Over the next few weeks I'm going to be re-posting a few blog posts from my archives. I'm starting here with the post that recieved the most comments, both on the blog and on social media. It was first posted on 5th June 2012. I'd be interested to know whether you have anything to add to it three years later...
Just after I wrote the first draft of this post, I turned on the radio to the news that the Queen's English Society was closing down. This post, therefore, is a tribute to them...
few weeks ago I made a comment on facebook about my current grammar
hang-up. It got a lot of comments from people agreeing with me! I like
it when people use correct grammar. I also know, that I don't do it all
the time, not even when writing, so I try not to get too angry about
such things. Grammar fascists do not make good party guests.
this particular trend was really annoying me. Why do some people insist
on using 'myself' and 'yourself', instead of 'me' (or 'I') and 'you'?
It's terrible English, and the bit that really annoys me is that they
don't seem to be doing it just because their English is bad; they appear
to be doing it to make themselves look better - as if the more letters
they say in one sentence, the more impressive it is. It was The
Apprentice that tipped me over the edge. I know what you're thinking -
anybody who watches The Apprentice doesn't have the right to criticise
anybody else - but it's not just them. I got an e-mail once from an
editor of something I contributed to, which said something along the
lines of, " ---- or myself will send you the contract". An editor.
I almost sent an e-mail back saying, "Myself will sign the contract
when yourself has sent it to me," but decided that was not the best way
to develop a good working relationship.
continue the rant here, but it got me thinking about these hang-ups. I
guess we all have them - writers perhaps more than most. I've learned to
my cost that one of my loyal readers does not approve of 'alright' (apparently it should always be 'all right'), and another
is driven crazy by 'try and...' instead of 'try to...' (something which
annoys me too, but I still have to correct it in my own work all the
time!). So what's your hang-up? And what do you find yourself doing - if you dare admit to it?!
suppose the real question in all of this is: does it really matter?
Does it matter if good grammar disappears? Everything in me screams
'YES!', but our language is evolving and the changing use of grammar is
part of that. I once jokingly corrected a friend who said 'wedding
invites' instead of 'wedding invitations', and one of her friends - who
(or should that be whom?) I didn't know - told me that as the common
usage of words change over time, I was stupid for not thinking 'invites'
was perfectly acceptable now. I didn't really have an answer. Why
should we cherish some points of grammar and not others?
quite happily google things and facebook someone, when technically
Google and Facebook started as nouns. I pronounce the word "garage" as
gar-idge. I know some people hate that and think it should be pronounced
with a long vowel in the middle and soft ending. But I bet those same
people pronounce "village" as vill-idge. They are both words we took
from the French, so why do people get hung-up on one and not the other?
are you happy to let slide when it comes to good English? Are your
standards different for written and spoken English? Have you got any
good examples of terrible grammar you've spotted anywhere?