19 May 2008

Doesn't You Got Good Grammer? Part Two

Have you noticed language changing lately? Who makes the changes, and when does the change become "correct" English? And who gets to decide what constitutes "correct" English? Have you thought about that?

My limited training was in the field of journalism. "Our book" was the AP Stylebook, also known as the Bible. There are things that are "right" in the Stylebook but technically "wrong" in your English term paper. For example, in speaking, I would always refer to my physician as Dr. John Doe (not his real name LOL!) or Dr. Doe. In your term paper, John Doe, M.D., would be correct, but in the news, "Physician John W. Doe" would be best. AP Stylebook also does not use commas before the word "and," as in, "I want blueberries, sugar, and cream." AP Stylebook nixes the final comma to read, "I want blueberries, sugar and cream." WRONG on your term paper, but correct in print media. So now I'm teaching English to my children, but I keep forgetting that last comma. Sometimes I think perhaps I ought not bother teaching it if it will change in ten years anyway.

I've noticed of late that states are almost never fully written out except on maps. No more are we allowed periods in our abbreviations, either. Miss. is not an abbreviation for Mississippi, despite what you were taught in grade school. Forget it. The US Postal Service gets to decide these things now. ME for Maine and MO for Missouri. Who came up with that and do we really need to pay 58 dollars a stamp to pay for his retirement?

I was just reading on another blog about the MLA, or Modern Language Association. Pretty much every public schooler in high school must use the MLA style for bibliographies and the like. Yet I'm reading blogs like this (http://www.campusreportonline.net/main/articles.php?id=1800) discussing how these august educators spend their time refining the ideas language arts teachers bring to shaping the curricula for colleges nationwide:
Highlights of the Modern Language Association’s 2005 Convention. Panel titles such as “Queering Faulkner,” “Marxism and Globalization,” and “What’s the Matter with Whiteness” reflected popular demand among tenured and starlet English professors alike who attended the meeting by the thousands.
I think I'd rather have bad grammer. Thanks for trying to teech me anyways.


  1. Well written Mrs C.

    I am really pleased that my high school English teacher doesn't read my blog. I start sentences with And and But, I seem to have forgotten most of the grammatical rules that were so painstakingly drummed into our heads..

    ooops!! and my English teacher would hate all the extra fullstops I use... she would remind me that they should only be used when part of a quote has been quoted.. *Sigh*

    oh well send the grammar police over to visit me as well. hehehehe

    cheers kim xxx

  2. I don't think they even TEACH grammar at my daughter's school. Or should that be at my daughters school?


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