Grammar Nazis Should Be Extinct

“Grammar Nazis should be extinct” or some such declaration should be appended to this article on “Grammar and Spelling Pedants: This is Why Your [sic] Wrong.”

I like pedants better than Grammar Nazis, although the metaphor does make the person using it lose the argument automatically for most people of any intelligence…. I guess I wanted to say the author is wrong–without having to impugn her.

“Comedians particularly enjoy being oversensitive to grammar and bad phrasing.”

Not teachers, but comedians. Interesting.

Intelligentsia (faux élite) but not professors.

Writers, but not instructors.

I have told my linguistics students (who will be given this post to read this semester, because of the language applications) that I expect the use of the apostrophe in possessives to go away in the next fifty years. Why? Because none of my students, usually including my majors, know how to properly employ the apostrophe. So in fifty years, my writing will seem archaic, because I will probably still use apostrophes and my students who hold onto their papers and grudges for my having marked every little grammar error (not that I did!) will have grandchildren asking them why their professor marked “possessives” on the paper over and over again. Did she not understand?

Language changes over time. That is a natural fact. What is not natural is for the language to become more ambiguous. Wouldn’t it be better/easier/more useful if we changed pronunciations so that to, too, and two were different? Then the language would become less ambiguous.

Maybe not. Maybe simpler is better. But really? When it becomes confusing what a person is actually talking about, won’t that be a problem?

I like archaic words. I’m from Texas and I like y’all, too. Why not use things that disambiguate rather than make less clear?

Grammar Nazis/Pedants or Folks Who Want to Understand what You Mean?

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