I’ve started to ease off of correcting grammar. It’s a waste of my time and theirs. I’m also falliable and prone to the occasional error. It’s entirely constructed by people who assume authority over the rest of us, and evolving as those dynamics change. Vernacular is just as acceptable in most informal methods of communication as English following guidelines. You can’t always fit it into 140 characters. Context is the most important part of language; applying grammatical rules blanketly is ignoring context.

See the semi-colon I used there to weave together two separate sentences? Yeah, I’m going to talk about that for a bit.

I will judge people based on their use of language, within context. Tweets have entirely different needs and purposes from essays or formally published articles, and even the published work of paid writers can bend the rules depending on the character of the channel used. People voicing opinions of the marginalized, silenced, and oppressed shouldn’t have non-conventional phrases or structures removed or changed if they’re part of the context.

But when the published material is of the status quo, I goddamn expect the established rules of grammar to be followed.

The example that rubbed me the wrong way before I even got to the meat of this article, in a magazine targeted towards a specific profession, is the ever prevalent comma-however faux pas. It’s prevalent in correspondence and self-published material and that makes me cringe – but seeing this in what is supposed to be a proper publication turns that cringe into a blood-boil. Even Microsoft Word spotted the error, as the article was copied and pasted into a collection of current commentary distributed to my department. It should not have passed the editing process, and if anyone was paid to review this I want to see their head on a pike.

Nearly all Canadian business executives are optimistic about their companies’ growth prospects in the first six months of 2014, however, they are less certain about their ability to recruit experienced talent for open jobs, according to a Robert Half survey.

Can you spot the source of my anger there? Punctuation serves a valuable purpose in understanding the intended tone of the string of words thrown together. This rule was drilled into my head in high school English classes. It was further reinforced with heavy emphasis in academic writing courses in university. I got into arguments with trolls on the internet over this and proved myself right. When you combine two sentences using however, you do so with a semi-colon before said word. This sentence should’ve been “Yadda yadda yadda in the first since months of 2014; however, they are less certain about asefnaweriulw3a ;seula934.” (I somewhat sincerely believe my gibberish substitutions there should also be applied, but that’s for separate reasons.)

Comma splices annoy me for many reasons. I will forgive them in casual circumstances as described above. I will not forgive them in business journalism.

I didn’t read the rest of the article.


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