Old Moon

Friday, December 10, 2010

A (Mild) Rant

It's too late now. I was an English teacher, raised by real nit-picking parents and grandparents when it came to correct speech and grammar, and I can't seem to forget enough. I just read an interesting blog about and by an extraordinary young woman, and I wanted to post a public reply--until I realized she's just too young to have been taught properly. "...if I wasn't a writer..." raised my blood pressure. What ever happened to the subjunctive? [My father would have told me to look it up if I asked what that meant. If you don't know, you should look it up.] If is a little word, but it conveys either something that hasn't become fact or is contrary to fact, which requires a change of tense.

Why do 90% of TV anchors, columnists, and authorities on everything you can think of insist on confusing "convince" and "persuade?" Doesn't anyone care about the distinction between "take" and "bring?"

I understand about a language being forever evolving, but it's so galling to have the incredible possibilities for precision in English be simply allowed to die on the vine of usage. With one of the largest vocabularies of any language in existence, it seems such a shame to neglect it as we do.

One of my most aggrieved reactions is to the bastardization of that useful word, "gay." All the connotations of my childhood have been tossed into the trash. If it described what it means, I might forgive those who put it to its current use. But I doubt if the people who are indicated when it's used would consider it does them any justice.

Writers of the world, UNITE! before poetry can't even be written any more because there won't be enough words left with connections to readers' memories and sensibilities to catch what the authors intend to convey.

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