Posts Tagged ‘Grammar’

Laziness & Grammar

I’m suffering from incipient laziness today.  It strikes me that I don’t really know the definition of incipient, but it seems right somehow.

That is what my command of the English language is about.  It relies more on instinct and usage than it does on theory or understanding, although I do know my grammar better than most modern students.  In fact I also know my spelling better, with the exception of a few recalcitrant words that refuse to spell themselves correctly.

My daughter for example is a student of the modern age that in spite of having a Masters degree to her credit has totally managed to slip through school with only a rudimentary knowledge of spelling and grammar.   She is the product of the ‘ whole word’ method of teaching reading and unfortunately unable to spell her way out of a wet paper bag..  Having never learned the building blocks of phonics, students in her years were urged to guess at words when reading and when writing were encouraged to use ‘invented’ spelling with the belief that it would lead to greater writing fluency and somehow would magically absorb the ability to spell along the way.

What a crock.

We now have an entire generation of semi-literate adults, who daily demonstrate their inability to spell, speak and write with any level of command.  It is particularly noticeable in writers, journalists and editors, whom you would assume would be skilled because of their profession.  But alas, it is not so.  Confusion between when to use their and there, you’re and your, and a multitude of other grammatical errors grace our newspapers, magazines and advertisements.

It is a sad end to literacy.  We may be facing fewer and fewer printed publications, and more digital ones, but communication is communication, and without agreed upon standards and practices for written communication, we risk greater miscommunication and misunderstandings when we can least afford them.

Clarity, brevity, precision and eloquence still have value.  I hope that they don’t become objects of admiration for a limited and eccentric group of aficionados.


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