Grammar is changing. And it’s not just the Oxford comma (which you can pry from my work over my cold dead body). Scads of commas are disappearing from usage. Lately, I’ve seen Saturday December 31 everywhere. (It makes me want to grab a sharpie and add the comma between Saturday and December.) And then there are dialogue commas: “Aren’t you hungry Bob?” (Beep! Noun of direct address alert.) And what about interrupters like “however, of course, etc.” that aren’t offset with commas? I want to smack the advertisers/writers over the head with The Chicago Manual of Style.
In the last year or so, I started seeing these grammar faux pas more and more, even in books published by the big three houses. And a niggling suspicion started. So I asked a fellow grammar lover who also has been writing for a big six publisher for years about the grammar “mistakes.” She confirmed my suspicions, style sheets* were changing.
I want to rage against texting and ignorance, and I want to extol the importance of semi-colons. And not because I’m some Luddite grammar freak (which may be true, but isn’t the point). Good grammar promotes readability. And clarity. And shades of meaning. And will keep the zombie apocalypse at bay. (Oops, that was a little over the top. Sorry.)
Anyway, I’m thinking of starting The Grammar Board. It’ll be like the language academies that promote linguistic purity, but we’ll guard grammar purity... Except part of the reason I like English is its fluidity of expression, the way it responds to culture and change. Hmm. Maybe I’ll just stick to writing whiney blog posts.
*If you’re not familiar with style sheets, they’re “sheets” (booklets) that many publishers/newspapers/magazines give to their authors to keep the grammar (sometimes even politically charged word choice) consistent throughout their publication.