“The greater part of the world’s troubles are due to questions of grammar.” – Michel de Montaigne, The Complete Essays
Ok, so I know grammar isn’t the most popular topic in the world. I don’t think it ever has been, in fact. However, I (unlike some people) still think it is important.
Forget anything else you’ve been told about why it’s important. I’m not going to just say “because” like some English teachers do. I don’t know what other reasons you’ve been told. The only reason grammar is important is this: for clear communication.
Think of this sentence: “I shouldn’t of don’t that ” I read this in a Facebook post this weekend. Now, I’m sure the person was meaning to use the extra contracted version of “have,” since that’s how most people I know say it. (Shouldn’t’ve,is how I believe it should be spelled.) Still, writing it with “of” makes it confusing, especially for people who don’t speak English as a first language. “Of” is a preposition. “Have” is part of the verb with “done.” Should we really be confusing these two?
I remember back in high school, in English class, when we traded papers with classmates to help proof them, having a grand old argument with one girl. She wrote “half” in a sentence where she needed “have.” However, because of how we speak where I grew up, we say it with a F sound versus the more V sound it should have.
I had to explain to her this very important lesson (which a lot of people should learn): do not write like you speak. I’m not talking about phrasing or regional words. I’m saying that with dialects and regional variances in how we say certain words – like “have” – you can’t really write like you speak.
I won’t get really into the rant, because it won’t make my message any more clear than I’ve already made it. If you can think of any more examples, post them as comments. I’d like to see them. If you want to improve your grammar or just want to read some funny posts sometimes about grammar, check out Grammar Girl. She’s a good read, and she has podcasts, too. She has a great post on why grammar is important.
I will leave you with this thought. If you are writing, you obviously have something to say. If you can’t write it clearly, so that people will have a shot at understanding what you’re trying to say, what is the point?
“Ill-fitting grammar are like ill-fitting shoes. You can get used to it for a bit, but then one day your toes fall off and you can’t walk to the bathroom.” ― Jasper Fforde, One of Our Thursdays Is Missing
I found the quotes above at this page on Goodreads. There’s a bunch of good ones there relating to grammar.
Leave a Reply