Haven’t been doing enough here, because once loyal readers skip ahead to the Facebook headlines. Today I’m doing a reverse post. Collating Facebook one liners into a coherent argument.
What I did at Facebook today.
(Don’t you wish you had the energy and tenacity? You don’t.) Excuse me. I’m pissed. Nobody left to defend Standard English against anyone who argues for, or can’t be bothered to defend against, coarse illiteracy.
First, this Oliver Kramm excrescence. He actually said…
The range of legitimate variation is wider than you would imagine. Yes, you may use “hopefully” as an adverb modifying an entire sentence; and you may use “they” as a singular generic pronoun; and you may say “between you and I.” The pedants’ prohibitions on constructions like these are not supported by the evidence of general usage.
Pedantry is poor manners, certainly, but also poor scholarship. If someone tells you that you “can’t” write something, ask them why not. Rarely will they have an answer that makes grammatical sense; it is probably just a superstition that they have carried around with them for years.
What total crap. “Between you and I” is okay because people say it? No. It isn’t. Throw the ball to I. Same usage. Just without the disguise of illiteracy.
No idea how old Oliver is. What he needs to know, must never forget, is that there remains a corps of educated people who communicate in Standard English. Which we have held to a standard because its rules enable us to facilitate communication of ideas in the clearest possible way. The farthest thing possible from superstition.
It was Kierkegaard who said that he first understood human consciousness when he learned the subjunctive mode. Standard English mandates “If I were you” rather than “if I was you.” The ‘were’ is a sign of the subjunctive, contrary to fact, the beginning of realizing that there is more than time present and fact present. There is the realm of the possible and impossible as well.
The comments on this post were abysmal. New media types who stumbled on the very idea that there is a right and wrong way to use this magnificent language we’ve been bequeathed. Whose whole purpose is precision and clarity. Well, yeah, sure, you get to spasm on your keyboard and convey what you think are ideas or facts to an audience that isn’t ever supposed to judge you. But guess what. There’s still an audience that judges you.
The brutal truth. We, the literate in Standard English, are still out here. When we read your essays or comments, we dismiss you immediately when you misspell words, overlook typos, and demonstrate your lack of sentence structure, punctuation, and accurate usage.
This fact will never go away. There will always be some of us who regard you as fools. I know you think you can live with that. But you really can’t. No one will ever take your writing, your thoughts, your intelligence seriously. Mostly, they see the one too many ignorant errors in your written and spoken communications, and you fall into a slot you can never climb out of. Fair? Maybe not. But fatal and forever. You’re just one of the intellectual dross who insists he knows more than he’ll ever be able to prove.