Friday, March 20, 2015

Good Grammar Takes Just As Much Time

"Does spelling count?"

Mr. McCarthy's response has stayed with me for half a century.  "If I say no, will you misspell on purpose? Spelling always counts."   

Spelling has always come easily to me, a fact I attributed to the all the reading I did.  I was disabused of that notion when Big Cuter and Princess Myrtle came along.  They're both voracious readers, and neither of them can spell.  That doesn't mean that they don't try.  They understand that it is important.
Automated writing systems are exacerbating the problem. Autocorrect may change the entire word, but spell check keeps most people honest these days.  With the demise of cursive writing - Mr 9 is in the last class to learn it in his school district - I mourn the impending loss of the hand written note ... and with its disappearance the need to learn to spell.

After all, no one will notice if your grocery list is misspelled.

I've grown used to poor editing in ebooks I read on my Kindle.  The pagination, the spacing, the bizarre location of quotation marks and commas are a small price to pay for the free books I download from the library or BookBub.  When I pay $9.95, though, I expect that a modicum of care will be taken with the product I've purchased.  I don't want to be startled by misspellings or misplaced punctuation.

And yes, it does startle me.

I'm still screaming at the television when the talking heads make grammatical errors. "You are paid to speak!  Do it correctly! It matters!"  You'd think I'd be used to it by now, but I am not.  Nor do I want to be complacent about it.  Up until the very end, G'ma would grimace and correct the grammar of caregivers and television announcers alike.  I like to feel her on my shoulder when I begin to rant and moan like this.

The prompt for this screed came from The Little Cheese.  She forwarded a link to a long form article on SB Nation.  I was skimming along, enjoying the story of small town life in Valparaiso, Indiana, when I was stopped by
It wasn't hard for my brother and I to see... 
and then
My father trudged my brother and I through....
 which had the added benefit of misusing trudged.  I gave up at this one
Dad started taking Nate and I to games.
Unless his family included a child named I, every one of those sentences should have rankled in the writer's inner ear.

Is it a small thing?  Perhaps.  But it's the combination of these small things which drive me batty.

And I know I'm not alone.  TBG is quite proud of the purple G for Grammarian Ms Kurtz gave him in the 8th grade.  


  1. Me like your post!!! I mean, I like your post!

  2. I couldn't agree more with your exasperation at the poor use of grammar in our world. I hear egregious errors by broadcasters in addition to those of so many of the casual speakers I listen to every day. I try not to be pedantic, but enough is enough.

  3. And when I hear lie, lay and lain used incorrectly, it always makes me shudder. It's so easy. And then there is lay, laid and laid.
    Three principle parts always interested me!

    1. G'ma shuddered too... and when she was living here, she spent a lot of time *lying* on the bed, correcting the grammar of those who said she was *laying* there.... I'd struggled with that construction up until I spent 8 years with her!


Talk back to me! Word Verification is gone!