The Grammar Battle

I bought my smart phone about a year and a half ago and swore I’d never adopt the abbreviations and made up words that are becoming so prevalent. As a writer, grammar is of utmost importance to me. Typos and misspellings make me crazy. Well, it took about two months of texting before I gave in to the shortened lingo. It’s just so much easier and faster to type LOL, OMG, what r u doing 2nite…

That said, there continues to be a debate (at least among certain age groups) about how we are losing our grammatical and communication skills. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but our modes and means of communicating are certainly changing. I do know that if you’re online at all, there’s a new kind of peer pressure to accept this new kind of “grammar”.

Some days I like it, some days I don’t. However, I have brought my grammatical pet peeves with me to the online world, and outline some of them here. Unfortunately, I now see/hear these in the written word as well as on TV and radio commercials, which makes me think that proper grammar is becoming extinct.

*It’s. Contraction. Stands for “it is”. It is blue. It’s blue.

*Its. It is a pronoun and replaces a noun. What is its name? Its name is irrelevant.

*There. Adverb, adjective, noun or pronoun. Denotes space. There you are. He went over there.

*Their. Pronoun. Possessive. Where is their car? Who are their relatives?

*That v. Which

If you can drop the clause without changing the meaning of the sentence, use which and set it off with commas. If dropping the clause changes the meaning of the sentence, use that.

Pizza that’s less than an inch deep just isn’t Chicago-style.

Pizza, which is a favorite among Chicagoans, can either bad for you or good, depending on how much of it you eat.

If you remove “that’s less than an inch deep” from the first sentence, it becomes inaccurate. If, however, you take out the clause “which is a favorite among Chicagoans” from the second sentence, it still makes sense.

(Example from the Chicago Manual of Style)

Last but not least, could we please remove the words “like” and “you know” from our vocabulary? You know, like, that makes me crazy.


7 Responses to The Grammar Battle

  1. I have yet to use “lol” in a serious way. It worries me that people will say it, though. That is just crazy! 🙂 But yes, I agree with you that it’s hard to say our real sense of grammar is going out the window because the modes of communication are changing as well.

    Maybe there is just more writing in general. The people who are going to write professionally are not going to be using the abbreviations in their life’s work, and the people who normally wouldn’t have touched a typewriter in the old days will use all the LOLs and OMGs. Since more people are writing than before, more people are going to be writing lazily and badly. But there will always be the Chicago Manuel of Style, just as there will always be Chicago-style pizza in the future when we have pizza pills.


  2. Thanks for your comments, Jennifer. Pizza pills?! Although I love new technology, I am not looking forward to that particular innovation.


  3. Linda Barber Roach says:

    As always, beautifully stated … like, ya know?



    • Peter Corbett says:

      One of the most enjoyable moments of a recent holiday came when I was able to erase some “greengrocers’ apostrophes” from a chalk menu board outside a cafe. Sad or what! Who cares? And yes, I am happy to argue about that apostrophe above – greengrocers’ or greengrocer’s. Or indeed greengrocers as it’s used in adjectival form. Now, there’s a conundrum.

      Peter Corbett


      • I completely understand. Fixing a public typo can be very gratifying. Why? I have no idea, but I would have done the same thing. Did you then relax at the cafe in view of the sign, patting yourself on the back?


  4. Peter Corbett says:

    No, sadly we were walking back to the car after an evening out. Shame


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    blog before but after checking through some of the post I realized it’s new to me.

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