Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Give me a G, "G!" Give me an R, "R!"

Today is National Grammar Day! I think my grammar snobbery began in infancy. My parents and grandparents corrected my sister and me frequently, until we spoke with an educated flair. Then I was given Strunk and White as a Welcome to High School gift (from my stepdad), and I spun further into perfectionist tendencies.

Over the past year a friend of mine (journalism major) has been playing an email grammar game with me: she sends me errors she's found in public, and I send her my own finds. While there is no official point system, the error's placement or egregiousness warrants certain self-assigned points. Mary is very generous with her own tally, if you ask me, but also adept at discovering the missing articles, commas and words everywhere she looks. This post is a challenge to her. Mary, correct this blog!

What upsets us both is that electronic media are treated with less scrutiny than printed. While newspaper & magazine subscriptions plummet, young people are raised reading materials online that are...well...pretty shabby (heck, they're just plain cr*p)! I find this especially frustrating in yahoo groups, where email programs can be set to spellcheck & grammar check every outgoing message. A double-click skips spellcheck, so sometimes when I'm in a rush I'll spill some mistakes. Shame on me. Would I speak to you with marbles in my mouth? Should my fingers be allowed to mumble?

I sound awfully uptight, don't I? But I insist--things that blow right by us today would have turned the ears of our grandparents red. This I/me virus that is infecting the X & Y generations is so annoying. People overuse "I" for fear of missing its proper application. Look--let's break it down:

This dress doesn't look very good on Sarah or me.
This dress doesn't look good on Sarah. This dress doesn't look good on me.
Would you really say, if talking only about yourself, "This dress doesn't look good on I?" Same rule applies when talking about yourself with others.

And, when listing a group of people never list yourself first!
Me, Anthony, Jeremy and Jen went bowling last night.
Uh, no...."Me" didn't go bowling; "I" did. As with walking through a door, or eating a meal--wait for others. List yourself last.

Anthony, Jeremy, Jen & I went bowling last night.

Worse is "Me and her went out last night." Again, break the sentence apart: "I went out last night;" "She went out last night," therefore, "She and I went out last night."

Where is my fabulous high school English teacher for the rest of America?

And you wonder why I homeschool...

Ok, enough corrective ramblings for America. I'll leave that up to Grammar Girl or the Grammar Curmudgeon.

We are such Eats, Shoots & Leaves snobs!

Oooh! And, while you're thinking about grammar, I recommend you check out this "really fun" site!

Lastly, I am now officially a member of SPOGG (The Society for the Promotion of Good Grammar). Won't you join me?

You are now subscribed to the SPOGG mailing list, which will send periodic e-mails about grammar, usage and outrages to your inbox. As a member of SPOGG, you can sleep easier at night knowing you're doing your part to rid the world of bad grammar. Fight on, brothers and sisters of SPOGG!

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