Thursday, March 4, 2010

Motivated Grammar's National Grammar Day Post

While you're waiting for me to get my act together and post about my first week back at classes, you should be reading this: National Grammar Day 2010: Ten More Common Grammar Myths, Debunked

From the post:
Every time National Grammar Day comes around, I’m struck with a spot of dread. Any of my friends or acquaintances might, at any moment, spring upon me and shout “Hey! It’s totally your day! So don’t you hate when people use the passive voice, since you’re all into grammar?” And then I will be forced, as the crabby old coot I am, to meet their well-meaning inquiry with the level of vitriol normally reserved for a hairdresser who’s decided to treat your head as a testing ground for a new theory of hair design. “No,” I’ll shout, “that’s not it at all! I love the passive, I love variation! Grammar isn’t about telling people what they can’t say; it’s about finding out what people do say, and why they say it!” And through that outburst, my Facebook friend count will be reduced by one.

My problem with National Grammar Day (and most popular grammarians in general) is that it suggests that the best part of studying language is the heady rush of telling people that they shouldn’t say something. But if you really study language, you know that there’s so much more to it than that. Each time March 4th comes and goes, we’re missing an opportunity to show people how wonderful the field of linguistics is. So if you’ll permit me to steal a moment, let me show you the two papers that really made me fall in love with the field.

My favorite part is MG's note that Strunk & White is NOT a grammar reference and should NOT be used as one. Nothing irks me more than style guide geeks using their guides as a grammar reference.

Though I have to say I hate the passive in composition. I don't see it as people writing like they speak but people not knowing how to focus on their subjects acting and, worse, not comprehending what actions they are describing. But that's a small beef.

Anyway, I'm a fan of Motivated Grammar. Good Blog.

See you soon.

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