We Don’t Need ‘No’ Paperclip!

We did a write-up on grammar a few weeks ago and I wanted to share it with everyone. A while back a friend and I were speaking, more like arguing, about the degradation of grammar in current society. The point of contention between us was that social media and the popularity of other text based media is contributing to the decline. The popularity of text based media should be having, and I think it is, the opposite effect.

I think grammar is improving, but I also think the language is changing more rapidly than it has in previous generations. The individual’s ability with grammar is becoming more public due to the increased frequency of text based communication. If there is a lack of grammatical knowledge held by the public, then it can be related back to our education system, and the improper use of technology.


Warning Incoming Anecdote

This brings me to my next point. When I was in elementary school I was chosen, due to high marks, to participate in a module pilot project being run by Alberta Education. My English courses for the next three years were broken up into modules and taken on the computer. Due to the gap in computer understanding the supervising instructor would allow me to use the full extent of the computer program which included allowing a little helpful digital owl to flutter down and fix any spelling or grammatical errors. Having the problem solved for me had the opposite effect of learning, and we see this today with word processors. First it was an owl, then later it was a paper clip, now there are underlines and suggestions. It was only in University, where I learned why those lines were appearing that I have started to ignore the programs advice and fixed the grammatical errors on my own.


I’m a huge fan of Internet grammar memes, and many of the lessons that have stuck with me throughout re/learning grammar have been because of the examples I’ve been able to find through google image searches. These memes have also provided me examples to understand how a lack of grammatical understanding can lead to large miscommunication.

I can say that originally I hated grammar due to a lack of understanding, but through managing online communities and attending University, I now see the importance of grammar for accurate and reliable communication. As my skill in grammar grows I find myself moving from a place of hate, to frustration with the inklings of love.

Derrick Ferry


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