As 2016 comes to a close, I’m browsing the archives for the best posts, category by category. Here are my best grammar posts of 2016.
The all-time top posts of this blog happen to be in the grammar category. If I had picked a narrow niche for this blog, that fact tells me that grammar should probably have been it.
But I like variety, so I write about much more than grammar, even though I think good grammar is very important in actually communicating things to other people. That’s why I write on the subject and, I suppose, why I’m enough of a glutton for punishment on the subject that I choose to work in a career where grammar is quite important.
We are more aware of gender identity than we used to be. We’ve become aware that to some people, there are more options than “male” or “female,” which can cause problems when you do something as innocent as select a pronoun to refer to such a person in a sentence. Some old-school writers hate referring to a single person with the they pronoun, but it might be a better solution.
2. Good Grammar Means Observing Language Standards
It has been my experience that the majority of people who wish to believe there are no (or should be no) standards of grammar just happen to be people who seem to be too lazy to want to follow them. But language is standardized. In the broadest terms, if language wasn’t standardized, the word chair could mean anything: What one person would call a chair might be a chair, while what others would label as such might be a house, a car, or a shotgun.
In scanning the headlines yesterday, I spotted a couple of “year-end” articles and one of them was a list of the 40-some-odd notable people who “came out of the closet” in 2016. Personally, I look forward to a time when “coming out of the closet” isn’t necessary. But in the meantime, here’s a look at where the odd phrase came from.
I see it all the time. I really don’t know why it keeps happening, and I really don’t know why I can’t just get used to it. But every time I see someone incorrectly use an apostrophe to make a word plural, it just drives me crazy, a fact which prompted this reminder post.
An author of more than 100 books on language said one of our oldest punctuation marks, the period, is slowly falling out of favor and says instant messaging may well be to blame. I don’t take such news kindly.
Patrick is a Christian with more than 26 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.