I’m one of those people who is always trying to be better; I think most of us are. I am always looking for ways to improve not only my skills but also my character, and just lately, I’ve been thinking a little about both. Especially when it comes to grammar. Which might be a weird connection for some, but let’s just go with it.
Grammar is one of those things that people either seem to love or hate. Wars are fought on Facebook walls every day over misspelt words or an apostrophe placed all willy-nilly. I’ve heard bad grammar being called the cause of the decay of the human species, and in some ways that’s right; if you judge a person because they don’t use grammar correctly, that is a moral issue. There’s a huge degree of judgment that seems to come with the ability to use the English language properly, and I’ve noticed it creep into my own life in recent times. I’m pretty keen to get rid of it.
It’s probably not a surprise, but I like things to be written well. I did not enjoy the trashy romance I read for my course the other week because it didn’t meet my standards of good writing. (Or good story line either really 😉 ) Maybe that’s being judgemental or just having an opinion. I’m not entirely sure in this sense.
The thing is, that I’m not sure that perfect writing is achievable all the time. Or any of the time. Even the best books have typos or things missed in them, and I know that I am far from the best. On any given day, you will notice that I have edited a FB post because I wrote or spelt something wrong the first time. (And it’s not always autocorrect’s fault.)
While there are things I do well, there are many I do wrong, so I shouldn’t be judging someone for not being able to do what I can.
There’s a grammatical turn of phrase which people use, that has bothered me for as long as I can remember. For the purpose of this discussion, I’m not even going to say it because I don’t want to make anyone who might use that feel bad, (which would negate the whole point of this post). Instead, we will just pretend the phrase is ‘dragons are not cool,’ and I am going to admit to being annoyed when people say that dragons are not cool.
It grates on me. It really does. I can’t even say why, except that it’s not proper use of the word dragon and I feel like it shouldn’t be said.
When people write ‘dragons are not cool’ it irritates me even more. I mean it’s one thing to say it, but to write it really upsets me, more so in certain contexts. Now this is the part I’m not proud of; people have written about dragons being uncool and I have judged them for it. Not to their face, but in my mind. I have mentally shaken my head and thought ‘really?’ I’ve complained loudly, and commonly to Boatman and told my children off for occasionally slipping the dragon phrase into conversation. I’ve not been very nice about it.
Then I met someone who repeatedly discusses the uncoolness of dragons. It wasn’t a random person on the internet who I didn’t know or had only met once. It was an actual person, who is just really nice and kind and good. You know those kind of people? This person is one.
Honestly my only criticism of this person, if I had to think of one (which seems wrong) is that they believe dragons are not cool. And it’s wrong to even think that, because I’m starting to believe that the disapproval of dragons is not allowed to be a criticism. They don’t deserve judgement for that, and I don’t have the freedom to dole it out. Maybe they’ve never experienced the coolness of dragons. Maybe they have and still don’t like them. Maybe the way they grew up, means that dragons will never be cool.
And you know what? It’s ok. It doesn’t change who they are, and it certainly doesn’t make them a worse person. Judging them for it does make me one.
Judging them for it does make me one.
I follow a lot of grammar pages on FB; I enjoy them, and I joked about becoming a grammar nazi myself, but in truth I don’t want to. And I don’t want to be like those that decide the inability to know the difference between correct use of ‘less’ and ‘fewer’ is a sign of the degradation of humanity. It’s not. People have different levels of education and different levels of interest in how an apostrophe is used, and I have no right to judge anyone because of it.
I think dragons are cool.
But if you don’t, that’s fine with me.