R4Today Are those who insist on 'correct' punctuation and grammar custodians of the language or dry and dusty old codgers?

(8 Posts)
Earthymama Thu 02-May-13 08:07:17

There will a discussion within the next half hour on pedantry.
Sorry to be abrupt, I am in a rush. smile

YokoUhOh Thu 02-May-13 08:22:08

There are two types of pedants: conservative pedants and liberal pedants (I'm the latter). I believe that the English language is changing all the time (we'd all still be speaking Gaelic/Norman French/Old English if we were to have stuck to the rules, historically). I think we should just do away with apostrophes, such is their widespread misuse. A conservative pedant seeks to preserve the English language in aspic, much like the Académie Française.

Written English is changing rapidly at the moment because we all wrote more, anymore often, due to social networking, texting etc.

YokoUhOh Thu 02-May-13 08:23:10

And the iPhone has rendered my final paragraph utter nonsense sad

SconeRhymesWithGone Fri 03-May-13 18:01:40

Liberal pedant, that's I that's me.

Chewbecca Mon 13-May-13 19:06:37

You can't just do away with apostrophes with no replacement. They change the meaning of words. I love Eats, Shoots and Leaves by Lynne Truss for all the examples she provides that demonstrate how the removal of an apostrophe changes the meaning, the legal document examples are especially interesting. (to me!).
The iPad is terrible for this though, yesterday I noticed (after posting blush )it added an apostrophe in yours where I didn't want or need one.
I do agree with you however that there's little hope for grammar/spelling over the coming decades.

TheRealFellatio Mon 13-May-13 19:12:32

Do away with apostrophes? shock

What nonsense. They are there for a reason!

YokoUhOh Tue 14-May-13 13:20:15

It's not nonsense, it's pragmatic. Everyday written English is littered with wrongly-placed apostrophes. My friend's English teacher had an apostrophe rule: if in doubt, leave it out. We need them much less than most people think we do and the Germans just use cases instead

I don't think it is wrong to insist on correct grammar and punctuation, so long as you recognise that some differences are stylistic rather than erroneous.

"After growing up in Dublin, his parents took him to live in London." Who grew up in Dublin? Not clear.

"And let us never forget the contribution of our allies in the Far East." You shouldn't start a sentence with and - don't just regurgitate what your junior school teacher told you, engage your brain.

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