Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Principles, Perfection, or Probation: Why grammatical purists should leave their red pens at home

Being a strict grammarian doesn’t always pay.  Are your corrections sometimes met with annoyance or even outright anger?  Have you been ostracized for your well-intended corrections?  If so, you may be overdoing it, and now might be the perfect time to step back and reconsider your need to remind others of their bad grammatical habits. 
You might be right, but as Dr. Phil says, “How’s that workin’ for ya?”
 Need some proof being right isn’t always the best thing?  Consider the story about the two young men who undertook corrections that led to their arrest by officials who didn’t appreciate their dedication to grammatical perfection:

In August of 2008, two men were sentenced to probation, banned from national parks for a year, and fined over $3000 to repair a more than 60-year-old, hand-painted sign at Grand Canyon National Park. According to an AP article of August 8, 2008, the two twenty-somethings removed an unnecessary apostrophe and added a comma to the sign during a trip across the United States dedicated to wiping out errors on government and private signs.

The sign, located inside a rustic 1930s watchtower, was printed by Mary Elizabeth Jane Colter, the architect who designed the watchtower and other Grand Canyon-area landmarks.

Authorities learned of their identity from an Internet site one of them operated. The name of their site: Typo Eradication Advancement League, or TEAL. The problem is, what they considered correction, officials labeled vandalism ... and bragging about it landed them in big trouble.

Read the full article:

Still dedicated to being a member of the force? Considering relaxing your standards? Share a comment with us.


Jennifer Rova said...

I do not do well with grammatical changes and errors...unless I make them unknowingly. For instance, a new trend appearing with increasing frequency is use of words like "gonna," "wanna," and hadda" plus the really annoying use of multiple exclamation points at the end of a sentence. A writer friend said, "Get over it." I am trying but it still rankles. Thanks for a two great spots in a row about grammar.

Jennifer Lamont Leo said...
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