Monday, October 6, 2008

Grammar, Words and Meanings

Lately I am addicted to cable news political programs. Especially to msnbc. This is an historic election, and I want to make an informed choice. I also want to be able to speak intelligently about this presidential race. So every night I tune in and listen, and while I listen so that I might walk away more knowledgeable, I listen also with great pleasure, to professionals who know when to use objective pronouns and when to use subjective pronouns. I revel in knowing, despite signs to the contrary, that there still are people who love facts and words and know how to string them together. I love my daily respite from those who overuse I because they think it sounds smarter and use me inappropriately. I love that the journalists who fill me with important information about the campaigns do not litter the airwaves with adverbs where there should be adjectives. I take great comfort in knowing that people walk amongst us who know when to modify the subject, not the verb, when it is the subject that calls for description. If one more person feels badly I may scream. For God's sake, it is not your act of feeling that is impaired. You feel bad! Repeat after me: I feel happy, I feel sad, I feel good, I feel bad. How hard can that be to remember?!?!??

This grammatical obsession is my cross to bear. I admit it borders on sickness that I cannot simply listen to people without my internal editor rearing her smart-ass head. I long to give her leave, but as long as grammatical errors are made, my editor will take note. Given that some repeat offenders who keep my internal editor well employed are administrators in the school district in which I teach, I fear for the future of America. And I haven't even touched on vocabulary yet.

Since I love words as much as I love grammar, my love of words deserves as much time and space as my rant on grammar. Alas, I haven't enough time tonight to do justice to the topic of words , but promise to get back to them.

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