Grammar: Kids Use Grammar, Men Ignore Grammar, and Legends Even Don’t Know What Grammar is


It’s little ironic that I am talking about grammar. English has been second language for me and I still struggle to write grammatically correct. Reading through this post, you will find several grammatical errors, but I hope you will be able to understand what I am trying to say. It may lower your reading speed, but you will interpret correctly. So, grammar is important especially for non-native English speakers to layout their ideas when they don’t have casual voice as non-native speakers have. Its pretty common that native speakers make grammar mistakes more often than non-native speakers when speaking or writing, but rarely noticed. Therefore, non-native speakers can be referred as primary school ‘kids’ who are learning grammar rules, and do care about grammar. Similarly, native speakers can be referred as ‘men’ who don’t care about grammar because they already have communicable voice which is not dependent on grammar. The third entity, ‘legends’ are ignorant or pretend to be ignorant of grammar and get annoyed if you talk about grammar to them. So, what I think?

I agree with Jonathon Owen’s blog post “12 Mistakes Nearly Everyone Who Writes About Grammar Mistakes Makes” that grammar is beyond the ‘set of rules’ and you don’t have to follow the cast-iron grammar in every situation. Even, doing so, will may leave you unshielded in war of words as Katie indicated in her post. I agree with Katie that content of communication is much more important than grammar. Also, firmly adhering to ‘set of rules’ may digress you from audience-targeted writing practice. However, correct use of punctuations is very important in writing as their incorrect use may lead to completely different meaning. For example, look to this sentence- “Let’s eat grandma vs. let’s eat, grandma”, Gini mentioned in her post, “the post/article”, Owen talking about. So, grammar works as catalyst in writing which regulates content where should it go and decides its success.

Simply, I can assume grammar has made to make communication convenient, universal, and productive. There are some flows or disagreement on certain set of rules as different authors clamed different opinions about grammar mistakes in their respective blog posts. So, linguists are required to work on that to make it universal as our ancestor did for us over the time. I disagree with the people who find novel words-that are not in dictionary but are prevalent, as grammar mistake. Human kind is ever evolving in thriving living, so it’s very natural to have novel words. In fact, several novel words are added to dictionaries every year. However, for linguists differentiating between error or invention isn’t that easy.

I think Owen justified the title (12 Mistakes Nearly Everyone Who Writes About Grammar Mistakes Makes) of his blog post by putting some errors in his blog post. He states that his blog post is based on a recent post, then following, he used two different word as a same reference- ‘this post’ and ‘this article’. I don’t know much about word choice, but I found it inconsistent and both words have different meanings. “I can’t remember the last time I heard someone say ‘article’ for blog posts“.

Grammar is in the Eye of the Reader and Ears of the Listener

Katie Kelly

Much of modern communication focuses more on content rather than structure, delivery, or rhetoric. This is an observation after reading the three articles that call into question how much the actual form the message takes matters. Owen’s 12 Mistakes list, while humorous, ranty, and aggressive, demonstrates that being a hard-ass about grammar can only backfire. Most of the rules that are often over enforced are meant for formal theaters of commentary rather than an ever-present force in average conversation. The fact that sentences “Ain’t nobody got time for that” in pieces is infuriating to translate but as a whole expresses a sentiment and message everyone understands.

Weingarten’s demonstration of how the same message can be conveyed seven different ways, the last one being slightly morbid in nature, shows that the message boiled down the same take away each time. It was a matter of choice for audience, preference, and goal with the message that would decide which one of the seven paragraphs would be used over the others.

But on the other side Elbow talks about deliberate care for what is put on paper. We’ve been discussing how most of professional writing is so audience driven, but Elbow advocates for retaining some of one’s own style. With the overwhelming commentary hinting that the rules are just “guidelines”, I’m inclined to think of writing as a product. The customers are the readers and intended audience and with user feedback an author can produce iterations that better address the needs of the audience to understand the message. Very difficult advocating for method writing when it boils down to the fact there will always be critics of how a message is conveyed, and it’ll be called expert opinion rather than author preference. And even if an author wrote to every critics’ expectation, then they’d be criticized for not adhering to their own style. It’s a shot in the dark. Personally, so long as people use whole words and not wrt lk ths because vowels are overrated, then ya’ll can do what you want.

Moral of the story: don’t use rhetoric as a high horse to trample people with.