Grammar Diversion


Permit a diversion from my usual focus on the intangibles of organizational reputation and the particular influence of social media on the way we think, campaign and work. (Although at a stretch you could say the comments below are related to the quality and impact of messaging.)

Put simply, I think grammar is important. No surprise to those who have listened to me rail against, for example, the use of 'invite', a verb, as a noun, as in 'I will send you an invite' when it should be 'I will send you an invitation'. It's just one example of the illiteracy to which the English language has been subjected as a consequence of the educated allowing any stupid expression into the language because it is purportedly colloquial (read . . . often heard among shop clerks.)

Of course, I make mistakes in grammar more frequently than I want to. But I am delighted to be corrected. My point here, though, is that we should care. As for why, I came across an eloquent defence of the importance of grammar in Muriel Barbery's intelligent novel The Elegance of the Hedgehog.

Here is what her character, the precocious twelve-year-old Paloma Josse, has to say about the beauty of grammar: 

"Personally I think that grammar is a way to attain beauty. When you speak, or read, or write, you can tell if you've said or read or written a fine sentence. You can recognize a well-turned phrase or an elegant style. But when you are applying the rules of grammar skillfully, you ascend to another level of the beauty of language. When you use grammar you peel back the layers, to see how it is all put together, see it quite naked, in a way. And that's where it becomes wonderful, because you say to yourself 'Look how well-made this is, how well-constructed it is! How solid and ingenuous, rich and subtle" 

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