grammer + spelin warz

509

their are lots of typos, misspellings and grammar mistakes on the internet. it is, as they say, the nature of the beast. give several billion people access to a keyboard,  a video of a cat and a comment box, and you have a grammatical nightmare of gigantic proportions just weighting to happen. so it should come as no surprise at all that a certain kind of person likes to see it as there job to point out these errors. these men and women are titans of the written word, desperate to defend it from the sort of person who doesn’t know his semi-colon from his descending colon.

the thing is, you’re shoddy spelling is nothing less than a personal affront to these gallant grauniads of grammar, these swashbuckling swordsmen of spelling and syntax. for these brave men and women, a split infinitive is akin to a slap in the face. could you have insulted them more if you had tried? you probably should of killed there dog instead, or maybe insinuated that there mother is overwait. either option would have been preferable to ignorantly splitting that infinitive. after all, these brave defenders of discourse are simply so used to revelling in there own glorious use of grammar that they’ve become allergic to even the smallest of errors, and now moving within a 10 meter radius of a misspelling literally – yeah, i know right? LITERALLY – makes these brave souls explode. so before you read the rest of this article, just take a few miuntes to consider how you’re total disregard for the rules of the english langauge has negatively effected the lives of these people. your truely – truely – an awful human being.

OK, OK, OK, there’s only so much I can take of that kind of thing myself. I’ll stop now. Mind you, I’m sure you get the point; a certain kind of internet user gets (what I can only assume is a semi-sexual) thrill from pointing out and stuffily correcting bad grammar and spelling. Did my obviously bad grammar and spelling really get in the way of your comprehension of the above? Or are you such a stickler for the rules that your eyes start to liquefy at the sight of a sign advertising a sale on ‘banana’s’?

Why do we have rules that govern our language use in the first place? Put simply, it’s to make communicative experience as clear and transparent as possible – a truly admirable goal. But grammar pedants utterly fail to grasp the true spirit of these rules, these rules that allow movement and creativity and change. In their hands, these rules just become a blunt and heavy weapon. All dissenters – be it on the internet on elsewhere – are to be bludgeoned with this big dumb stick, and the true, fluid, musical beauty of language withers and dies in the process. It reminds me of a ten year old me playing Street Fighter with my then eight year old brother. I always picked Ryu, and the only move I knew how to use was his standard Hadouken. And I’d beat my brother EVERY SINGLE TIME with this ONE MOVE I KNEW. I’d always win, but the victory was always a hollow one. It was an uncreative victory. It was a boring, meaningless victory. And these meaningless victories are the only ones that the pedants can hope to win. Fortunately, though, I grew up. And I got better at Street Fighter.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for clear and communicative experience – indeed, there are plenty of examples of absolutely horrific typos and grammar errors throughout history that show the importance of a good standard of proof reading. For instance, a 1631 edition of the King James Bible was published with the famous line ‘thou shalt commit adultery’. And in 2010, a recipe book instructed would-be chefs to add a little twist of ‘freshly ground black people’ to their sardine and prosciutto tagliatelle. Bad spelling has the power to lead an uptight Christian culture down the road to rampant polyamory. It has the power to make Guardian-reading foodies to indulge in racially-motivated cannibalism.

Still, these are admittedly rare occasions. And although bored pedants will point to examples like these as justification for the importance of maintaining high standard of spelling and grammar, it doesn’t change the fact that pointing out an insignificant spelling or grammar mistake is pretty much always a diversionary tactic. It is, essentially, an evasive manoeuvre, because somewhere along the line pointing out a typo became a way to justify not reading something. It is the tactic of choice for not-as-clever-as-they-think-they-are 17 year olds. It is the tactic of choice for uncreative and unintelligent morons who are unable or unwilling to actually engage with a text, but still, for whatever reason, feel the burning desire to criticise it. And the great irony is that these defenders of language do a great violence to it by turning it into a dead and rigid husk (just like their penises LOL).

Sure, they might win a few Facebook likes by snarkily pointing out typos and spelling mistakes, but they stifle creativity and linguistic innovation at the same time. Because the rules governing spellings and grammar have never, ever, changed, have they? Engage with the text, not the typos. It doesn’t matter if that text is a YouTube comment, or a Facebook status, or a SCAN article – the pedant’s way out is the easy way out.