Saturday, December 10, 2011

Why language matters

I was not an English major.  I am not one who tries to critique other people's grammar or spelling.  But the more I read other people's writing, the more I feel that people need to gain a basic understanding of the English language.

You see, I play Hanging With Friends on my iPhone.  (It's a hangman game where you select words for each other to guess.)  I play some with friends as well as allowing it to match me up with strangers.

Of course,  I do my best to select more difficult words, (because I like to win) but it's not like I make up words.   I only use words that I am already aware of.

I was playing a game with a stranger and I made the word "magi".  I thought it would be a somewhat difficult word to guess but I didn't think it would be a word that was unrecognizable.

The stranger didn't guess the word.  Woot! Point for me!  But then they sent me a message saying, "since wen iz magi a {swear word} wrd??".  I answered, "It's the plural of mage."  But then, fearing that my answer was inadequate, I sent another message, "Which is like a wizard."

Now, here's my concern.  I don't expect everyone to know what a mage is.  Perhaps they never played warcraft and never had to deal with that stupid spell where mages turn your army into sheep.  But, if you can't master such words as 'when', 'is' or 'word' then I'm just going to guess that 'mage' is out of your reach.  The good news is that the swear word was spelled correctly, although it's debatable whether that was a proper usage of that word.

So here is my plea to all the people of Earth.  Pay attention to your grammar, your spelling and your punctuation.  It doesn't have to be perfect, but be aware that effective use of the language brings effective communication.
Please don't eat grandpa.


  1. I say this to my writing group at school every day. I even have a deal with them, if they punctuate the end of every sentence for two weeks I will give them a king size candy bar. Maybe it will work.

  2. I am, a big fan of grammar.

    Also acceptable:

    I am a big, fan of grammar.

  3. I am sure I have offended you, and half of my family, with my grammer often.

  4. Robyn, that amused me.

    Mike, your blatant misuse of commas is offensive. :)

  5. I used that grandpa poster in my class this year. I love it.

  6. I am okay with reasonably correct grammar as long as you don't become a grammar nazi, and I know you know what I'm talking about. I also support not eating grandpa (or any other relative for that matter).

  7. Another one that I really like is, "I'd rather eat then sleep."

    And I've never play WoW, but I know what a mage is, but I didn't know magi was the plural form... I thought A magi was a wizard, so I learned something new today.


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