Grammar Pays

At some point in your life, you’ve probably been told that knowing grammar rules will pay off in the long run. Well, your English teachers were recently proven correct. A lady in Ohio got out of a ticket thanks to her knowledge of comma rules.

It all started when a woman parked her pickup truck on a street for over 24 hours, which was prevented by law. Her truck was towed, and she was fined. Fortunately, she took a look at the fine print on her parking citation. To her surprise, it prohibited “any motor vehicle camper, trailer, farm implement and/or non-motorized vehicle” from daylong parking.

The comma rule used here is that each item in a list must be separated by a comma, and most of the items in this list are separated. However, a comma is missing between “motor vehicle” and “camper.” According to grammar rules, the absence of a comma makes “motor vehicle camper” a noun phrase. The defendant admitted that she was driving a motor vehicle, but her pickup was far from a “motor vehicle camper.” There was no camper anywhere on it.

The judge sided with the defendant and threw out the ticket. Based on the rules of grammar, a truck could not be ticketed unless it had a camper.

See, learning grammar rules can be valuable, possibly when you least suspect it. It is often said that knowledge is power, so build your brain muscles by learning grammar rules.
Also, if you get a parking ticket, proofread the fine print. Maybe there’s a technicality that can get you out of paying it.

To see the full article, click on the following link: Parking Ticket Story

Why Write?

To me, it seems that the world is divided into two camps: English/art people and math/science people. There are rare people who cross this boundary, but for the most part, it seems that artistic people despise numbers and scientific people hate writing. Many times, English professors have been stabbed in the heart by the words “I hate writing. It’s not important.”

I’ll admit (as much as it hurts me) that not enjoying writing is a perfectly valid opinion. For some people, writing a paper can be a struggle not very different from having a root canal. However, everyone should at least understand the basics of writing, even if they do not understand all of the rules for how to properly use semicolons or commas. To be honest, the secrets of comma usage are a sacred mystery that has been revealed to only a few select individuals.

Before developing an appreciation for writing, a person must first understand its importance. To put it simply, nothing can be shared without writing. Think about it for a minute. TV shows first start with a screenplay. All of the products we buy are labeled with words. Everything we read on the Internet is a form of writing (although some Facebook posts barely qualify). Even if a science person develops a revolutionary new theory, it means nothing unless it is written down.

You can always benefit from writing, especially when you write for fun. Not everything you write has to be formal or something for others to see. Keeping a journal is a great way to brush up on writing without worrying that your words will be judged. Journaling will help you get your emotions out and preserve memories. Imagine that you meet someone special, and you write down when you first saw them across the room and thought he or she was the best-looking person you ever met. If you keep a journal, you can look back ten years later and pinpoint exactly how you felt at that moment. The best part about a journal is that you don’t have to worry about grammar or spelling. As long as you understand it, it’s fine.

A lot of people find writing to be therapeutic. When you have a bad day or are trying to make a big decision, write down how you feel. It may help you work through your problems. If you feel really adventurous, try writing a poem. An original poem can help you score major points with your significant other, and best of all, it’s free.

No, formal academic writing is not always enjoyable, and it may not be for everyone. But everyone can benefit from knowing the basics of writing. You may not be a Hemingway or even a Dr. Seuss, but you will be able to express your ideas in words when you need to.

Texting Language: Bad or gr8?

Recently, grammarians from all over the world have been confronted by a dangerous threat to the English language: texting. English majors and professors have been divided over whether texting is just a fad or if it will lead to the downfall of the English language.

It’s already been established that texting has changed the English language. But the cool thing about language is that it always evolves. Less than 10 years ago, things could be referred to as “the bomb” and no one thought it was weird. Even further back, calling something “groovy” or “keen” was acceptable. But if you’re using these words now, please stop. It’s just strange.

The trick to using texting language is to know when not to use it. You probably shouldn’t write a scholarly paper or an email to your boss with texting terms, and if “lol” appears anywhere in your resume, stop and rethink your life choices.

On the other hand, texting terms are perfectly acceptable for texting. That’s what they were created for. Let’s face it; no one has time to use spelled-out words and perfect grammar when having a conversation with a friend about Grey’s Anatomy. The action happens way too fast to worry about using perfect English. By the time you type “by the way,” another character could have already died. It’s perfectly acceptable, even necessary, to use “btw.”

The more personal something is, the more acceptable it is to use texting language. Personal writing and texting don’t need impeccable grammar (unless you are trying to impress someone). Texting terms are also acceptable on Facebook and Twitter, still rather informal types of writing. For class assignments and work projects, though, use standard English. Spell things out. Use proper grammar. You want to look professional and knowledgeable.

Texting has and will continue to change the English language. In recent decades, writing has become more informal, and texting will likely add to this. Maybe in 100 years, “lol” and “btw” will be considered acceptable, formal terms. But for now, it’s best to consider your audience before using texting language.