Warning: if you hate those jerks that are over obsessive about grammar, I suggest you stop reading now. Go back to slapping your palms together like a seal, drinking heavily and watching cock fights.
It’s a cloudy afternoon. I have several essays and a report to write. I cuddle up in my favourite corner of my university library, where the wireless connection is fastest, and a big sign that reads “silence is golden” keeps everyone quiet. A large 5th story window looks out on to the bustling, vivid streets of Haymarket, in the inner west of Sydney.
Is this heaven?
Well, not quite.
Right in the focal point of the window, directly from where I like to sit, stands a hotel. Aarons Hotel.
“IT’S NOT A HOTEL FOR AARONS!” I scream internally. “WHERE IS THE APOSTROPHE?” I cry. “WHERE?”
Another instance where poor grammar had me virtually weeping at the stupidity of business owners (people who, one would think, being proactive enough to start a business, would have someone point out their bastardisation of the English language) was at a cafe. On the menu, sandwiches were listed as follows.
Served on white; wholemeal; or rye. Fresh mixed lettuce; tomato; bacon.
Naturally, I promptly stood from my chair, resisted the urge to hurl insults at the staff, and left to eat lunch somewhere else. Superfluous semicolons. Disgusting. I was angrier than if the cafe had been serving dolphin and puppies on toast.
These are just two of the multiple grammar horror stories that I seem to be encountering more and more frequently as the Internet slowly eats at our ability to string a coherent sentence together.
Speaking about this the other day, however, made me doubt my persona as a self-confessed grammar nerd. Am I expecting too much from the English speaking population? Should I just accept that some people get their “theres, theirs and they’res” mixed up? (But seriously, it’s not that fucking difficult.) Is it overdramatic of me to wince every time I see someone writing “your welcome” on Facebook?
SO IT’S MY WELCOME, IS IT? THANKS VERY FUCKING MUCH; I NEVER KNEW. LETS GO STAND OVER THEIR AND HAVE A SEMICOLON PARTY TO CELEBRATE. JUST CHUCK THEM WHEREVER YOU LIKE; HERE; THEY’RE; AND EVERYWHERE. HURR. ;;;;;
Ok, so maybe I am a little weird. But I stand by that weirdness.
Because without it, hotels will only take bookings for guests named Aaron.
Prepositions will become words that people end sentences with.
Clichés will be avoided like the plague.
Parentheses (even though they are sometimes needed) will pop up unnecessarily.
And most annoyingly of all, who actually likes rhetorical questions?
For anyone who wants to brush up their grammatical prowess, I suggest this wonderful book, Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation by Lynne Truss. It made me the whinging, eye-rolling and vomit provoking English nerd I am today. For a quicker and more amusing read, however, I direct you to these brilliant set of comics by The Oatmeal, who instructs “How to Use a Semicolon – the most feared punctuation on earth” and “Ten Words You Need to Stop Misspelling.”
Now I ask you to regale me with your horrific, spine-tingling stories of grammar bloodshed. Help me feel less alone in this cruel, superiority complex world. Later, we’ll have a semicolon party. Over there.