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Sunday, February 18, 2007

Language Mavens and Grammar Nazis

I have a belated New Year's resolution for myself. From now on, I am not going to complain about, look down upon, or get myself in a twist over a person's grammar, spelling, or related "misuses" of the English language. I will not scoff when someone pronounces "comfortably" as though it were spelled "comfterbly." I will not mock people for saying "a whole nother" anything, nor for claiming that they "could care less" when I know they could not. In short, I will stop trying to apply rigorous logic to a system that is by its very nature loosely defined.

As long as communication has occurred and meanings are understood, who cares whether things follow the rules. Who makes these rules anyway? So what if Latin doesn't allow infinitives to be split or sentences to end in prepositions. This isn't Latin. If someone chooses "to boldly go where
no man has gone before," I say more power to them. To hell with Harbrace and Merriam-Webster. The more I read about the etymology of language, especially English, in books like The Language Instinct or The Mother Tongue, the more I realize how silly I have been.

1 comment:

Brian said...

This is astonishing. The craziest think I've ever heard of.