Monday, May 22, 2006

Grammar Ain't Everythin'

Being a professing writer, I always feel under pressure to properly utilize grammar, spelling, and sentence structure. While I feel that these are all important, I sometimes wish I could just sit down and write something without having to worry about the impression I’m giving someone about my writing abilities.

I think this holds true for a lot of professions. I’ve always thought it would be difficult to be a comedian, for example, because people would expect you to be funny all the time. You have to know, however, that there are days when this person feels anything but funny and just wants to be a jerk.

In the same vein, I sometimes feel like being anything but grammatically proper. Sometimes I want to say “ain’t,” “nothin’,” or even use a double negative.

Despite all this, I find it very distressing to browse through blogs and forums, and see all the horrible writing that exists in cyberspace. Frankly, folks, I’d be happy with mediocrity, but I seem to be finding that Instant Messenger lingo has found its way into general usage, a role it was never intended to fill.

One forum I visit on occasion has a particularly bad writer who attempts to participate. Being lazy, I don’t want to take the time to track down an actual post, so I’ll simulate one here. I promise not to exaggerate.

“i think he might nevr agree harold say to go down and get som pork rinds ROFL i do note think it is nececary to fill up thank you.”

It makes no sense, whatsoever, and yet you have to assume that this person is attempting to make a point. Let me be clear that I’m not trying to be a literary snob. I am far from perfect and realize not everyone is or wants to be a writer. In fact, I think poor grammar has its place. Country music, for example, would not exist. And what about Elvis? Can you imagine “Hound Dog” without poor grammar?

You aren’t anything except a less than desirable canine,
Constantly weeping.
You aren’t anything except a less than desirable canine,
Constantly weeping
You have yet to snare a long-eared mammal
And you have not a jocular relationship with me.

It completely ruins the song, doesn’t it? So you see, readers, I am not advocating complete and utter adherence to grammar. Just a reasonable usage of capitalization and punctuation would revolutionize the Web. Oh, and if you find any typos in this peace, I put them there on purpose. To make a point. *snicker*


TaraMetBlog said...

I couldn't agree more. A grammar mistake that I made recently put my writing under scrutiny from a stranger and it bugged me. It forced me to petulantly point out that I was an editor for three years at a daily newspaper and have my master's degree in Journalism, etc. Yet, when I write on my blog I take on a more relaxed conversational persona and yes, I can make a stupid mistake like writing lose instead of loose in the heat of a blogging writing moment.

Jack W. Regan said...

Yep. Exactly. FooDaddy and I exchanged emails about this topic not long ago. What is it about writers that makes them so thin-skinned? Most don't take criticism very well and those who do are usually just better actors.

As for me, I don't mind a little constructive criticism as long as I know the person means well. Too many times, however, the critique is merely a snipey attempt to find fault. That I cannot take.

Anonymous said...

Very well said. Sometimes I just have to turn away from the screen when I see some of the semi and illiteracies in blogs. The writers seem so oblivious to the impression they are making.

Paul FooDaddy Brand said...

Stupid, I could not agree more. I've mentioned this lack of Web grammar twice in my early posts, and by golly, it still frosts my shorts. Our Blog (capitalization!) is shaping up to be a little oasis of spelling near-perfection and grammar decency.

I could not be more prouder. *sniff* Aw, shucks. I done got all 'motional.