I know what’s going on. I know that co-workers are starting to speak to me less often for fear that what they say will end up in the blog. I’ve noticed the family members giving me evil looks because they think that page 117 of Literally, the Best Language Book Ever was inspired by their poor language skills. I’m kidding, of course, but I do enjoy it when I find that other people get as annoyed as the staff at languageandgrammar.com does when a perfectly innocent noun is turned into a perfectly awful and awkward verb.
Dave, a reader, recently referred me to a Calvin and Hobbes comic that pokes fun at that very topic. I also recently saw a promo for a situation comedy. I have no idea what show it was, but I know that it was the standard American situation comedy because there was an attractive woman married to an unattractive, sloppy man with his gluteus maximus planted on the couch. Anyway, the dialogue for this show was refreshing to me. The young, attractive woman said All I want to do is club and spa. The man responded with You like all of your verbs to be things. I’m going to sofa for a while.
I’m just saying–we’re not the only ones.
Paul’s book–Literally, the Best Language Book Ever;
What I wished to comment on was an opinion I have on why grammar & language skills have declined so much. Do you think it possible because few people bother to read books any more? And some of these books, among the best sellers, don’t always use the best grammar themselves. I grew up reading. It was my main entertainment, not to mention my outside-of-school education. It opened up new worlds, new cultures, & new ideas. I feel sorry for those who don’t bother to read much – or if it’s not on a screen or some sort.
I taught my three sons to read at a very early age too but never forced it on them. They’re all voracious readers still. And their grammar & use of the language is excellent too (although the youngest isn’t much of a speller). It’s not something we’ve ever had to think about. And that’s why I believe reading lots, especially while growing up, forms the main basis for good language structure. Deciding whether to write its or it’s, whose or who’s or whether to use the plural form of a verb when the subject is “one of ___” has never been a problem.
If someone, not colour blind, grew up only among people who were colour blind (to read & green & thought it the same colour), he(she) might assume that that a single word applied to both colours, even though they saw the colour difference. It’s similar to people with language now. Whether something is spoken or written grammatically correct or not, few people see a difference. Both seem fine to them. Even among friends who are educated & quite intelligent – if they’re not readers, their language skills are only average to poor. And surprisingly to me, one of these friends is a public speaker! He’s an amazingly good speaker but only a so-so writer.
Too bad more people don’t know the joys of reading. And with the way our world has opened to other cultures, there are countless wonderful translations of foreign classics to be enjoyed too.
Excuse me for being snoopy, Paul & Sherry, but how much do you two read when you can? And what sort of books do you enjoy reading?
Short response to the above noter’s: ” Do you think it possible because few people bother to read books any more?”
I have also noticed what I see as a decline in quality editing of recently published books. How are we supposed to learn the correct sentence structure if our books sloppy?
Reply from Sherry: Indeed, you share my view of why, at least in part, many of us don’t write as well as we could. If many professionals don’t know about grammar, punctuation, etc., then from whom are we supposed to learn? After all, reading is part of the process of learning how to write.