Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Grammar Trauma


I know I have mentioned this in previous posts, but I seriously have issues with bad grammar. Now, I would like to clarify that while I have a sort of automatic eye-rolling reflex when I hear bad grammar from the average citizen, I'm seriously considering suing someone for mental anguish when I see it in publications that are supposed to be staffed by professionals. You know that moment in the movie Ratatouille when Linguini screams repeatedly in wordless horror and revulsion after seeing all those little bite marks on his body? Yeah, that's me with this issue.

Case in point: I was reading in my local newspaper a lovely, heart-warming little article about the YMCA and how much it has helped the youth, two young men in particular. In said article a woman who works for the YMCA was quoted as having said something fond about one of the boys in a rather wry tone. So what's the problem, you ask? The writer, who henceforth may never be called such again, used the word RYE. RYE!!!!! No, no, no!!!

Rye is a grain!! It is used to create flour, from whence we then create crackers and bread. It is not an expression of any emotional content or facial movement. It's a NOUN!! Not an adjective. This so very wrong on such a fundamental level. The people whose PROFESSION it is to create images with words need to have enough of a grasp of the language they're writing in to not make it sound like the woman they're quoting is speaking with her mouth full of a deli sandwich!!!!!

There are supposed to be lines of defense to keep this sort of travesty from happening. People with titles like Proofreader and Editor are supposed to be ever on guard, lest their publication be made to look like the literary don't column with that little black strip that's meant to protect their identity.

I see this problem increasing at an alarming rate. I just read an article on MSN today about tricks that make your make-up last longer during the day. The author, who is clearly an expert in make-up and equally clearly did not do well in the language section of his SAT's, described a particular make-up brush as an AFFECTIVE tool. GAHHHH!!! Affective refers to the causing of emotion. Outside of a few very devoted make-up artists, I can't really see that term applying to a make-up brush. Effective, on the other hand, refers to producing an intended effect. Can you see how using the wrong word can create a completely different meaning than was intended? No wonder people think Americans are stupid. We can't even use our own language correctly! Homonyms only sound the same. They have completely different meanings and it really does matter which one you use when you're writing. You can get away with it when you're speaking, but one should really know what one is actually saying.

I can hear y'all out there telling me to just chill. It's not that big a deal, and I could not agree less. I'll share with you something that most people don't think about. The fall of every great civilization was preceded by the corruption of their language. I like my civilization. I have no desire to see it fall nor to contribute to said fall in any way. Therefore I will force my children to speak correctly and campaign for other people, namely those whose job it is, to at least TRY. 'Cause it matters. It really does.

9 comments:

beth♥ said...

Vent away, luv.

Melissa said...

I am totally with you. It golls me to no end when I sea homonymns used porely. I wont to send these people a letter every thyme I sea words like this, because it defiantly drives me nuts! (I bet it killed you to read that just now, didn't it?)

Marni's Organized Mess said...

Melissa's comment above is hilarious. At first I was like, really? She's probably knocking you on that. Then I got further in...

Anyways, I am in no way perfect OR as educated as yourself! :-P But my grandmother did make sure that every time I spoke incorrectly she would make me say it proper again. I am so glad now.

Blazing Goddess said...

beth- A rant, indeed. Thanks for your support.

Melissa- I think my eyes are bleeding right now. Evil woman. lol

Marni- It does make a difference, doesn't it? People already slide by on an awful lot. This one just irks me.

Melain said...

First of all, WHAT is with the EYEBALL! That freaked me out.

Secondly, maybe you could write to Obama and he could create a branch of government designed to screen all outgoing editorials in media. It is, after all, an issue of national security if indeed it precedes the fall of our civilization!

BUST OUT THE PICKET POSTERS!!!

Vincent said...

With you and yet I want to prescribe to you the alternative remedy that I find soothing. When I find these errors in spelling and grammar, I'm grateful that the authors have revealed so publicly their lack of education or carefulness. It's very handy to be forewarned.

As for the local newspaper, even national newspapers are feeling the pinch & increasingly cannot afford those copy editors. Which means of course that the journalists themselves must be able to check their work.

I listen to BBC radio 4 a lot; and have the highest expectations of its standards, but it frequently disappoints, though more by its use of tired clich├ęs than actual errors.

If I may address a quibble to Melain: outgoing editorials? Do you have any other type of editorial in your wonderful innovative land?

Blazing Goddess said...

Melain- If I thought Obama was in any way interested in preserving our country, I just might do that.

Vincent- Thanks for the presecription. It is helpful to know the educational levels of those from whom you gather information, but I would find the forewarning more comforting if the problem weren't so blastedly pervasive. And outgoing editorials would be the ones he's given his stamp of approval to. All must be filtered by the Mighty Lord Obama. 'Cause we dumb hicks can't figure out anything without his help. Yeah. I'm a fan.

Kristen said...

I love your post! Nice work. I'm not one for watching really old movies, but occasionally I'll dip in the vault. My Fair Lady and Singing in the Rain are some of my favs and does Psycho count? lol

Kristen said...

DANG IT! I posted this on the wrong blog post! haha Oops, my bad.