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Saturday, August 27, 2016

Grammar? We Don't Need No Stinkin' Grammar!



Recently I had the pleasure of reviewing some essays written by high school seniors.  I use the word “pleasure” very loosely.  The more I delved in to the project, the more I became increasingly alarmed.  Did the future leaders of America forget about grammar?  Were they only able to communicate through Emojis?

Personally, I blame this crisis on Fred Durst.  You remember him, right?  Leader of the nu metal band, Limp Bizkit? Not ringing a bell?  That’s okay.  Judging by the latest music charts, no one else recognizes him either.

Back in the 00’s, Mr. Durst did an interview on some TV show where he used the following word, “agreeance.” My world came to a screeching halt.  I shook my head back and forth just to make sure I heard him correctly.  Of course, the hipster blond host of the music program didn’t bat an eyelash.  She just kept on blabbering like a crime had not been committed.

Willing to give Fred the benefit of the doubt, I jumped on my computer and searched for the word agreeance. Most sources stated that agreement was the proper term.  After doing further research I found out that agreeance was used in the 16<sup>th</sup>century.  I really doubt that Mr. Durst had any knowledge of the history of this word. More than likely, he thought it sounded cool.

After that incident, I heard quite a few people using agreeance in place of agreement. Then one day when I was in a meeting at work, one of my colleagues used the word, “conversate.” Once again, my world came to a screeching halt. I thought, “Certainly someone will correct her and say did you mean converse?”  But no, everyone just went on “conversating.” So I went back to my computer and looked up the word conversate.  While no one is disputing the fact that it is a word, converse is the universally accepted term according to the editor at the Oxford English Dictionary.

Now that I have given a discourse on my theory of the decline of grammar in America, let’s fast forward to the present.  Apparently, high school seniors believe that “derive” means “deprive.”  They also seem to think that “tooken” is an acceptable alternative to the word “taken.” I am fairly certain that Liam Neeson starred in Taken.  Or was it Tooken? Forgive me, I digress.

I realize that not everyone is an English major and that everyone should be allowed freedom of expression.  However, I do know that more and more job postings include the descriptions, “Must be an effective communicator,” or “Able to communicate with all levels of management.” Perhaps our school systems should resurrect the lost art of sentence diagramming.  While I shudder at the thought of putting students through this painful exercise, in the end it could save grammar from becoming extinct.

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