Grammar Police, The WORST Kind of Trolls

grammar police

The beauty of grammar is that you get to use it. You can write everything perfectly and impress the shit out of people who care about that thing. You can enter grammar competitions and win a trophy for being the best grammar person ever. You can decorate your home in grammatically correct needlepoint and cross stitch. You can have your own website or blog where everything is grammatically perfect. You can get a job where people will pay you to fix their grammar and may even like that you do it and appreciate you for it. You can work with children who are learning grammar and help them to learn the right way to do it. But note that these will not be all children or all people, just those who actually want to learn how to do it right AND who think they can work with you because your approach is worth paying for.

But you don’t get to police the world or tell other people what they should or should not be writing.

You can, however, choose what you read, who you friend, etc. You are entitled to pick only those writers and sites that keep to the standards you have chosen for yourself. You can do that without then visiting those of us unworthy of your presence and save yourself the angst of our inept efforts and having to grade those efforts.

The greatest thing about our world is that although we prescribe to certain ways of thinking and seeing things, someone can come along who does it differently and we sometimes fall in love with what these rule breakers do. We broaden our horizons and we allow that there are other ways to think, to see, and to do. Sometimes that way is so much better than the old way, we can’t help but be won over. Some of us need to wait until there is a consensus among the people who will tell us this is good, or now considered acceptable. Some of us recognize it in others and appreciate it even if no-one else does and some of us live our lives that way, breaking the rules all over the place and are happy as we can be with who we are and how we see things and choose to act upon that. You will notice that usually these people are also really happy to allow other people to choose their own way of doing things too. . . even when they do it “wrong.”

We simply do not need uninvited grammar police interrupting all of our efforts and discussions with their corrections about how we are saying things. We are more interested in what we say. We focus on finding ways to understand one another when we interact instead of trying to find ways to pretend to be obtuse and not understand. It is called flexibility. I know when someone writes, ” your not listening to me,” what they mean. I care when people struggle to find the words to express themselves “correctly” as if I might discount what they say because of how they say it.  It matters to me if they feel they are not being heard. My immediate reaction is to put more effort into understanding what it is they are saying … to listen to them in a way that makes them feel heard. I don’t need to ignore what they have said and pretend not to be able to understand them or worse, not to care, simply because they forgot an apostrophe.

Think about that … we want to dismiss the heart and being of another person because they forgot an apostrophe and really, with today’s methods of communicating it may not even be that they do not know that it should be “you’re.” It may just mean that they were typing too fast, or their finger slipped, or even that they need to replace a keyboard.  It may mean that English is not their first language and if they have two languages and have mastered mine to any degree, kudos to them.  They have far outshone me.

If you have nothing more to contribute to a conversation than to trash someone else for how they communicate, then I have a suggestion. Get a tape recorder and record your concerns. Play that tape over and over for yourself. If you feel it is worthy of a standing ovation, give yourself one. Make a power point presentation of it, if you want. Have it professionally recorded. Let that advice stay with someone who will truly understand it and appreciate it because I promise you – none of the rest of us want to hear it. We are having a discussion that is about communication, learning, life …. and none of us are remotely interested in being graded by someone who has nothing more valuable to offer than their own petty judgment that is meant only to try and make someone else look small.

Take a look in the mirror and pay close attention to how completely small you look when you do that.

NOTE:  Comments by Grammar Police are NEVER published on this site.

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