A grammatical peeve!

I’m sure we all have grammatical peeves, and one has been blatantly in my eye for some reason over the last several weeks. It’s in the press, in supposedly well written fiction, and all over the place in emails and comments on Facebook. At what point did it become acceptable to leave out the apostrophe that connotes possession? I saw “in Jesus name,” “Harrys dog” and “the boys baseball equipment” in one three hour stretch yesterday. I won’t even go into the more arcane rule of the “someone’s knowing” construction, because even many literate people don’t recognize it.

One of the issues that writers must face is whether to use the current vernacular in writing or to correct the grammar as a model for better usage among our readers. Speech is almost always more free form than the written word, and I have no difficulty using the “now” language in dialog. But to adopt it in the expository writing of a document is to say that it’s acceptable, a position that I decidedly do not adopt.

When I review works presented at my workshop, I make the corrections as needed but have no way of knowing if the writer accepts my comments. I even saw grammatical errors in the “fixes” my late editor (of whom I have written elsewhere) made to some of my sentences.

Is grammar dead? Or only being loosened up in the professional writing community? I suspect that young writers had so little grammar education in their youth that they can be excused somewhat for their failure to know the rules. But editors, whether of books or of news articles or journals, should know them.

Just saying.

2 thoughts on “A grammatical peeve!

  1. Susannah

    I could go on at some length about the horrendous errors in punctuation I see almost every time I turn around, but I’ll restrain myself to a couple of comments here. Nearly as bad as no punctuation at all is throwing apostrophes around with no clue how to use them. Case in point: “All the boy’s and girl’s attended the picnic.” or a sign on a house: “The Hay’s.” Makes me cringe in much the same way as someone running their fingernails down a blackboard. Most of the time these days, I try to zip my lip and ignore it all. (But oh, man, it burns me to see our lovely English language misused so badly!)

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. bhalsop Post author

      That is, in fact, where all my missing apostrophes are gone! What it shows, more than anything else, is how little people think before they write. They know some apostrophes are needed but don’t have a clue about the rules!

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