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.