A break from the norm

I’m waiting for a work team to come in tonight, which is a break from the norm in our Young Life schedule. I’m excited to post pictures a week from now of a fully constructed home in Z3. But for now, I’ll take a break from the norm and go on a little grammar rant.

A few days ago my Uncle posted that someone returned his class ring that he lost in Lake Huron 32 years ago. Fun. Then I noticed that Mlive – the online outpost of the Grand Rapids Press – posted the story. Fun again. Living in Guatemala, we just don’t get to see news headlines that revolve around someone taking the time to track down the owner of a ring, and that person getting a piece of his past back.

It’s not a sensational story. The people in the story are not famous. The story will not show up outside of Mlive. Not many people will read it on Mlive. But, I still appreciated that they posted it.

Until I got to the comments section. The comments are filled with condescending grammar remarks because the author quoted my Uncle as saying “could of.” While it’s grammatically correct to either say could’ve of could have, it’s a simple mistake of someone trying to be faithful to the quoted source. Apparently some people making comments could not leave it there, and it frustrates me that the focus was taken off the fun, upbeat story and put on a small grammatical error.

I’m an English Ed major. I love grammar. It frustrates me to no end that I regularly make grammatical errors as I learn Spanish. But, the rule of thumb in the grammar world – use it to instruct, not to condescend. If the people making comments are really that concerned about the grammatical faithfulness of Mlive.com, then take it up with the editor or address it in an appropriate fashion. Or, they could start contributing themselves and wait for the comments to flow.

I posted a brief summary of this post in response to the grammar haters, and am just waiting for someone to rip into my response. I guess that’s the nature of public forums.

I thought I’d end with this little poke at the English language that Joel found – it made me laugh to think about English from an outsider’s perspective. Before anyone on an English pedestal decides to let me know that this focuses on word usage, not punctuation etc. I know. I just think it’s funny. Maybe we should just enjoy the story about my Uncle’s ring for what it is too!


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