Mudcat Café message #3786654 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #159749   Message #3786654
Posted By: Steve Shaw
22-Apr-16 - 11:14 AM
Thread Name: BS: Grammar Police/Pedant alert
Subject: RE: BS: Grammar Police/Pedant alert
I wonder who he meant was accepting it. Beyond a few hundred common words of vocabulary, I'd say that there isn't a centre as such, when you consider the wide variety of shades of expression in English. Think of the trouble you've had with call centres in India or Geordieland (unless you're Indian or Geordie). They're speaking perfectly good English but with accents, inflections and phraseology alien to you. The acceptance is not a bowing down to some central and unchanging structure, but is our general acquiescence in the need to communicate with each other effectively. All those Victorian guys who wanted to get all prescriptive with us about split infinitives, etc., were just making life more difficult for everyone. That isn't in any way to advocate linguistic anarchy; the acquiescence in that common need will see that that doesn't happen, though it will allow for evolution. So we get timesing, we get gay and we get nouns turning into verbs. It's all OK and the changes will go on despite our protests. Don't forget, nowhere in evolution is there any reference to prescription, improvement or striving for perfection! Written is a bit different because the real person is removed from the transaction. How stringent we need to be over rules depends on how formal the writing needs to be. At one extreme we have comic-book speech bubbles. At the other we have legalese, which takes language into the realms of absurdity. Where you place yourself in between when you're typing on Mudcat is a matter for your skill and judgement. We're not too hard on people who slip towards the lower end but it always feels good to do a bit of pomposity-pricking! 😉