I’ve never claimed to be a grammarian. My time as an English major was spent reading literature, not parsing sentence structure. (Though a tortured sentence could make my enjoyment of any story come to a screeching halt.) Spelling, now – I used to be pretty good at correct spelling until Microsoft Word made me a little soft. (It’s my fingers that can’t spell, not my brain – really – they get a lot of little squiggly red lines.)
The most basic point of decent grammar and spelling are to create common understanding so that we can communicate. Given that, I suppose my grammar is sound enough due to all the practice of reading and writing, just don’t ask me much beyond explaining nouns, verbs, adverbs, and adjectives. I base most of my grammar judgment in how a sentence or phrase sounds when I read it out loud. (A trick I highly recommend before you send out that message to anyone whose opinion matters.)
I am still doing much better than some people. Such as those who never grasped the important task that the apostrophe holds in showing possession. This must be why we had to do pages and pages of Bill’s dog and Laura’s pencil ad nauseam and still too many people might call this Beths blog as if it were written by numerous people named Beth. (Clearly they don’t do their typing on Microsoft Word because I just had to tell it to ignore Beths.)
And since I brought up their – more possession – it shouldn’t be confused with they’re there, as in they are there in that moment to understand their proper usage.
Maybe in this world of text speak and informal interaction it isn’t as important to make the proper spelling and grammatical impression. But maybe it is – if you want the job, or the grade, or to show your erudition.
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