Monday, June 20, 2011
Grammatical Pet Peeves
In a recent tweet Kerrie Flanagan said, "Thumbs down to @Target 's new in-store marketing campaign. 'Make this summer more funner.' Funner? Really??" Right on, Kerrie. Also, write on.
"Funner" is a grammatical mistake because "fun" is a noun, not an adjective. Were it an adjective, "funner" would be the comparative. I know, I know. Some modern dictionaries call "fun" both a noun and an adjective. But that's a recent and I believe flawed modernism. Those editors are simply allowing common use or, in this case, misuse, to dictate grammatical correctness. Expressions like, "We had a fun time," or "She's a fun person," have contributed to the error.
This made me think of other pet peeves, like grammatical slime seeping into the mainstream.
The most egregious is probably, "Just between you and I...."
Or how about, "That shirt looks well on you."
Running a close third would be, "He graduated Michigan State in 2003."
"To graduate" can only be a transitive verb when the subject is the graduating agency, as in "Colorado State University graduated 300 medical students," but is an intransitive verb when the subject is the person doing the graduating, as in, "He graduated from CSU twenty years ago." It cannot be a transitive verb when the subject is the graduating individual. Anyone who said, "I graduated CSU in 2004" should not have graduated, at least not from the English department.
Now a question or two. Are these justifiable gripes or just pedantic silliness on my part? Please vote in the survey to the right of this post. I'm curious about what others think regarding the preservation of our beautiful language.
Also I wonder when it is justifiable to make changes in the language since it is, after all, a living language. I would guess that you have to know the rules before you can break them intentionally. What do you think? I'm especially curious about grammatical errors in books for children and young adults.
Finally I wonder who is to be the final judge on these points. Can the grammar police make us so concerned about correctness that we lose all creativity and end up with dull, bland, writing?
Thanks for reading my blog, and don't forget to vote and/or comment below. If you have some of your own grammatical pet peeves, please mention them in the comment section.