Thursday, July 1, 2010

Grammar Rant

What has happened to “pled”? You know, pled, as in, “The suspect pled guilty to the charges.” Nowadays, the suspect “pleaded” guilty. Pleaded! It feels stupid just to write it! Since when did pled become pleaded? Sounds like something a sheep would do.

As far as that goes, when did suspects quit pleading guilty at all? Even when they did it they don’t plead guilty anymore. They’re all claiming innocent regardless of eyewitnesses, prior confessions, fingerprints, and DNA! But I digress.

Pleaded! Really!

And what about helping verbs in the news? Where have they gone? Every night we’re assaulted with at least one half-baked grammatically feeble headline sort of faux sentence. To wit: “Families asking tough questions as the hillside deteriorates.” Or, “Hot weather creating problems for the elderly.”

No! Families ARE asking tough questions, and hot weather IS creating problems! Oh! I see. We’re avoiding the passive voice by speaking and writing in fragments! Wonderful. Why not make it active: Families ASKED tough questions. Hot weather CREATED problems.

But everything is present tense now, too. Have you noticed? “In 1956 he marries his high school sweetheart.” How can he do that? How can a person in 2010 marry in 1956? I say he can’t! Either he married her then, he marries her NOW, or he will marry her in the future. Conjugate, damn it!

And please, commas within the quotation marks! Oh. My. Gosh! Even Alex Trebek puts his commas outside the quotation marks now! Nothing is secure! Nothing is sacred. If Alex is doing it, who’s next? The Queen?

Apostrophes are up for grabs. Any old “s” can claim an apostrophe. “On Sale Today! Shoe’s for Men, Women, and Kid’s!” Usage lesson’s of the past fall by the wayside as student’s mind’s retain like sieve’s.

It’s and its are virtually one and the same. People do not know the difference. Write it however you like! Its raining! Put everything in it’s place! No one notices! No one cares!

You’re and your? Might as well throw in yore! I got a card from a student this year,  “Dear Mrs. Plath, thank’s for everything. Your the best!” God love her.

Next, we will have the blurring of there, their, and they’re. Here it comes! All you stodgy old grammarians get out of the way! There new rules are there way of saying their is no more time for Standard English!

This is unacceptable license with the language. And it’s rampant! Don’t people have dictionaries any more? Or, more to the point, don’t they ever use them?

I use mine. In fact, to prove my point, I’m going to use it right now, and look up “pled.” Ah, here it is, “pled (pled), colloquial or dialectal past tense of plead.”

WHAT?!! “Colloquial or dialectal?”

First, I thought it was dialectical---and besides that, how dare they? What are they implying? That I am quaint?

Well of course, that’s the easy way, isn’t it? Out with old, the correct, and the proper. Fine.

Put me on trial, and what’s the case against me?

• In 1966 she buys a Webster’s New World Dictionary.

• Dictionaries creating new usages for careless speakers and writers.

• She pled not guilty to grammar snobbery.