Bengal Cat Pictures, E-H

Grammar

G is for Garamond

Garamond named after Claude Garamond was first used in 1530 and later released in 1621 by Jean Jannon.

I discovered this website a little late for St. Patrick’s day, but it fits with the theme of this blog and the rainbows in it are truly beautiful. http://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/climate-weather/blogs/10-glorious-rainbows-to-get-you-in-the-spirit-of-st-patricks-day

GRAMMAR

Most people have a love/hate relationship with grammar. Overall it annoys everyone at one time or another. We all have our pet peeves and we all have our moments of complete rebellion.

Grammar, itself, is pretty innocuous. In its broadest aspect, it is the science of how we use words, but there are prescriptive and descriptive camps. And then there are the linguists. I’ll explore linguistics in a later blog.

The prescriptive camp says how we should speak and write. It holds us to the rules and accepted standards of correctness. There are specific guidelines (laws) on how we use the parts of language in a sentence.

The descriptive camp says that we should look at how language is used and adjust the guidelines to fit the usage.

I’m on the fence. Bengal Security

 

As anyone who reads this blog can see, I like to start sentences with conjunctions. It’s my style. It is also grammatically incorrect. I often leave the subject of a sentence assumed instead of named and I defiantly split infinitives.

But then there are my pet peeves. They’re, their, and there are completely different words. So are your and you’re. Its and it’s also drive me crazy. See the bottom of this post if you wish further edification.

Bengal Security

Grammar is not a uniquely American torture/passion.

As far as I can tell from my research, the first attempts to study grammar began in about the 4th century B.C. in India. Does anyone have different data?

The Greeks, and then the Romans, studied grammar through philosophy. The Greek and Latin grammars focused on defining parts of speech.

There are people who say grammar is simple. These people say there are eight parts-of-speech and that is all we need to know.

These eight parts-of-speech are: noun, pronoun, adjective, adverb, preposition, conjunction and interjection. I say “yeah, right.”

Others say there are only two essential parts of a sentence: the subject and the predicate. Also too simple for me.

Then there are the very large and even larger grammar and punctuation guidebooks. The Chicago Manual of Style, The AP Style Book, MLA Guidebook, are just a few of the styles of writing put out there to mold our public discourse, written and spoken.

There are classics like The Elements of Style by Strunk and White, one of the must-haves for any writer. As a writer I have a little more than a couple of shelves full of grammar books. Some of my favorites are:

The Elephants of Style: A Trunkload of Tips on the Big Issues and Gray Areas of Contemporary American English, and Lapsing into a Comma: a Curmudgeons Guide to the Many Things That Can Go Wrong in Print – and How to Avoid Them. Both of these books are brilliantly written by Bill Walsh.

Sin and Syntax: How to Craft Wickedly Effective Prose, and Vex, Hex, Smash, Smooch: Let Verbs Power Your Writing. Both of these books brilliantly written by Constance Hale.

The Transitive Vampire: a Handbook of Grammar for the Innocent, the Eager, and the Doomed by Karen Elizabeth Gordon

Then there are the books that are a little obsolete, but quite responsible for trying to tie English into the grammars of more erudite languages such as Latin. Those prescriptive Latin rules still plague us to this day.

Pamphlet for Grammar by William Bullokar in 1586.

Proposal for Correcting, Improving, & Ascertaining the English Tongue by Jonathan Swift in 1712

A dictionary of the English Language…: to which is prefixed, a Grammar of the English Language by Samuel Johnson in 1766.

A Grammatical Institute of the English Language by Noah Webster in 1804

A Grammar of the English Language, In a Series of Letters by William Cobbett in 1818

Sentence Diagrams. A fairly concise history of sentence diagraming can be found at the following website. http://www.polysyllabic.com/?q=olddiagrams Sentence diagraming is an exquisite form of torture in which the parts of a sentence are broken down to their parts of speech e.g. noun, adverb, adjective etc.

Which circles me back to the question of split infinitives.In Latin (& in other languages such as French and Spanish) an infinitive cannot be split, it’s impossible. In English it is considered a grammatical crime. A split infinitive is when you place a word between the basic infinite of a verb. The famous example being “To boldly go” in which the “to go” has been separated by the word “boldly”.

http://www.dailywritingtips.com/what-is-a-split-infinitive/ has the best discussion of split infinitives I have found.

And now back to my pet peeves.

20110905-60d-0209-small

They’re = They are

Their = the possessive. It belongs to them

There = where. You are giving a location

Your = the possessive. If you can say “you are” then you want “you’re”

You’re = You are. If you can’t say “you are” then you want “your”

It’s = It is. If you can say it is then you can use “it’s”. If not then use the possessive.

Its = the possessive. You are saying that the item belongs to it.

 

What are your pet peeves?A pari of bengals

 

So now that I have discovered that I CAN talk about grammar all day, I will cease and desist … for now.

One of my favorite grammar blogs: http://www.grammarly.com/blog/2014/grammar-madness/

My penultimate statement is to remember to celebrate Grammar Day 2014 (July 4, 2014). It is perhaps unlikely any of us will get to the British Library to celebrate, but it is a good site to follow. It is presented by UCL and Oxford University in association with the British Library. http://www.bl.uk/whatson/events/event160391.html

Finally one of the best counterpoints for prescriptive grammar. http://stancarey.wordpress.com/2014/04/02/language-police-check-your-privilege-and-priorities/

loki 1 30 14 – lisa

 

 

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