A Blog Response to Military Bride’s Grammar Post

It hasn’t been long since I started writing grammar posts, but I have been studying grammar since 2006, and I have even taught basic, intermediate, and advance grammar both in ESL and university settings. I am not saying that I have mastered grammar; I still make occasional mistakes. But I am quite confident to make a response to this post that I believe is a little misleading.

“Ain’t ain’t a word”

It is true that this word has gotten it’s way to the dictionary due to popular usage. However, I would like to quote Merriam-Webster with regard to this issue. “Although widely disapproved as nonstandard and more common in the habitual speech of the less educated, ain’t in senses 1 [am not : are not : is not] and 2  [have not : has not] is flourishing in American English. It is used in both speech and writing to catch attention and to gain emphasis (the wackiness of movies, once so deliciously amusing, ain’t funny anymore — Richard Schickel) (I am telling you—there ain’t going to be any blackmail — R. M. Nixon). It is used especially in journalistic prose as part of a consistently informal style (the creative process ain’t easy — Mike Royko). This informal ain’t is commonly distinguished from habitual ain’t by its frequent occurrence in fixed constructions and phrases (well—class it ain’t — Cleveland Amory) (for money? say it ain’t so, Jimmy! — Andy Rooney) (you ain’t seen nothing yet) (that ain’t hay) (two out of three ain’t bad) (if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it). In fiction ain’t is used for purposes of characterization; in familiar correspondence it tends to be the mark of a warm personal friendship. It is also used for metrical reasons in popular songs (Ain’t She Sweet) (It Ain’t Necessarily So). Our evidence shows British use to be much the same as American.” [reference here]

Axe vs Ask

I highly doubt that this mistake is common in written English. If this mistake is observed in the spoken English, then, either the speaker has made a simple slip or it is part of their dialect. Also it is wise to stop and consider what the speaker means. It is easy to distinguish which word is more appropriate through contexts.

“It feels bad: you feel badly. Never shall the two mix.”

I am quite uncertain what “never shall the two mix” mean. But for argument’s sake, “I feel bad” and “I feel badly” are both grammatically correct. The difference? In “I feel bad,” feel is a linking verb; thus, bad is an adjective. It is used to express an emotion (I feel bad Steve did not make it to the last round of the competition) (Aurora feels bad for her friend’s failure). In “I feel badly,” feel is an action verb; thus, badly is an adverb. This expresses one’s sense of touch as being not in good shape—that is, you cannot feel things quite well—perhaps, your hands are numb or your skin is callous (I feel badly that I did not notice the paper cut in my finger) (She feels badly these days; her hands are almost always numb). Thus, I can say that “I feel bad when you feel badly.”

Sneak vs Snuck

The simple truth that snuck has made its way to the English dictionary means that it is now a word. Both sneaked and snuck are grammatically correct, neither of the two is “more grammatically correct.” I do not argue that snuck has just made its way in the dictionary just recently, but etymological researches showed no relevant results to make any of the two “grammatically correct.” Even Merriam-Webster uses snuck in their examples. [reference link]

“Alliteration is always absolutely awful”

This was not discussed in the blog post. However, I assume that this maybe a sarcasm since this statement itself is somehow a form of alliteration (since alliteration is the repetition of usually initial consonant sounds in two or more neighboring words or syllables). But saying that alliteration is always absolutely awful is debatable. Note that alliteration is almost primarily a poetic tool. Many known and household poets have used this to build emphasis on an idea in a poem or simply to add auditory beauty to their work. Being a tool, alliteration has its good uses and bad uses; it all depends on the person using the tool, and not the tool itself. Since this has been on the title of the blog post, perhaps it is better for the writer to elucidate why alliteration is always absolutely awful.

I have no remorse or whatsoever to the poster of this blog, but I am just concerned that this blog has gotten many views and likes. Those who have read it might have concluded that these arguments are fundamental truths that are undebatable, when in fact, these are just simple preferences of the writer. When discussing grammar, I believe that a specific style, guideline, or rule from a household name in the field (such as the guidelines set by  the Chicago Press [in their Chicago Manual of Style], American Psychological Association,  Modern Language Association, Associated Press, Merriam-Webster, and the like) makes more sense than someone’s personal preference.

14 thoughts on “A Blog Response to Military Bride’s Grammar Post

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  1. It seems we both stumbled onto that bad grammar post. Originally, I submitted a comment but then realized they would a) delete it because it pointed out the flaws in the grammar and b) I didn’t want to lose it, so I turned it into my own blog post.

    If you’re interested in what my take was, feel free to check out my post http://awritingvice.wordpress.com/2013/02/08/a-response-to-a-grammar-post/

    The post on that blog called “Poor Professor Higgins” was directed at me because of the comment-turned-blog-post. People take constructive criticism too harshly these days, I guess.

    1. I just finished reading your post, and yes, I agree with you. It also seems that we have the same sentiments with the arguments presented on their post. I will read the post directed to you, and perhaps make a response to it if appropriate. 🙂

    2. Hahaha! I just read the post directed to you. There are people who actually do not want to admit their mistakes; my best friend is one of them. So instead of thanking you for correcting them, they react in a not so friendly manner. However, it is their prerogative on how to react on criticisms. And also, the nature of criticisms depend on a person’s perspective. While we think we offer a constructive one, those who receive it may see it as harsh. We have no control over how they’d react, but at least, we have done our part to correct the mistakes we have seen.

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