March 4th is National Grammar Day, which works out nicely for me since I have a writing blog. As I was brainstorming topics to commemorate the occasion, I decided to use that wonderful means of crowdsourcing, Facebook, to ask my friends for suggestions.
Being super-smart and intelligent people, they made some really good suggestions about “grammar peeves,” which got me thinking about how many of those errors I read each day in blog posts.
And I never bat an eyelash at them.
My career as an English teacher, though a lifetime in the making, was ultimately short-lived. It just wasn’t for me and the 5 years now separating me from it feel like a lifetime. Still, I can clearly recall hunching over students’ papers, circling every minute error and preaching the ways of Standard English.
The students, for their part, always said, “But that’s not how we speak. Why should we write like that?”
To be honest, this question gave me some pause. I knew the answer, but had a very difficult time articulating it. So I would reply that they need to be able to express themselves and communicate clearly as educated people.
This is absolutely true. The ability to communicate clearly is one of the most valuable, marketable skills you can have. I think, though, especially with blogging, that we also need to consider the way that language evolves over time because that’s important to understanding grammar and how we write.