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Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Why Bother with Grammar?

Why Bother with Grammar?
When I was a young man, teaching grammar in school was a waste of time.
Let out that air I hear you old folks sucking in all aghast*. 
Yes, it was a waste of time, because no one uses it today.  Incorrect grammar today is glossed over because we don’t want to offend young people.  (anyone under 60)
“I had went to my mom house.”
In the olden days, this would have been corrected at home, school or on the job.
“Excuse me, I believe you mean to say that “you had gone to your mom’s house.”
In the old days learning would take place.
“Oh, I have been saying it wrong? Thank you for correcting me”
“No! I had went to my mom house…you be racist!”
“But you’re white.”
“You still be racist!”
So, our young people go through life sounding stupid because no one is willing to correct their (they) grammar.  They will never get a job that pays more than minimum wage, but they will not be insulted.
Besides, much of what we were taught in school was either wrong or useless.
When is the last time you have been asked to diagram a sentence?
What about the spelling rule “I before E except after C, or sounds like ay as neighbor and neigh.”
This is a great rule except it is wrong about 40% of the time.  Also, is “Neigh” even a word?  In my life I have never read, written or spoken the word “Neigh” except in that stupid worthless spelling rule.
How about, “Never end a sentence with a preposition?”  This is also a bull crap rule that elitist love to throw at you.  The rule should be “Never end a sentence a preposition with, if it sounds stupid.”
I.E. “What are you doing that for?”  Does not sound stupid.  “Why for are you doing that” sounds stupid.”
I say, no more rules! If It is now alright (all right?) to conversate, then anything goes.  Don’t worry about tenses, we probably know what you mean.  Commas and punctuation are for sissies.  The possessive “’S” is a waste of an apostrophe and a letter; we probably know what you mean.
Speaking “correct” English grammar is elitist and racist.  Sounding like a complete idiot who never bothered to attend school is cool.  Don’t correct your children’s grammar, encourage them to sound stupid.
The day will soon come when someone will say, “The other day I went to my mother’s house.” And they will be shamed with, “You mean ‘You had wented to you mom house’ doncha.”
Enough with grammar, why teach what is a moving target.
“Forsooth perchance thou meant to relate ‘Thou hath gone forth to the house of your Mother.’”
*Just to be clear, this is satire, and yes, I expect there to be a few grammatical errors that need to be corrected…have at it.


  1. The purpose of language is to communicate an idea. If the idea gets communicated, then mission accomplished.

    Although people who flub "less" and "fewer" still kind of annoy me.

  2. My ten year old grandson was demonstrating how kids talk now -- imitations of rap singers apparently. That boy boy knows exactly how to push my buttons.
    As a surprise to no one, I loved diagraming sentences.

  3. It is horrifying what passes as communication these days..

  4. You nailed it. Our society is changing, even in how we talk and use words, sentences and grammar. I've noticed in old movies of the 30's and 40's. They talk different; more formal. Now, I can hardly understand what is being said. My niece must think I am hard of hearing because I am constantly asking her to repeat what she said.

    I may not speak, the Queens english, I do try and use what I was taught back in the old days.

  5. Would you believe that the only class I ever had to take during the summer was an English grammar class. Evidently, my grammar skills were sub par.

  6. Others do not have to use good grammar in front of me, but i must use it, it's an instinct. As i used to say in my English classes, i won't always know the rule, but i know if something sounds grammatically correct or not, and how to correct it if it does not.

    "Neigh" is the sound a horse makes, although i learned the rule's exceptions as "neighbor" and "weigh."

  7. Neigh is most definitely a word; it's what horses do.
    Without grammar, "Let's eat, Grandma" becomes "Let's eat grandma"
    I before E causes far too many problems when viewed as a rule, far better for children to learn the proper spelling of words without that rule.
    I truly deplore the arrival of days when we all sound like ignorant rednecks of any colour or race.

  8. I always have to laugh that Mohammed spoke better English than Danielle on 90 Day Fiance!

  9. I really enjoyed this post Joe and sadly understood a lot of it not due to my schooling but from listening to today's generation.

    Punctuation and commas I kind of use willy nilly and always have but at least you all understand me...Right?

  10. The company I work for is a stickler for grammar. I get the really obvious errors like I had went to my mom's house but I can lose 0.25 of a point on an audit if I leave an "a" out where it grammatically could be. Considering that we are held to 99.65% quality and a grammar error is 0.25, one can fail a report if one has 2 grammar errors in a report. My biggest gripe is leaving out an "a" never has killed a patient; improper dosing perhaps, but an "a"?

    I loved diagramming sentences in my youth. So much fun.


  11. Okay. My 13-year-old self can't resist. Like River's example above about eating and Grandma...I saw a t-shirt that made me snicker. I'm pretty sure I've mentioned it before, but my 13-year-old self has no self-control, and can't resist using it every time the opportunity arises.

    Make sure not to leave out the commas when you tell someone, "I helped my uncle, Jack, off a horse."

  12. Loved this post. It conjured up all those days I was kept after school to correct a composition. My brain being what it is/was I could never master such things as verbs, nouns, pronouns, etc. Still can't, if I'm honest!!

  13. I use to be the class champ in diagramming sentences. To me it was a fun game to disassemble a sentence with much the joy of guys who tore down engines. However you would never know today that I was the champ and English was my buddy. I just now learned that diagramming had two m's. I still struggle and probably should be grateful that the language is like you so aptly put, "a moving target." Now my errors aren't quite so obvious.

  14. So true! I know people today who have multiple college degrees who can't speak correct English or even write a complete sentence. HOW DID THEY PASS COLLEGE ENGLISH? *How's that "dumbing down" thing going for us?*

  15. It still annoys me when I see grammatical errors in a book or on a billboard!!

  16. Luckily i count myself from almost final era of such significance .
    It hurts a lot still when my kids learn wrong grammar even from their teacher (i mean who can select them as teacher?) in the beginning i corrected the copies of my kids but it was not beneficial as when papers after exams are checked by same teachers they cannot give marks to my kid who's answer differ from other whole class so i gave up .though i tell them right one but don't force them to apply in school how shameful.

    I studied in govt school where i got my first book of english alphabet in grade 6 not like today's private section schools which start english from playgroup and still are so poor in their result

  17. It's important to know when to be a stickler about grammar. When you talk to your friends you can be way more relaxed than while at work.

    Sometimes correct grammar is important to understanding something correctly. I admire my parents, Mother Teresa, and the Pope means something different than I admire my parents, Mother Teresa and the Pope.

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    1. It drives me crazy when people misuse "I" and "me". As for diagramming, I love it! I have a genius friend who diagrammed the Declaration of Independence, and it was a wonder to behold. There used to be a website called and she would answer all our grammar questions. Unfortunately, we lost her a few years back.


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