“Heedless of grammar, they all cried, ‘That’s him!’ ” Revd. R.H.Barham

July 16, 2010 at 1:59 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , )

Oh, save me from grammar freaks with little knowledge, continually correcting, and supposed foreign language speakers spurting out phrases to convince the listener of a fluency of doubtful cognizance.

  Perhaps I could turn them on the Bard of Avon where we see in the plays: “most poorest”, “more corrupter”, and “more fitter”. For those with a hang up about “who” and “whom” and when to use them, give Shakespeare a serve about King Lear: “Who wouldst thou serve”; “To who, my lord?” In Antony and Cleopatra we see, “Who does he accuse?” G.K. Chesterton allows Father Brown to say, “He may be me”; while pointing out “his contempt for grammar.” That is the good Father.

  The true linguist has no need to show off a proficiency in speaking a foreign language with meaningless phrases here and there just to let you know the measure of his/her skills.

  The grammar freak in continually correcting others, and not always correctly, I suspect, wants to make himself/herself appear better than others. Grammar freaks or snobs know that they are people of little knowledge and in trying to show others up they hope to boost their own self-esteem.

  I must confess I’m sympathetic to Prince Philip in the following incident: 

‘Recently there were a few eyebrows raised when Australian celebrity gardener Jamie Durie corrected Prince Philip at a garden show. The Prince said “I like your tree fern” to which Durie answered “Actually it’s not a tree fern. It’s a member of the cycad family. It’s a Macrozamia moorei.” Apparently Prince Philip walked off saying “I didn’t want a bloody lecture.” ‘


  Let Stephen Fry have the last say:

“If you’re the kind of person who insists on this or that ‘correct’ use… abandon your pedantry as I did mine. Dive into the open flowing waters and leave the stagnant canals be… Above all, let there be pleasure!”

Sources: http://www.dean.sbc.edu/tamburr.html





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