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View Full Version : R u a grammer snobb?



Lantern Jack
02-09-2006, 12:27 PM
I don't know about you, but my teeth are ground flat as Mexican mesas by the profusion of saturation bombings and blitzkriegs and frontal assaults against the citadel of proper English grammar.

I know this is an old gripe, but I've been seeing plenty of lackadaisacal spelling on this, a writer's site, lately.

This is my sanctum sanctorum, my Trappist monastery away from the perpetual rape and rack of this language I love.

I am, like Joseph Epstein, a proud and card-carrying "grammar snob". According to a New Yorker article I read a couple months back, noxious grammar is exceptionally hard to unlearn. Basically, unless you stand beside a college student with a bamboo whip poised, ready to sting their knuckles every time they spell "dysfunctional" as "d-i-s-f-u-n-c-t-i-o-n-a-l" or put down verbless or nounless sentences (like a body without a brain, or vice-versa), than those nasty habits just get ground deeper and deeper into the syntax, and my teeth get ground flatter and flatter.

I am proud to be a language snob. Some people obsess over the creases in their slacks, I obsess over gerunds and prepositional phrases and the proper, full spelling of words.

You show how much you respect the person you are communicating with by burnishing and unsnarling your articulations. Simple Simon.

I know, I know, climb down out of your Ivory Tower, Pedant! We don't have time for grammar in this rush-rush, hyper-kinetic world. Well, call me old-fashioned, but a guy should treat a sentence like a girl, with care and courtesy.

Amen!

Jenny
02-09-2006, 12:32 PM
I'd hate to think I'm a grammar snob, but I think I'm probably even worse. I hate getting emails where everything is lower case, and don't get me started on the weird shorthand. It's not shorthand, it's inability to express oneself. So there!

Mac H.
02-09-2006, 01:39 PM
You show how much you respect the person you are communicating with by burnishing and unsnarling your articulations. Simple Simon.

I know, I know, climb down out of your Ivory Tower, Pedant! We don't have time for grammar in this rush-rush, hyper-kinetic world. Well, call me old-fashioned, but a guy should treat a sentence like a girl, with care and courtesy.I try to use good grammar.

But I have trouble even following the grammar in Lantern Jack's post. Let's take a single sentence: "You show how much you respect the person you are communicating with by burnishing and unsnarling your articulations."

Now if I consult the Bible of grammar usage: "A GRAMMAR OF THE ENGLISH TONGUE" by Dr Samuel Johnson (written in 1812) it seems to suggest that Lantern Jack should have written 'One shows how much one respects..' or perhaps 'Thou showeth how much ..' or even 'Ye showeth'. I'm a little vague which one I should use.

Hmm - let's look at a simple rule from Dr Johnson's book:
* Singular: I do, thou dost, he doth;
* Plural: We do, ye do, they do.

You are right - I don't seem to see those important rules of grammar being used on this message board.

Or perhaps I should use 'Strunk and White' (written in 1918) as a guide ? After all, that's only 88 years out of date.

C'mon Lantern Jack - stand by good Grammar. I want to see you use Dr Johnson's grammar in all your posts.

Mac

pconsidine
02-10-2006, 12:17 AM
I guess it depends on how you define "snob." Am I a snob if I notice grammatical errors? Am I one if I notice them and point them out? Or am I only a snob when I notice them, point them out, and give people acres of grief over having made the mistake in the first place?

For the record, I always notice grammatical errors but I very rarely point them out or make an issue of them unless the context requires it (e.g., proofreading).

Celia Cyanide
02-10-2006, 01:29 AM
For the record, I always notice grammatical errors but I very rarely point them out or make an issue of them unless the context requires it (e.g., proofreading).

Yeah, me too. I have friends who actually like it when I correct them, but unless I know that, I won't do it. It just isn't that important.

Unless it's a published work. Then it's important. I point it out, and make the correction in red pen, and show it to everyone. Which is why I don't usually go to libraries.

reph
02-10-2006, 05:13 AM
Today I erased the second "r" from "sherbert" on a sign in front of a store. Nice of them to use a chalkboard to advertise their daily specials so I can make corrections quickly, with a finger, without getting caught.

Yeah, grammar snob. How could I deny it?

Cabinscribe
02-10-2006, 06:28 AM
Today I erased the second "r" from "sherbert" on a sign in front of a store. Nice of them to use a chalkboard to advertise their daily specials so I can make corrections quickly, with a finger, without getting caught.

Yeah, grammar snob. How could I deny it?

You would have loved the signs I saw a few years ago ...

One was at a diner advertising "homburgs" for $2.50.

The other was at a grocery store advertising a sale on "Trail Size" tissues.

SC Harrison
02-10-2006, 07:45 AM
While I do consider message board posting as somewhat informal—similar to the rules that apply to writing dialogue—I believe writers should perpetually practice their craft, in whatever medium they are using to communicate. Punctuation, spelling, word usage, etc., should not be held close to the vest, and brought out like the good china that is selectively used for only special occasions; for those who love life, every day is a special occasion. By the same token, every written message you produce has a meaning and substance, however trivial in nature it may seem.

Shwebb
02-10-2006, 08:20 AM
I am a grammar snob.

Grammar and spelling errors scream out of the screen/page at me--even here.

Sometimes I wonder if the person who wrote the post would like to know that he/she spelled that word wrong. I know I would, if it were me.

In this setting, though, I do consider posting here the equivalent of a casual conversation, and sometimes words can flow in the same way a realtime discussion does--and that means errors are more likely. I'm just fine with that.

DamaNegra
02-10-2006, 08:27 AM
Monday I started checking a friends' partial english proyect. If I'd been their teacher, they'd have gotten a 30/100 at the most, based only on spelling and grammar errors.

I'm a b*tch when it comes to grammar. Especially spanish grammar for spanish-speaking people, english grammar for english-speaking people and french grammar for french-speaking people. The rest of the world is lucky I don't know any more languages or I'd be after people speaking those languages too.

aruna
02-11-2006, 02:32 PM
Sometimes I wonder if the person who wrote the post would like to know that he/she spelled that word wrong. I know I would, if it were me.




So am I though you probably won't nelieve it! I know I make hundredsof typos. This is due to three things: I have a disfigured ine finger on my lefthad which I can't use for typing. I can NOT type slowly, My fingers rish to keep up with my thoughts.
I am usually too impatient to post and enter ENTER too soon.
Usually though I do go back and correct.

Maryn
02-11-2006, 08:07 PM
You would have loved the signs I saw a few years ago ...

One was at a diner advertising "homburgs" for $2.50.

The other was at a grocery store advertising a sale on "Trail Size" tissues.My grocery store did some rearranging and posted dozens of laminated signs telling shoppers where classes of items were now located. Every single sign read like this one:
Bread is now in Isle 4


I emailed the store manager when I got home, making it mildly funny while pointing out it made the store look stupid. When I shopped again three days later, every sign had been replaced, and there was a $25 credit on my shopper's club card.

reph would have been proud of me, if I'd known her then.

Maryn, grammar snob

reph
02-11-2006, 09:34 PM
reph would have been proud of me, if I'd known her then.
Proud? Envious!

dlcharles
02-11-2006, 09:42 PM
Lantern Jack: Some roughage in your diet might help. Good article!

TemlynWriting
02-14-2006, 12:57 AM
Good thing we've got a brand-spanking new grammar forum here (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=111)! I just hope I can be a good grammar-moderator there! ;)


Today I erased the second "r" from "sherbert" on a sign in front of a store. Nice of them to use a chalkboard to advertise their daily specials so I can make corrections quickly, with a finger, without getting caught.This sounds like something I would do. I'm on my way, Reph! ;)

I am a grammar snob.

Grammar and spelling errors scream out of the screen/page at me--even here.

Sometimes I wonder if the person who wrote the post would like to know that he/she spelled that word wrong. I know I would, if it were me.Same here. And yes, I am one who would like to know that I made an error, so that I know for future reference.

While I do consider message board posting as somewhat informal—similar to the rules that apply to writing dialogue—I believe writers should perpetually practice their craft, in whatever medium they are using to communicate. Punctuation, spelling, word usage, etc., should not be held close to the vest, and brought out like the good china that is selectively used for only special occasions; for those who love life, every day is a special occasion. By the same token, every written message you produce has a meaning and substance, however trivial in nature it may seem.Amen! Good grammar is like fine china, and should be appreciated every day. :) I like it!

My grocery store did some rearranging and posted dozens of laminated signs telling shoppers where classes of items were now located. Every single sign read like this one:
Bread is now in Isle 4


I emailed the store manager when I got home, making it mildly funny while pointing out it made the store look stupid. When I shopped again three days later, every sign had been replaced, and there was a $25 credit on my shopper's club card.
My husband and I were in a store last night when I noticed a sign that said something to the effect of: "Reg Tage Sale." I did a double take, and knew they meant "Red Tag Sale." (I can't remember the actual sign, but it definitely indicated "red" tags.)

Shadow_Ferret
02-14-2006, 01:02 AM
I'm such a grammar snob it's taken me this long to just open this thread because I was so appalled by the title.

reph
02-14-2006, 04:32 AM
And yes, I am one who would like to know that I made an error, so that I know for future reference.
Okay, I have permission, then. Over on the grammar board, you rendered "more so" as one word. It is two.

TemlynWriting
02-14-2006, 04:35 AM
Okay, I have permission, then. Over on the grammar board, you rendered "more so" as one word. It is two.Thank you, Reph! That was a case of keys sticking on my keyboard. I suppose it's about time I look into getting a new one. :)

poetinahat
02-14-2006, 04:49 AM
One was at a diner advertising "homburgs" for $2.50.
*sigh* That's just cruel. Don't play with my emotions like that.

Shwebb
02-14-2006, 05:01 AM
I also love it when signs end up with missing letters. I bug my husband endlessly with those.

For example--

We drove by a roadside stand that was advertising "Waterme n for Sale." I felt (reference to 70's kid show coming up) that I was plopped into the middle of a "Adventures of Letterman" plot. Spellbinder took the "L" and the "O" and turned the watermelon into watermen! (Insert mental picture of giant, greenish, bloated men stacked into a crate here.)

After a withering look from my husband after my dramatic "Letterman, where ARE YOU?!" I figured I needed to tone it down a bit.

Celia Cyanide
02-14-2006, 07:14 AM
At work, we had a holiday party, and we went bowling. The invitation advertised, "free bowling," except that the 'l' was placed right after the 'b,' instead of where it should be.

BWAHAHAHAHA!!!

Second best was when Bill O'Reilly was on TV. The title of his show, "No Spin Zone," was written behind him. Perhaps someone who didn't like him "accidentally" put an 'e' at the end of the first word. That was awesome. I don't even have a problem with Bill, but I think the title of his show is a misnomer.

reph
02-14-2006, 09:02 AM
That was a case of keys sticking on my keyboard. I suppose it's about time I look into getting a new one.
Nah, just check the manual for instructions on removing peanut butter. Nasty stuff, that.

pconsidine
02-14-2006, 08:04 PM
Okay - speaking of bad signage.

We took our nieces to a Indian restaurant last Saturday and the sign in front said "All You Can Eat Buffet. More Then 20 Choices."

Kids loved the food though. The four-year-old loves chicken tikka now. The baby liked the rice. Go figger.

Shadow_Ferret
02-14-2006, 08:21 PM
Well, it's an All You Can Eat Buffet. You eat. You have some more. And then after that you're limited to 20 choices.

NeuroFizz
02-14-2006, 08:53 PM
To me, "snob" suggests that one goes beyond his/her own writing and points out problems with the works of others. This can be helpful, but I try to resist picking up that rock. I have too many windows. I do try to keep those windows sparkly clean, though. My problem is with typos. Most are discovered when I go through drafts of my stories, but I don't have time to go through multiple drafts of my posts.

ChaosTitan
02-14-2006, 09:09 PM
I admit to not always using proper grammar when I speak ("Can you do me something?" is a prime example), but once in a while the little things bother me.

I am a supervisor at work. Often an associate's break time will approach, so they come up to me and ask, "Can I eat?"

I want to look them in the eye and ask, "I don't know, can you? Do you possess this ability?" But since I know what they are asking, I usually just smile/nod/say yes.

Another came up last night. We have flex schedules (the associate is "on call," and has to call us to see if we need them to come in and work that night). One of our teenagers called, I picked up the phone. He asks, "This is Scott. Do I have a flex tonight?"

This time I did ask, "I don't know, are you flexed?"

Long pause. "Um, yeah. Do I need to work it?"

See? If he'd just asked, "Do you need me to work my flex tonight," we'd have both saved ourselves two minutes of suffering.

Also found an amusing typo in an official letter from our Home Office to the Property Management folks...something about "writhing this letter...." http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/images/smilies/EmoteROFL.gif

I wouldn't call myself a grammar snob, but I can be obnoxious about certain errors. Just ask my boss. She knows I'll catch her spelling mistakes.