Grammar: The Final Bailout

The Internet is synonymous with freedom of the media—but are paid journalists free from the basic, non-arbitrary rules of grammar? Evidently.

I realize that proto-literate grammar is not something new, but errors in fundamental grammar—not typos, but incorrect usage—are frequent and ubiquitous, and they are capable of distracting the picky reader who reads with a red pencil in her mind’s eye. For the sake of those swell Americans who like to ascribe all cultural degradation to immigrants, plenty of English-surname bylines are infected with the grammar blight.

I can appreciate the rush involved in getting a story out in Internet media while events are still unfolding. And I realize that Microsoft Word Grammar-Check is a premier source of illiteracy. But subjects and objects are simply not interchangeable; one does not consider “what motivated he and his brother, Tamerlan, to attack the Marathon” (italics mine). The use of subject pronouns as objects and object pronouns as subjects is not only incorrect, but such usage may cause some readers to ponder how the so-called writer secured a so-called writing job, and completely ignore the substance, if any, of the story.

The use of an apostrophe in a possessive context (“The cat licked it’s paws. . .”) might give a reader pause, and cause him to wonder whether the author is a homeschool dropout. In any case, there are 67,000+ replicas of the same story out there, written with varying degrees of competency, from AP to WSJ, one as stale as another.

We are sufficiently saturated to be choosy, while at the same time, sufficiently saturated to don our cloaks of oblivion and go on with our lives, give up trying to know what’s going on anywhere else, and, attentively, but not obsessively, await the Big Text from POTUS.



Filed under People, Places, & Things

2 responses to “Grammar: The Final Bailout

  1. The Red Pencil Syndrome

    Another incisive post from The Paws Camp which invites closer scrutiny. The final solution to our increasingly inept and ghastly misuse of the mother tongue, is clearly not to be found in grammar check by that well known monolith that controls our everyday lives.
    Another corporation that is being grilled as we speak, for not paying their adequate dues in the home of the mother tongue, could at some stage in the future replace the entire education system. There is, it seems, nothing that cannot be learnt by the judicious click of a button at the Big G. as I have just found to my delight when confronted with the strange word POTUS amongst others

    Clearly, the fun to be had by seriously inattentive students in a Chemistry Lab could not be replicated by utilising a search engine. Revealing the intricacies of what Hamlet said to his mother on return from a late night party, would be boring in the extreme without the Literary Professor holding forth. The joy of having a carefully crafted essay thrown at you with great velocity, because of grammatical inaccuracies, is simply not achievable via the Internet.

    As with all technological advances, there will be those of a lesser moral standing who see the “slap it up and let’s make shed loads of cash” model, as not only smart but entirely justifiable. After all, life is short isn’t it? And if truth be told, it gets shorter with every passing day, nay hour. So why bother with such mundane activities as taking care with your spelling and grammar; who’s going to notice anyway? Enter the Red Pencil Brigade which is not to be confused with that sometime Terrorist organisation of similar nomenclature.


    • Ah, well, viz POTUS, Robin–President Of The United States, in common American media parlance. POTUS has override privelege to access every American’s cell phone (an appliance we are gradually being weaned from the idea of living without) to send us a text message (even if we have no texting in our plan), with emergency information we would probably die happier not knowing. Please pardon my Colonial accent. 😉

      The real truth of course, is that the entire Internet universe is nothing more than a matrix for advertising.


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