Dislike Grammar Rules? Don’t Complain About Grammar Errors!
I was rather disappointed to hear a grammar podcaster provide guidance on grammar rules, then suggest an alternative of rebelling against them.
When it comes to podcasts, series that cover grammar rules might be among those I’d be interested in listening to.
I listened recently to a grammar-focused podcast that regularly discusses everything from traditional grammar rules to curious phrases to common grammatical mistakes.
A recent episode was devoted, in part, to one of my biggest grammatical pet peeves: the errant use of the phrase due to to mean because of.
In a nutshell, for those who haven’t read my posts on this topic before, people incorrectly substitute due to when they really mean because of. Due to is used correctly in a sentence when it can be substituted for caused by without adding a helping verb.
I learned this during a journalism writing workshop I attended during, as best I can recall, the summer between eighth and ninth grades; I joined my high school newspaper in my freshman year and was its editor-in-chief during my senior year.
It was during that workshop that a copyediting instructor instilled in us some of his biggest pet peeves, and for some reason, his vehement disapproval of due to stuck with me.
In any case, I was listening to this podcast and was actually enjoying the fact that the podcaster explained the traditional grammar rules surrounding the phrase.
The podcaster explained it exactly as that journalism professor did so many years ago and as I have tried to explain it on this blog.
But then the podcaster said something less welcome: something about how to be a bit “rebellious,” pointing out that less traditional views of the rules surrounding the phrase argued it was acceptable.
This, too often, is the problem with any discussions on grammar: those who seem to place the most value on it then turn around and suggest breaking the very rules on which they hang their proverbial hats.
Yes, I realize the language — all languages — evolve.
But that evolution should come as a natural process of communication.
It should never come from people who purport to value making communication clear and easier to understand and who, simultaneously, then welcome usages that betray the rules that create clear communications.
To put it another way, they shouldn’t expect to eat their cake and have it, too.