(Note: This article is laced with hard to find grammatical and spelling errors. Can you find them all?)
Do you consider yourself a champion of the written word? A crusader venturing into heathen lands to teach people the error of their grammatical ways? Are you a Grammar Nazi?
There are many people who proudly or not-so-proudly identify themselves as “Grammar Nazis”, but I prefer to call them “The English Inquisition”.
Surprised? Nobody expects The English Inquisition.
The problem I have with Grammar Nazis is they are hypocrites.
They obsess over words like ‘irregardless’ and the differences between ‘they’re’, ‘their’ and ‘there’ and call these things bastardizations. All the while ignoring the fact that a very large portion of “Modern” English is nothing but a bastardization of earlier languages such as Old English, Old Norse, Latin, et al.
You can’t hold up the 1950s version of English as holy and inviolate, and declare any new words or grammatical syntaxes that come into use, such as ‘ain’t’ or ‘Everybody must bring their own lunch’, to be incorrect without being guilty of ignoring all the bastardizations that our language has endured since its inception.
Can you imagine the look on teachers’ faces during the 1700s when upstart no-good teenagers at the time, quill pen in hand, started writing ‘can’t’ in their school papers? I’m sure students at the time were told to stop being so lazy and use the proper word ‘cannot’. Eventually, under the strain of common usage the Grammar Nazis of the time gave up and added contractions to the grammar books.
But, despite the fact that scholars in every single English speaking generation given in to ‘common usage’, Old English was an entirely complete language with its own grammar rules, and except for new words needed to describe advancing technology, there was never any good reason to deviate from the original.
I can still understand someone who uses ‘there’ instead of ‘their’, but who cares whether or not we can understand each other; that’s not what language is about. What’s more important is that we speak and write correctly.
It’s time that this dumbing down of our language, which began shortly after English first surfaced in the 5th Century AD, is put to a stop. If Grammar Nazis were really sincere about eliminating improper usage, they would join me in my new campaign to restore the original English. Old English. True English.
Modern English speakers beware, I’m going to get medieval on your assa.
“Ah, ah ah, you didn’t write that ‘s’ properly, and there’s supposed to be an ‘e’ at the end of that word.”
You can begin your study of True English here: http://www.utexas.edu/cola/centers/lrc/eieol/engol-TC-R.html