We all know by now that "language makes the dictionary" and not that the "dictionary makes the language." Through the years we have seen words added that were either non-words, slang, or unacceptable verbiage in polite conversations. Which is what brings me to the question above. I fear that with continued improper grammatical usage, the "trend" will be for the mis-used term to become the norm. I am noticing it more and more in "adult-speak," and certainly in "classroom speak." Granted we are a long way from the King's Speech, but couldn't we at least give some refinement once again to our attempt at proper grammar?
To answer my own question, when I hear a sentence constructed that sounds like this, I just want to cringe! Me and Bob went to the store. Or, how about Her cousin and her walked to the store. I'm thinking a good dose of teaching pronouns might be in order for all of us. Another question...... when you hear your students commit a grammatical error, do you correct them right on the spot?
So what do you find the most annoying grammatical miscue?
As an English teacher well schooled in grammar, any grammatical error burns my ears. I have learned through the years not to admit to people that I am an English teacher because they immediately think I'll start correcting their speech so they stop talking. In public and among friends, I rarely correct errors, but with my students, I definitely explained the correct usage.
I despise the new use of the infinitive "to be" (for example: I be leaving now). Since when did we forget that you have to conjugate verbs in the proper tenses?
I also agree that pronoun - antecedent errors head the list of common grammatical mistakes!
It's a toss-up, but I'll go with: "It don't matter."
In general, I like to reserve any grammar correction/commentary for students as well. I refrain from pointing out errors when it comes to most adults. In day-to-day interactions not specific to grammar, one must assume that every other adult is an equal, taking into account all facets of the person. Grammar is just one skill, and I feel it would be disrespectful and inappropriate of me to home in on that one tiny characteristic alone.
I believe that we are all on a continuum of sorts and cannot pretend we are above mistakes. This humility, coupled with a sense of humor, is my primary strategy when working with my students.
Valerie, you have made a good point that we all are human and make mistakes including grammatical mistakes. I like the approach you take with your students. It's worth helping students learn correct speech and writing rules for the appropriate occasion (such as formal and informal style). Maintaining a sense of humor is good advice in correcting many situations.
Ironically, grammarians don't even all agree on what is correct grammar! However, we have grammatical rules to help us uphold certain speaking and writing standards. The digital age with texting and graffiti language is making the teaching of grammar even more of a challenge.
I agree with you that good grammar seems to be a thing of the past. But, my pet peeve is the way my students and even the adults I work with misuse words in everyday speech. For instance, when a child is saying that something belongs to them they do not say "This is mine.", they say "This is mines." I tell them that mines are where we go to get gold, silver and diamonds. People say foe, when they mean four, cent when they mean cents, and axe when they mean ask. I talk to my students about the difference in playground language and classroom, formal language but when the adults around them persist in talking this way, what are the children learning? And now, I am even hearing news reporters and people in authority talking this way. Yikes! I don't think the late Daniel Webster would be pleased at all....
It is good to see that others are also disturbed by some of the speech we are hearing not only in school, but also in public venues. One thing we might remember when discussing the importance of good grammar and proper speech with our students is that the business world uses proper speech as a #1 criteria for hiring. Proper communication and proper attire can be game breakers for entering the workforce.
For some reason, it always bothers me to hear children say, "I could care less," when they really mean that they couldn't care less.
As my own children get older, I've noticed them gently correcting the grammar and pronunciation of their grandparents and a few relatives. It amuses me, especially when it's not received in the helpful vein in which it's offered. One relative recently responded with, "Well, that's just the way we talk down here [in Southern Indiana]. We have our own language." My 10-year-old daughter looked at me and said, "Great! Now I have to learn three languages!" She was referring to English, Spanish and whatever is spoken in Southern Indiana, I guess.
I teach technology at an elementary school. The most common grammatical irritation is the use of "like" when not comparing or used in simile. "Like, you know, when you like run and fall. It like hurts". My response is usually humorous where I act confused and seek understanding. I might say, "Did you actually fall, or simply like fall? When falling, one could get hurt. Whereas, like falling, is far safer. Which is it? After a while students stop the misuse because, after all, they like to be understood.
"Like, you know, you like got the point." I really enjoyed reading your response. The way you handle students in helping them figure out their own grammatical mistakes is very clever. It's always great when teachers can use humor to get across a point. Students usually respond well to that approach.
I find it very irritating when children (and adults) use you're and your, their and there, and to and too incorrectly. As a third grade teacher, we teach homophones and reinforce the importance of spelling words like these correctly. Everyone needs to pay closer attention to details while writing.
I agree, Kelly!
I've had several conversations with my oldest (now 13) about using proper spelling and grammar while texting. I think that's going to be an uphill battle.
I'd be interested to hear from others about whether they believe that texting is having a negative impact on proper spelling and grammar. What's the best way to fight "text-ese"?
I thoroughly enjoyed reading the responses. We used to tell the children that when they were in school that they had to practice language as it would be used in the "workplace." We gradually changed that to the name of our school for using proper grammar. "On tomorrow" is the one that drives me crazy; however, as much as we don't like it, geography and culture are impressive first experiences with language. That is why I used to tell the children to read out loud sometimes, not just for fluency, but so they could hear good usage. We have tons of literature that uses street language or home language, or language of the times and setting for realistic fiction and it is very popular with readers. I'm a librarian at heart, so I just wanted them to read, but we all need to reinforce properly spoken English.
Sorry... I just had to post this. The comment below is from one of the more prominent e-card vendors. I rest my case about society not paying due diligence to proper grammar. I would copy and past it in, but Community doesn't allow that feature so I will type in verbatim what they sent to me.Personally, I do not call that good corporate role-modeling
"Sandy and Rusty has sent you a card."