To Correct or Not Too? (the battle between grammar and shear evil)

If the above title makes you queasy and quite frankly a little nauseous, pat yourself on the back, because it should. There are blatant grammar mistakes infused into the title to purposely illustrate the foul visual odor that most grammarians can detect within a five mile radius. And it’s stinking up the place, figuratively speaking.

Now, please don’t start going through my blogs with a fine-tooth comb, pointing out all of my grammar mistakes. I am first and foremost human, despite what you may have heard. I’m bound to make mistakes. I usually realize that they’re there after the fact, and don’t feel like going through the hassle of finding the edit button. On other occasions, I know that they’re there, and quite frankly my dear Charlotte, I don’t give a flying rat’s- GEEZ, give me a blog space and my G-rated language takes an unexpected turn. Stick around, apparently I’m playing it fast and loose. (Jokes, jokes… I have the most mild language out of anyone I know, especially on here.)

For the vast majority of you on the blogosphere- you get it. You know that you shouldn’t start a sentence with the word and, and you don’t end a sentence with a preposition. You know how to properly differentiate among there, their, and they’re, and know how to properly use to, two, and too. Sometimes for the sake of emphasis in a post, or to evoke a sensation or emotion from the reader, you bend the rules a little, because it makes for a better read. It is not those of you to whom I am referring. I am referring to the people who don’t recognize their grammar errors. Ever. Spelling, punctuation, pronunciation, you name it- these people are equal opportunity butchers.

I may have slightly deviated from my main argument because my soap box, being the sneaky little vixen that it is, presented itself to me as an irresistible new platform in the form of a blog. Rant and rave on, my friend. But, I assure you the soapbox is back in its corner. For now.

The real reason for my bringing to light this topic is to pose a question to the masses: is it ever not appropriate to correct someone’s language or spelling? I’m not referring to a meet and greet with a president of the United States during which you scold him for talks of “nucular missiles,” but for more common situations with, say, your boss.

Here is the scenario with which I was faced earlier today: I am a student of occupational therapy, and was on a clinical fieldwork assignment today at an elementary school where the COTA (Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant) was my supervisor. She fills out the grading sheet and evaluation at the end of our fieldwork rotation, which happens to have been today. During one particular session, I was working on handwriting skills with a little boy on her caseload. The child was to copy the words the therapist had written at the top of his page. I noticed the word macaroni was misspelled macoroni.

For the sake of the child, and not to mention, my own neurosis, I so badly wanted to fix it and teach the student the correct spelling, but my filter prevented me from doing so. I feared that my supervisor would feel threatened, or as though I was trying to undermine her. What I truly worried would happen is that her discontent would reflect in my evaluation. I’ll say it now to get it out of the way. No, that’s not how it should be, but I know none of you are naïve enough to think otherwise. Personal vendettas cloud the eyes of justice every day. I know I’m simply filling the shoes of Captain Obvious for a minute, but just in case you lived isolated in a bubble with some false sense of an altruistic society, I’m glad I could bring you down a couple notches.

You’re welcome.

Freakin’ soap box, get back in your corner!

I left from that school today feeling defeated; as though I did a disservice to that little learner. But the truth of the matter is- there are definitive moments in which our purest-intentioned attempts at grammar rehabilitation are considered abrasive, unsolicited and harshly unwelcomed.

My question to you is this: how do you cope with a boss or person in a position of leadership who consistently abuses the “English” (American) language? Or perhaps what’s worse- when you’re in the company of close friends, and one of the girls in your inner circle continually slaughters the pronunciation of her words with no remorse?

If you’re anything like me, then every fiber in your being wants to correct everyone, everywhere, every time.

I’m just looking for educated, well-formed opinions here. In order to keep the peace, do we let the art of proper grammar die with us, and risk improper slang becoming the new standard? Or do we embrace the repercussions of momentarily remediating poor linguistic decisions, and risk suffering at the hands of the [grammatically inferior] powers that be?

Annnnnnnd GO!

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About ohthatjusthappened

I am a college graduate with a B.A in English, thousands of dollars in student debt, and, wait for it, currently finishing up my associates degree in occupational therapy. I'll give you a moment to figure out how the two majors are related... (*spoiler alert* there aren't any). But, just because I've given up on my dream of journalism or corporate editing (and by dream I mean changing my major to English as a second semester junior in college because I no longer wanted to be a teacher), doesn't mean I don't still love to write. And, because journaling on paper is just too "dear diary" for me, I'm spilling my life out into the blogosphere, waiting for the day when a rogue search engine displays my blog link as a result, and some unsuspecting victim stumbles onto my page. But, like an awkward 6 hour car ride home for college break with someone you barely know, who knows what I'll end up sharing. But for now, all you need to know is that Pumpkin, Sasha, and Maisy are the names of my 3 cats. Just in case you read my blogs and think I'm into some really weird sh.... stuff.
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2 Responses to To Correct or Not Too? (the battle between grammar and shear evil)

  1. It’s funny that you posted about this because after I left a comment on your About page I realized I had typed “it’s” when it should have been “its” and it drove me batty! I contemplating e-mailing you and asking you to fix it but didn’t want to come off as crazy (you can totally go fix it by the way.) When I first started blogging I corrected a misspelling on a comment and my husband politely informed me that was rude. So I haven’t done it since. I don’t know what I would have done in your situation – it’s so much more complicated when someone is learning from you. Everybody else I usually let it slide though. My boss used to write my name as JoAnn instead of Joanna even after six years of working there and I never once corrected him. The paychecks were always spelled right so I said “meh.” But I always always always notice the mistakes.

    • Okay, so two things… One, I fixed your comment (not because it bothered me, but I’m sure it was eating you alive!) Haha. Two, I did not know until you said something that you can edit someone’s comment? How weird is that?! Yikes, that just sounds like trouble.

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