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My Inner Grammando

I found a book at the library last week, thanks to their prominent “New Fiction” section, and I’d like to share some insights with you.

 

Anne Curzan, the author of Says Who: A Kinder, Funner Usage Guide for Everyone Who Cares About Wordsis a linguist and a self-styled “Wordie” – someone who loves words. Now, I’ve always considered myself a member of that class as well. After all, I wrote an entire book about how to use the English language effectively in writing fiction.

 

As much as I agree with many, many, many of the points Curzan makes about word usage, I’ll admit (but only to you) my sheer embarrassment when I found out how often I fit into the definition of what she terms a grammando. That wonderful word was coined in 2012 by Lizzie Skurnick in The New York Times Magazine. (See how careful I’m being to give credit where credit is due?) Skurnick wrote that a grammando was “one who constantly corrects others’ linguistic mistakes.”

 

Now, to defend myself, I don’t do such things in public. If you say “We’ve went there a lot,” or “I seen twelve geese,” I’m not going to tell you what I think you SHOULD have said (we’ve gone or I saw). I won’t even cringe noticeably.  No. My grammando is an inner one.

 

Curzan is making me re-think those inner reservations, though. Thank goodness. I’ve always loved the flexibility of this language, so why shouldn’t I rejoice with her that in another 50 years “I seen” may be perfectly acceptable. And so will “we’ve went.” Moreover, there’s nothing wrong with that word FUNNER that she uses in the subtitle.

 

If our language is so beautifully flexible, why shouldn’t I be as well?

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