Continual Mistakes

As long (or even short) time readers of gamboling will know I have a rather casual acquaintance with grammar. We have never really been friends, I know about grammar, grammar doesn’t know about me, and that annoys me. So I don’t waste too much of my precious time on something that never returns my calls.

I mention all of this because after my post on the subject of five items or fewer Nick asked me to prove why it made a difference and after thinking about it for a bit I think that a) I can’t and b) I don’t care. Nick has exactly nailed the point that I’ve been arguing for years with Kris that most of the things that the grammar Nazis* complain about doesn’t actually matter for sense.

I mean I know that in reality, as I did in that article, you can explain the difference between the two words. And I know that when I see a van which says, “warning this van continuously stops” I laugh because of course that would mean that it can’t ever move. But I still know what it means. I don’t just know “what it’s supposed to mean” I actually know “what it means”. I appreciate the wrongness after I appreciate the meaning. Therefore to all intents and purposes** I know exactly what it means.

So, I apologise for the post. Kris has his own blog, he can write his own grammar based posts from here on in. And while we are at it this is probably also a lot like the kind of post that Kris might write too: Cul de Sac as the story about the derivation of Cul de Sac is one he told me.

* I was going to, as a joke, write “grammar Natzi’s” but my credentials are probably so low you might think it was an accident so I didn’t.

** But clichés are right out.

One thought on “Continual Mistakes

  1. Nick Ollivère says:

    Well, I have to say I was hoping you’d go the other way with this. I think some rules of grammar and punctuation are necessary to understanding. But, equally, some are redundant, and then some are borderline. It is in this borderline area that we must wage war. I believe there has to be a grammar elite (rather than Nazis)that upholds a standard above everyone else, that knows what is right and wrong and continuously strives for improvement. The subtleties of meaning in the English language are what make it great, and I think we should fight for them.(Incidentally, I think ‘fewer’ and ‘less’ is probably in the redundant class now.)

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