your and you’re.” Now, I’m a pretty open-minded guy, but one of the few things I simply can not, will not, and SHALL NOT be convinced of is that there is any acceptable reason that an American citizen that has access to English education should not at least know these sorta things. If you say “to” when you mean “too” once every so often, then it’s okay because accidents happen. My concern, however, comes from the fact that if grammar Nazis such as myself never pointed out the difference, some people would never know how different those words are and would continue to interchange them so carelessly and erroneously. Same goes for “your” and “you’re” and “there,” “their,” and “they’re.” It may not be fair for me to hold everyone to the high standards of knowing that you are never supposed to end a sentence in a preposition (at, in, of, to, etc.). But, my growing befuddlement in people always saying “Their is no more water left,” “I went too the store,” or “Your getting on my nerves” is absolutely within reason for me to emphasize. Oh no, blogoteers, such nonsense just won’t do.

For serious though, whenever someone wants to start a wholesale campaign for better grammar and word choice, I’m all for it. “YOU’RE” means “you are,’ while “YOUR” indicates possession. “Should have drove” isn’t a thing; “Better then you” is even less so. We’re only trying to carry on a decent society here, folks.

To a lesser extent, spelling issues bother me quite a bit as well, but I realize that that is something that everyone just isn’t going to be great with, so I’m content to let sleeping dogs lie there. Same goes for people not knowing to say that THEIR day went “WELL” instead of it going “GOOD.” The rules of adjectives versus adverbs are far too big an issue for me to try to teach people through just one blogpost, so I won’t even bother. But don’t – not even for one second – think that I and others don’t notice, because we do. And while I admit that having the uncanny, inhumane ability to notice such lapses in speech development would probably be the lamest superpower ever, it doesn’t make the problem any more acceptable for you to just ignore. If Americans are going to insist that English be spoken by more people internationally, the least we can do is try to clean it up amongst ourselves. So while yes, I am an admittedly unabashed word nerd, that doesn’t mean that those of you who aren’t should be negligent of some of the basics in which our language is rooted. It’s not cool, and it makes you sound like a fool with your grammatical dignity on the ground.

Another thing: if you know anyone WH0 TALK5 U51NG W0RD5 LYK3 D15 or G1V35 Y0U THA 1NF0 W1FF NUMB3R5 & L3TTER5 or any variation of the chicken scratch lingo that you just tried to read, then it’s probably time to reconsider how much you really are “friends” with said person. All of us have seen facebook profiles decorated with such hieroglyphics, so CLEARLY that person isn’t interested in speaking English like the rest of us. Don’t get me mistaken – that shit was NEVER cool – but it was somewhat acceptable back in middle school. The second we got into high school however, it was time to kill that noise. If that lingo somehow stuck with these people after high school, then 1) the American education system has failed them miserably, and 2) you should award them no friend points, and may God have mercy on their souls. You absolutely need to suggest that they join us in young adulthood by using numbers and words separately as God intended or you should probably not talk to them anymore. Trust me, that would be best for all parties involved.

Actually, I’m realizing mid-rant that I still have facebook friends that talk like this. Yikes, this is awkward.

Well, that was a mouthful. Don’t be confused – my angst for this speech tomfoolery runs much deeper than what I’ve mentioned here, but again, one post simply cannot properly convey how deep that sentiment goes, so we’ll cap it here. When it comes down to it, I’m not sure how much of a dent this will make on a large scale, but I’ll settle for raised awareness amongst people that know and have access to me. Until next time, this is Sir Marcus T. Williams signing off………

Y’all take care now, and you stay classy out there, blogosphere.

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Comments

  1. I do trust all of the ideas you’ve offered for your post. They’re very convincing and will certainly work.
    Nonetheless, the posts are too short for starters. Could
    you please extend them a little from subsequent time? Thanks for the post.

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