Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Penelope Trunk @ Brazen Careerist has an interesting post on grammar; I like these sentences:
Most grammar rules don’t matter, though. That is, if you get them wrong, the reader still can find the meaning.
Whether the particulars are true or not, I agree with the main idea: The best way to write is whatever gets your point across. (And yes, I'm aware of the grammatical failings of that statement.)
And grammar and spelling and the rules of the English language aren't as important as many people make them out to be (especially some of her commentors--ouch!) -- for many of the reasons she cites, and, I'd also add, because they're always changing. Case in point: "Today" used to be spelled with a hyphen.
Something I do quibble with, and at least one commenter pointed this out, too, are the two "grammar" errors in the statement
Over 28,000 children drew doodles for our homepage.
Vote for the one that will appear here!
According to Penelope,
The AP Stylebook says "over" is a way to move—a preposition. And “more than” must precede a number. Also, if you are voting for one, specific doodle, then the AP Stylebook tells you to use “which” rather than “that.”
They're not so much grammatical errors as they are inconsistencies with the AP Stylebook. (And if it's true that the AP Stylebook was set up to minimize printing costs, "over" would seem more correct than "more than.")
Despite that, I get her point:
Anyway, if Google is deciding that these rules are no longer useful guidelines, then we can all follow suit. And if you don’t, you risk being more newspaper and less Internet, and we know where that’s going to put your career…