STMA: I'm A Stickler For Grammar

I abhor lolspeak.

[](http://www.cynical-c.com/archives/006275.html)Seth Godin wrote a while back that he finds bad punctuation “distracting.” I’d say that’s entirely too kind a characterization. Maybe we blame the terrible American public schools, or maybe we blame mobile phones and the internet, or maybe the ubiquity of spell check. I don’t really care. My hammer of judgment falls (figuratively) whenever I accidentally view comments on YouTube.

Anyone want to venture a guess as to why language developed? I’m going to claim that communication was up there on the list. Perhaps too much staring at computer code has wired me to be easily annoyed by deviation from the standard. But the communication that exists between a human programmer and a computer is the most demandingly (spell check says I made up that word) standardized interaction that comes to mind. Strongly typed programming languages - and I mean strongly typed like ADA - make this a little easier by checking at compile time that all the rules have been followed. Kind of like having an English teacher follow you around.

[](http://galleries.thelondonpaper.com/apostrophes-in-wrong-place-bad-grammar-bad-signs/)That doesn’t happen in human language. There is no compiler… or is there? Every time someone speaks to me, or writes something that I read, my brain parses, compiles, and assembles their words (along with nonverbal cues or punctuation as appropriate). If I don’t follow the same standards and use the same definitions as whoever I’m interacting with, I’m liable to misunderstand. Now imagine that they have no standard. I cannot possibly hope to understand them. At that point, language has failed its only purpose, and I gain nothing. New policy: failure to follow correct language standards (within a small margin of error) will result in being ignored since my time is too valuable to waste trying to puzzle out what “teh hizoase IZ burn!” means.

That may be a pretty severe example. I Corinthians 14:7-9 is Paul’s charge to a church that they use language as it was meant to be used - for communication. Edifying others by passing on your own knowledge. (Now imagine if I’d written, “Edifying others buy passing on you’re own knowledge.” You have my permission to scream in rage.)

I could write many, many more pages on this, but I think you get the point.