Friday, October 3, 2014

Grammar Police

       I listened to an interview with Steven Pinker the other day. Pinker is a psychologist who specializes in communication. He's written a number of  books on the topic and is known world wide.

       Pinker's latest book deals with effective communication. Guess what? He says throw out the rules. So I assume that means toss the grammar.

      Now a couple of bloggers I follow have from time to time written about good writing and the rules that guide us.

     I started to think about his proposition. As a blogger, I rarely think about the rules. I like to spell things correctly and my friend, the spell check is a great assistant. I like to be able to write something that will make sense to the reader. If it doesn't make sense people will not read me and not follow me. I do go back over what I've written to see if it makes sense. I add more information to give the reader a fuller picture of my topic. But I don't really think of the rules. I don't think about sentence structure. I don't watch my punctuation. I've forgotten what dependent and independent clauses are. I end many sentences with prepositions.

    Now to make an admission. I was a Middle School language arts teacher. I thought grammar was important and spent much time trying to teach it. I taught grammar every year until I retired. It got harder and harder because they stopped teaching it in elementary school. All my colleagues stopped teaching grammar. And now I've forgotten most of what I taught! So Pinker's proposition got me thinking.

    Now I look around at the blogs I follow and enjoy. They get their point across and describe something interesting or present an interesting idea. I follow some awesome photographers. They don't just let their photos do the talking but they add great descriptions and discussions. If I was to consider the writing abilities of different bloggers I would soon quit blogging. The fun part of blogging is to have something to say and be able to pass it on in a meaningful interesting way and have readers respond.

    So do you think the rules should be rigidly applies?