Wednesday, 10 September 2014

On Better English

I've picked up a reputation somewhere along the way as a grammar nazi. It's quite funny really because I've never actually corrected anyone other than my kids in my entire life. But apparently because I am a fan of correct English, I'm a soulless pedant. OK.

Had a little chat yesterday with a few people where I mentioned the fact that everyone has a limit as to how much they allow language to stray from standard. I stand by that. I don't care how high your horse is when you you are pulling that sour face because I have mentioned (in passing, not TO anyone, or ABOUT anyone) something you know you get wrong yourself, you have a limit too.

During this chat it was pointed out that it's rude to correct someone, which of course it is. But I have to be honest, I've never witnessed that. I've seen many people wince, squirm, bite their tongues etc, but never actually correct anyone. I can't believe anyone is that bold, actually.

So, as I said, it's quite amusing that people assume I do this. No, I was brought up to be polite. Actually. So, chill. ("Chill" is what I'm constantly told to do. I'm very chill, ACTUALLY.) I really hate assumptions.

Still, I'm just about to make one. Hot buttons. Yes, that's what does it.

When I write a little piece, usually with plenty of humour included, about the errors people make, instead of reading and saying

a) Oh, I'll be careful not to do that. Didn't realise it was wrong. (MY CHOICE)
b) Do I do that? Maybe I do. I'll watch for it.
c) Yes, I do that, but I don't care (WHICH IS FINE)
d) Tsk, yes, I know what you mean.
e) તમે મારા ભાષા શીખવા, હું તમારામાં સાથે સખત પ્રયાસ કરીશું.
f) I don't do that. (Yes, you do.)
g) etc

some people immediately go on the defensive.

Go for it. Not my problem. Just know that I have been thanked many times for explaining points of grammar by people who struggled with them in school and find my version much easier to understand.

Know also that your limit may be just as pedantic to some people as mine is to yours.

Or, if you prefer, just grunt and point. Nobody gets offended that way.


  1. તમે ગુજરાતી લખવા?
    I like the "grunt and point" suggestion. Clearly, the more sophisticated version isn't working so we need to go back to something we can all agree on.

  2. As I put on Facebook, sloppy language leads to sloppy thinking, which in turn leads to a populace that is easy to manipulate. See Orwell. I am particularly exasperated by uses that go against logic. For instance, "I could care less" to indicate indifference. Is it so hard to include the n't?

    1. It's proof of yoir point isn't it? Not thinking. People don't think about language. They aren't interested in it, they don't care.

      I recommend reading "Riddley Walker", if you can bear it, to stir up thoughts about what can happen to ;language that's not cared for.