Grammar Doesn’t Matter​. Except When it Does.

Whenever grammar is brought up in a modern context (especially in the context of online communication), it seems to me like there’s a lot of complaining that emerges from the more “grammatically conservative” (for lack of a term that doesn’t sound pretentious as all get out) segment of the population that bemoans the losing battle that grammar rules seem to be fighting against the gradual degradation of the English language into dumbed-down internet vernacular that trades context and grammar rules for simplicity and a sort of bastardized conciseness.

As a writer (*BARF*), I tend to sympathise with this sort of view. To an extent, at least. I’ve occasionally been teased for being relatively strict in adhering to grammatical rules, even when doing something as texting, an activity in which capitalization, spelling, and punctuation are all pretty touch and go. And I’d be lying if I said that this doesn’t mildly annoy me, even if that’s being kinda anal of me, and it doesn’t actually matter all that much in the long run.

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There are definitely certain contexts in which I still think that adhering to proper grammar is fairly important. Obviously, if there was an article published by a supposedly respectable institution like The Guardian that butchered basic grammar, one could be forgiven for taking that article less seriously. There comes a point where we have to draw the line, and draw it in thick, black ink. Even if it results in the disappearance of articles as brilliant as “The Rumor Come Out: Does Bruno Mars Is Gay?”

And you thought I was joking.

With all that said, when it comes to popular use (personal texts, Twitter, etc.)… I dunno, is it really worth getting worked up about as long as the message is being communicated?

Even if it’s resulting in some sort of unholy, blasphemous warping of the English language… Well, that’s kind of what language does. It evolves and mutates depending on society’s needs. It’s a tool. Not an ironclad set of laws. Just look at how Beowulf (an Old English text, no less) compares to even grammatically perfect, modern English.

“If the reader’s eyes aren’t bleeding after the first paragraph, you’re not doing it right.”- The author of Beowulf, probably.

There is no more perfect illustration of how the term “Proper English” is utter nonsense. This was proper, grammatically correct English in its time. And now, it’s less legible than the inane scribblings in your infant nephew’s colouring book.

So, to summarise: I like grammatically correct English, but it doesn’t actually matter because, in the future, there will be no English. Only an unholy mixture of single-syllable grunts and barely decipherable acronyms sent through the computers built into our heads by our Dear Corporate Overlords for the purpose of subjugation and manipulation. And that, frankly, is a future I’m looking forward to.


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