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Saturday, 6 February 2010

Grammar Matters

Is it pedantic to be irked by the commonly used expression, "You have two can do this or this..." ? It is said all the time and it is silly! That isn't two choices - it is one choice: an either, or! Two choice would be this and this or this and this! It is irksome on the same lines as the ubiquitous apostrophe in describing decades. It is common to see 1980's, 1990's (which means, 'of 1980' or 'of 1990'). The 1980s don't need that apostrophe, do they?? Of course, none of it really matters and language develops alongside grammar but, at the same time, the rudiments of grammar are part of our heritage and deserve to be preserved alongside historic buildings and national treasures, simply because they are beautiful!

Mathematicians find beauty in numbers and, though I do not understand numbers so well, their ability to see the musical perfection in equations and patterns is something like a work of art to me. I might not understand it but it's wonderful to appreciate people who do understand it. There is precision in it and 'God is in the detail'. It seems that the same is true of language and the use of words. Words are so precious and syntax and phraseology are so fascinating and developed through many centuries. It cannot be correct to throw them around and discard all the precision that has gone into the making of literature and wonderful poetry and prose throughout ages.

Grammar matters, just as precision in art or mathematics matters. In throwing out the basics of our language, we throw away eons of our history and the refinements of past ages.

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