Respect the game

baseball
Without rules, language, like baseball, loses meaning and devolves into chaos (“Massive fenway brawl” licensed by Keven Bedell under CC BY-SA 2.0)

You don’t have to love or hate grammar, but you should respect it.

If baseball wasn’t bound by rules, how would anybody in the audience or on the field know what’s going on? Sure, it would be interesting to watch at first, but it wouldn’t be a game. Rules regulate and provide structure. Without structure, how would anybody know who’s out? Who’s safe? Who’s on first? Or which base is first base in the first place?

Without rules, baseball isn’t a sport. It’s a spectacle.

You could say the same about writing that flouts or flies in the face of grammar. Have you ever stumbled over a line, reread it, and then stared at it and thought, what the heck is this supposed to mean? The words themselves might make sense, but something about the way they’re used, put together, or punctuated just doesn’t add up. Well, that sentence may be grammatically incorrect.

Take, for example, the following line from The Hunger Games:

“My bow is a rarity, crafted by my father along with a few others that I keep well hidden in the woods.”

My guess is that the writer meant to say that the speaker’s (or thinker’s) bow, which was made by her father, is hidden in the woods with her other bows. Instead it says that the bow was made by her father and a few other people whom she keeps hidden in the woods.

The modifier error derails readers by distorting the meaning of the sentence.

Grammar ensures that the words we use to translate our thoughts make sense, not just for ourselves, but for anybody who may hear or read them. It figuratively gets everybody on the same page.

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3 thoughts on “Respect the game

  1. I agree 100%. Grammar is so important and without it we would be lost. The world would derail itself if everybody forgot about grammar. We already have a hard time communicating with each other, could you imagine a time before the law of language?

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  2. Totally agree with you on that. Grammar is extremely important whether people complain about it or not. I love your comparison with baseball, it can be compared to any sport but it all depends on your preference 🙂 thanks for your awesome post!

    Like

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