Sunday, July 18, 2010

Lighten Up on the Grammar

It is a curse these days to have a keen eye for grammar.

I know it's been a trope for centuries to say "young people just don't care about proper grammar anymore!" But I really do think our culture's collective English language skills has, in the past five or so years, entered a period of accelerated decline.

The purpose of this post, however, is to tell the grammarians out there to lighten up and recognize the nature of the modern world. Yes, grammar has its place, but there are more and more places these days where grammar has less of a place.

Take texting and tweeting as examples. We will never convince someone who's texting or tweeting to use your, and certainly not you're, when ur suffices for both with fewer characters. Nor will we convince the world that the word texting is improper grammar (to text is a so-called verbified noun--proper grammar would require the inconveniently long phrase to send a text message instead).

Once again, lighten up. And celebrate the extreme flexibility and constant evolution of the English language. After all, if English were like Latin, with its strict rules and rigid vocabulary, how many people would speak it today?