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Grammar and Spelling

Being a language teacher, I am obviously interested in grammar. I know that the word grammar chills the blood of many people, as they entertain thoughts of struggling with grammar in school. But honestly, vocabulary alone is not enough to allow us to communicate our thoughts so that others can comprehend them. We cannot just string words together with no order. To quote William B. Bradshaw, "Grammar, regardless of the country or the language, is the foundation for communication — the better the grammar, the clearer the message, the more likelihood of understanding the message's intent and meaning. That is what communication is all about."

This is particularly true in writing, where the clarifying impact of vocal intonation is missing. Let me demonstrate....

Lets Eat Grandma

I'm sure that Grandma would prefer clearer communication that would help her avoid being the victim of cannibalism. There would have been no problem when the suggestion of eating was said aloud, but the written form needs to reflect that pause, hence the comma.

This next one on punctuation is a bit more subtle.

Woman Without Her Man

Some people are insistent on the use of the final comma in a series, sometimes called the serial comma or the Oxford comma. This next pair of sentences was submitted by a colleague on Facebook, showing the confusion that can occur through the omission of the final comma.

1. I would like to thank my parents, Oprah Winfrey, and Bill Clinton.
2. I would like to thank my parents, Oprah Winfrey and Bill Clinton.

I know that lots of allegations have swirled around our former president, but that was a new one to me!

Another problem in written communication is misspelling. There is much that could be said about misspellings, in all their various manifestations, but I'll demonstrate it today with just one.

Awsome Tattoo

For Pete's sake, if you're going to get something as permanent as a tattoo done, by all means choose a tattoo artist who can spell!

I love the following picture!

Cannot Eat Homework

I'm sure that not all of us teachers will dog you till the end of your days. But, just so you know, how relentless some of us "grammar Nazi" teachers can be....

Bad Grammar Prepay

Did you readers spot the ironic grammatical error in the final line of the picture above?

I hope their are'nt to many misteaks, bad grammer and mispelings in this here post!

There Their They're


"Christian liberty is the freedom to discipline myself to be flexible for the sake of the gospel." — JD Crowley


I don't have a solution, but I do admire the problem.

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9 Comments on “Grammar and Spelling”

  1. #1 Elwood
    on Oct 3rd, 2014 at 9:23 am

    I don’t see the grammatical mistake in the gas pump sign, unless it’s the lack of an apostrophe and a period. Please enlighten me. 🙂

  2. #2 Michael
    on Oct 3rd, 2014 at 9:29 am

    Yesterday one of my supervisors emailed the rest of us and attempted to be a little less formal by addressing us as “ya’ll”. It actually took my wife to notice the mistake when I showed her the email at home last night. Maybe this is a greeting from southern Germany.

  3. #3 Rob
    on Oct 3rd, 2014 at 9:58 am

    You caught it — the missing apostrophe in won’t.

  4. #4 Rob
    on Oct 3rd, 2014 at 9:59 am

    I see that one a lot, Michael, but not alot. 🙂

  5. #5 Beatrice Jones
    on Oct 3rd, 2014 at 10:06 am

    Rob –

    You know me; I love grammar! Having taught English and worked in publishing for most of my professional life, I’m right there with you. I still spend about half my time with proofreading assignments for our school’s marketing department and magazine. Words can be amazing tools!

  6. #6 Rob
    on Oct 3rd, 2014 at 10:12 am

    I remember that from our high school days, Bea. Aren’t you thankful for the GREAT preparation we got from Mrs. Link and Mrs. Mac?! I felt so prepared when I got to college after the rigors those dear teachers put us through. I’m glad you are still using those skills for the benefit of others. Words are indeed amazing tools!

  7. #7 Jonathan
    on Oct 3rd, 2014 at 11:22 am

    It was grandpa who confused our grammar.

  8. #8 Rob
    on Oct 3rd, 2014 at 11:45 am

    I hope she wasn’t too confused. 😉

  9. #9 Jason Harper
    on Oct 3rd, 2014 at 9:48 pm

    The guy who proofread Hitler’s speeches was a grammar nazi.

    Not original to me, but had to share!