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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

7 Commonly Corrected Grammar Errors (That Aren't Mistakes) | Chris Bucholz,

I don't agree completely with Bucholz's commentary, but I loved his irreverent, bold, and readable style and attitude.

He begins:
If you've written anything on the Internet in the past 20 years or so, whether on a forum, comment thread or the Denny's corporate blog you maintain, a short time later you've probably experienced a feeling of pure, unalloyed irritation, when you observed someone correcting your grammar. Aside from the fact that everyone on the Internet is irritating all the time, this particular irritation is compounded by the fact that, dammit, they're kind of right. ...
But,  Bucholz continues, what if you're not wrong:
What if, in fact, it's your accuser who's wrong, or at the very least blundering through a complicated, highly debatable topic? What if your initial reaction -- whaling on them with a length of chain -- was the right one?
Below are are the headings for his "most commonly corrected grammatical mistakes which might not actually be mistakes" (in reverse order). I encourage you to read and enjoy 'em. [I've inserted some brief responses.]

And I invite you to check out a similar list I developed--Garbl's Myths and Superstitions of Writing--as well as Garbl's Editorial Style Manual. It has advice on most of Bucholz's concerns.
#7. Hopefully This Sentence Doesn't Cause You To Go Fucking Bananas [True, attitudes toward this word are changing though I haven't updated my manual, yet.]
#6. When Someone Tells You That You Used "They" Incorrectly, They Can Shut The Hell Up [Again, attitudes are changing ....]
#5. A Supermarket Sign Which Reads "10 Items Or Less" Should Not Make a Reasonable Person Cry [I gotta think about this one.]
#4. The Passive Voice Is Used By Plenty Of Smart, Ballsy Writers, Thanks [Still, think about why you want to use it.]
#3. I Encourage You To Boldly Split Infinitives Whenever The Hell You Feel Like It [True! A myth of writing.]
#2. "I'm Good" Means Exactly What You Think It Means [I'm thinking about this one.]
#1. This Last One Will Literally Cause The Internet To Explode [OK, there are worse things than using it incorrectly. But why do it?]
Bucholz concludes with some "furious backpedaling." He writes:
This isn't to say that we shouldn't care about grammar at all. Even if rules and definitions change, those changes should come slowly. When we violate grammatical rules or use strange new definitions of words, we impede our audience's ability to comprehend what we're saying. We can see vestiges of this when we travel to other English speaking countries, where small changes in language can lead to these issues of delayed comprehension.
I agree!

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