Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Controversial Rules in Grammar

I have a list of about 20 topics I would love to write about, but the holiday season and working long hours means I haven't had a lot of time to write. Once again, trying to master the art of writing shorter posts so I feel like I'll have time to finish one in a reasonable amount of time and get to the next project. It is just so hard, I like writing original content or longer musings on other people's posts that take longer to write!

Nevertheless, here I shall attempt it. This post from Online College, The 20 Most Controversial Rules in the Grammar World, was sent to me last week and it does have a few compelling points. Enough to list them here and make a quick comment! Here are five controversial grammar points from the article in no particular order.
  1. The Oxford comma. I personally like it, but AP style doesn't. I switch back and forth between using it and not. I guess I'm going to have to make a decision sometime to save my editors' consternation.
  2. Double negatives. Quite recently, two people have tried to get my goat about the grammatical correctness of double negatives. They can be used correctly to great effect and have unambiguous meaning to boot. There, I said it!
  3. Ending sentences with prepositions. Believe it or not, despite advanced English classes in high school and the completion of college-level writing courses pursuant to a BA in English, this was a grammar rule that I didn't learn how to properly execute until sometime in the past two years. Now I want to fix all sentences that have been ended in a preposition.
  4. Good vs. well. This one gets me all the time! I almost never respond the correct way. I can't seem to get this one through my head, but like how the rule about ending sentences with a preposition is now something of which I am aware, it may come to me eventually. I hope so, it sometimes makes me self-conscious when someone I meet seems to grasp this rule better than I.
  5. Passive voice. This one burns me up. This is actually on the list of 20 topics about which I would like write. Again, years of training and applied experience in mastery of English grammar, yet I didn't even known the concept of "passive voice" existed until sometime within the past two years. This one I haven't grasped, though: I can't wrap my head around not using the words "is", "was" and "were" in the construction of certain sentences. Just as with the previous item on the list, I hope to learn it eventually. Maybe writing the passive voice post I've planned  will help!
There are some other interesting grammar rules briefly discussed in this article, but most of them I think are silly arguments about tradition vs. common usage. Take a look at the rest of the list and see what you think.

Do any of these grammar rules grate your nerves or perplex you? How about any of those not listed in this post?

1 comment:

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