What this blog is for and about

I also offer personally-tailored, individualized English conversation practice (including etiquette) and coaching in writing techniques. Finally, I edit texts such as magazines, business proposals, memorandums, emails so they are presented in English which does not embarrass you or your organization. For further details, please mail me at: language.etiquette@gmail.com

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12 September 2016

The importance of language etiquette

I saw this picture on Facebook yesterday, and it carried with it this commentary which I thought sensible:

I don't judge people based on race, creed, color or gender. I judge people based on spelling, grammar, punctuation, and sentence structure

I wrote this in reply to the caption in the picture:

Surely, it is "wrong" spelling (not "bad" spelling), since that is a binary choice? A word is either correctly spelled or incorrectly spelled. It is not a question of taste where quality comes in (as in "good", "bad" or "indifferent"). Grammar can be incorrect, but can also simply be a different style, or foreign, and still be expressive. Incorrect spelling is just confusing - unless of course you are that semi-literate Irish gent in Goodbye to All That, whose name I forget, who used to write things like "the bluddy Bishop" - which I thought rather nice.

Curiously, a "grammar socialist" (if that's the opposite of a "grammar nazi") responded by saying rather curtly that I should "Get a life." I took that to mean that one should not criticise those who criticise misuse of English. But what is life if it is without communications? And how does communication work if we do not have accepted conventions for it?