Thursday, March 7, 2013

What Happened To Good Grammar?

What happened to good grammar? Has it gone the way of the dinosaur? Should we just let it die and speak like we forgot our seventh or eighth grade grammar lessons? Is it important to at least sound like we are intelligent when we speak and write properly?

One day I was in a middle school, and a young man started to tell me a story. He said, as he pointed to his friend, John, Me and him went to the mall. I asked him to repeat it. He replied, Me and him went to the mall. One more time, I asked him to repeat what he just said. The third time the young man said, Me and him went to the mall.

Whereupon, John piped up and said, No, it's him and me.

Neither one of them obviously had a grasp on the objective and subjective forms of the pronouns him and me. If anyone remembers their seventh or eighth grade grammar, they know he and I are the subjects in a sentence, and him and me are the objects.

As I remember the rule, if you cannot say one person in a list of two or more, then you are using the wrong word. Now, that is obviously a paraphrase of the rule; but, I think you get my message.

Another one of those scratching your fingers on the blackboard types of misused verbs is seen and saw. How many times a day do we hear someone say, I seen that, or I have saw them in that store? If not those exact sentences, ones similar to them when they misuse the two verbs.

There is one more I want to share, and that is the use of lie and lay. The definition of lie is to rest or recline; while the definition of lay is to put or place. So, you do not lay down to take a nap, you lie down to take a nap. The other one is the misuse of lay. When you put a plate on the table, you lay it there. If you can substitute the word put or place instead of lay, that is the correct usage. Likewise, if you substitute the word rest or recline when you lie down, that is the correct usage.

I could go on and on, but I think you get my drift.

The March second edition of the St. Paul Pioneer Press printed a story about a Stillwater, Minnesota couple who are doing a documentary on grammar entitled Grammar Revolution. You may read the article by clicking here.

Elizabeth O'Brien states in the article, The way we present ourselves is through language. So when you're writing a resume, when you're writing a Facebook status update, when you're writing an essay in college, grammar gives you this tool to present yourself in the best possible light.

She makes a very good point. It is very well written by Mary Divine, and explains the situation much better than I.

My point in writing this post is simply this: I believe America is dumbing itself down! I know the English language is always changing. However, I do not believe we need to change certain things just to accommodate the laziness and ignorance of some of our population. This is a very complex subject, and I could go on and on. But I think you get my point.

Please feel free to share your poor grammar stories in the comments portion of this blog.

As always, I look forward to your comments.



P.S. I want to thank my mom, Colleen Patrick, for showing me this article.


Wayne said...

The student interns on KBEM FM 88.5 really butcher English.

The fingernails scratching on a blackboard for me is the use of got or have.

It seems all of them say, when announcing the nest song, "next up we got Benny Goodman..." Why doesn't some grammar teacher in their high school journalism class explain that "Next up we have Benny Goodman..." is correct? It isn't as though it is a big thing, but it really bugs me.

There are many other poor grammar instances on the show, but you will just have to listen to them to hear it.

I do not have the time to write them all.

Lynda R said...

Hear hear! I heartily agree!

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Mary Boison said...

Stunning story there. What occurred after? Take care!

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