Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Ain't Misbehavin'!

This post about kicking the grammar police upside the head resonated with me.  I'm guilty of at least six of the items on this list, and most likely more.

I really loved #3 though because two of my authors dealt with that in copy edits this year.

But I still hate irregardless.

Take a look at the list and tell me what you think of it!


Kitty said...

When in doubt, it's best to consult the experts.

french sojourn said...

I enjoyed the article....rats #8 was an incorrect pet peeve of mine. So I guess the hackles of my neck can relax now.


I spent another half hour reading and re-reading the comments...a few were a little over my head but they did illuminate my need to study the language I love to write with.

french sojourn said...

....the language up with which I love to write put...too?

Steven J. Wangsness said...

Hmm, page won't load for me. Typical. In the meantime, a while ago you had a collective noun contest and I never got around to sending any in. Here are mine. I apologize if these merely repeat what others wrote:

An advance of publishers.
A royalty of writers.
And, of course, a percentage of agents.

Richard Gibson said...

I'll certainly remember this the next time I decimate something. Thanks!

Terri Lynn Coop said...

I love this and he is correct. He didn't address text-speak. That I will fight against until called to the big writers' cocktail party in the sky.

And plural vs. possessive vs. contraction.

There is no excuse for illiteracy.

Irregardless needs to die. As does conversate, impact, utilize, and "due to." (Note that period inside the quotes.)

Although after writing non-fiction content solidly for a year, a funny thing I noticed when working on my WIP, I have trouble writing contractions. They are typically a no-no in content writing. When I do my daily pass edits, I have to put contractions into my dialogue.

But I like his back-off-grammar-Nazi-you're-boring riff.


PS: I will give up my serial comma when they pry it from my cold dead hands. It was beat into me in law school. There is some programming you can't undo.

John "Ol' Chumbucket" Baur said...

As a longtime newspaper copy editor, of course I live and die by "the rules" – in this case the AP Stylebook. "That/which" and "very unique" are not peeves with me, they're commandments set down by holy writ. But the most important rule, and the one that causes me periodically to toss the rules aside is, "Can the reader understand this? Or should we toss the rule aside in the name of clarity?" I come down on the side of understanding, every time.

DLM said...

What I think, Ms. Reid, is that you have given me a new blog addiction. Yay!/Oh no. :)

Lance said...

Thank you for this link. Errant Pedantry has a store! Add this to my daily reading. Wow. I have to agree decimate and irregardless really grate. But I need the advice of that post most because of Muphry's Law. Thank you again.

Mister Furkles said...

A few comments:

The blogger states that grammar is only about morphology, syntax and phonology. My dictionary says it’s about morphology and syntax. It doesn’t mention phonology. But every grammar book I’ve seen includes punctuation and usage as well. So, maybe the blogger needs to check for motes in his eye.

I’ve been reading from Huddleston & Pullum’s English Grammar and from languagelog—a website for linguists. They take a descriptive approach rather than a prescriptive approach. Meaning that they research how the best practitioners have used the language rather than making rules for others to follow. As such Pullum even finds fault with Strunk & White. (I can look up his column if you’re interested.) I suspect those who make up such rules (rather than research best practices) are too lazy to do the hard research.

H & P divide English several ways. They define Standard English as that understood by nearly all literate English language users. They subdivide Standard English into formal and informal. Formal Standard English is found in history books, non-fiction magazines, and business letters. Informal Standard English is found in fiction. (My spell check wants ‘standard’ capitalized—I have no idea.)

The linguists also research the history of syntax and usage. These things are constantly changing. It’s all fascinating stuff. If it seems hard, that’s just because it is hard. Here is a favorite quote from Geoffrey Pullum:

“Nobody guaranteed that languages would be easy or fair or logical or common sensical. They are simply as they are. Deal with it.”

(languagelog October 2, 2013.)

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

My eyes began to glaze over somewhere around # 5. Maybe that's why I don't have an agent but I do have an editor.
Maybe that's why I can't get paid to write a book but I do get paid to write a newspaper column.

Mysti said...

I only use grammar to mean syntax, morphology, semantics when discussing language in a linguistics context.

Prescriptive grammar includes punctuation, spelling, and that/which rules.

Descriptive (linguistic) grammar ignores written English, anyway, doesn't it? Focuses on spoken language? Perhaps I'm misremembering...