Punctilious Pilate

Margaret Perry luvs correct spelling, grammar and punctuation 4 lyf and dat’s all dere is 2 it, k?


My recent triumphant success in a spelling bee got me thinking about the more important things in life – grammar, spelling and punctuation. Friends, I bid you goodbye. I am about to obliterate my social status for life by openly admitting my problem to the world. The thing is, eh, well… I like good grammar. I love punctuation. I embrace correct spelling. Above all, I relish a good pun.

As my opponent’s inability to spell the word “Daiquiri” led to my victory and consequent victory dance, I wanted to call Lynn Truss, author of the infamous book Eats, Shoots and Leaves and tell her of my triumph. She of all people would have understood my excitement.

Perhaps Lynn and I are alone in fighting the grammatical cause, but I don’t care. I am unafraid to proclaim my high regard for all things grammatically correct and wordplay-related. I await the inevitable “you’re uncool” slushie in the hallways.

Here I’m hoping that an obvious Glee reference, demonstrating that I am, in fact, in some way cool, will save me from the onslaught of the aforementioned slushie. But with great grammar comes great responsibility, even if I must suffer for my noble cause.

However, a quick Google search informs me that I am not alone in my quest. A website called “I Hate Bad Grammar” exists, bearing the tagline “There? Their? They’re? Get it right dammit!” I find myself nodding in agreement.

I’m seriously beginning to be of the opinion that the internet should be abolished. There’s just no other way to control the bad grammar people use. It’s absolutely everywhere! The thought of it keeps me awake at night. And don’t even get me started on “your” and “you’re” or your going to regret it. YouTube and Facebook in particular are nothing but hotbeds of grammatically incorrect comments. They’ll just have to be shut down. It’s the only way forward.

It saddens me to find that none of the candidates running for election have mentioned the real challenge our new government will face – the disregard for grammar rampant throughout our country. A system must be put in place to ensure that no person spells or uses any word incorrectly or places any apostrophes in the wrong place’s.

See, now that was deliberate, but didn’t it just set your teeth on edge and make the hairs on your arms stand on end? According to Lynn Truss, mistakes like these should create a “ghastly private emotional process similar to the stages of bereavement.” I know I just cannot look at such disgusting and distasteful disregard for language without feeling tears well up in my eyes. Correct grammar, punctuation and spelling are undoubtedly much more important than entertaining or enjoyable writing.

One should never write a sentence unless it serves some form of purpose. And as for poetry, I find its flagrant disregard for punctuation of any kind to be disgusting and frankly immoral. Like the internet, poets cannot be allowed in a syntactically correct society.

However, I do realise, at the end of the day, that there are more important things in life than grammar and punctuation. Like puns. I salute David O ‘ Doherty and Lisa Hannigan, who recently celebrated the humble pun in their Irish Times crossword special “Pun Intended”, featuring clues like “Michael J Fox goes back in time to look after his red flowering bushes” with the answer being “Back to the Fushia”.

Silly? Yes. Hilarious? Definitely! The beauty of the pun lies in its silliness. The pun may remain in my new grammatically correct society. Appreciation of wordplay must be nurtured. All other forms of wit, satire or creative writing must, however, be obliterated. They’re dangerously likely to be grammatically incorrect, misspelled and lack propor punctuation


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