Grammarian

Dont you just hate it when somebody corrects your grammar? Maybe thats never happened to you, or maybe there are times when you feel like correcting somebody elses grammar. You dont though, because that would be rude. Come to think of it, the whole concept of using good grammar seems to be a thing of the past, considering all the abbreviated figures of speech we use nowadays in emails and tweets. But theres at least one place where good grammar is encouraged and even insisted upon.

One of the roles I love to perform at toastmasters is that of Grammarian. For each meeting, one member takes note of any grammatical errors that are made during speeches and reports on the number of uhs and ums and other filler words that she heard that night. When someone is speaking in public, whether in person or via some electronic medium, he may be the smartest person in the world, but if he says something like, It might have went out, or For my wife and I, his credibility as an authority, for me, has just been destroyed. Being the grammarian gives me a good excuse to correct someones grammar. I loved English grammar in junior high. I loved diagramming sentences, because it appealed to my sense of logic and order. I loved identifying the category for each word and assigning it its proper place on the diagram. I know thats kind of geeky in a way, but it built the foundation for my understanding how our language works. For instance, the reason why for my wife and I is grammatically incorrect is that its a prepositional phrase, with the word for being the preposition and the objects are my wife and I. But you see, the Word I cannot be the object of anything. It can only be used as the subject. The phrase should be for my wife and me. For some reason, people seem to be afraid to use the word me. They often will substitute the word myself incorrectly as in, Just call my wife or myself. Again, it should be, Just call my wife or me. I once did a speech called, Its all About Me. As for the It might have went, mistake, its a matter of laziness in speech. The same is true for he had ran. Today I read an article written by a famous public speaker, and he actually wrote It might have went. Ouch. I physically recoiled at his error. How could he do that to himself? That young man needs a Toastmaster Grammarian to correct the errors of his words.

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2 thoughts on “Grammarian

  1. Those of us who are sensitive to grammar live in a world of syntactic cacophony. I have problems when speakers say “Utilize” to make their idea sound more important when “Use” works just as well; they’ve even started ringing in variations like “Utilizable” and “Utilizations.”
    And then there’s “More importantly”….

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