Wednesday, August 22, 2012


                There are three errors in the title of this post.
                I didn’t use proper spelling and punctuation in anything except schoolwork until I had a crush on a girl who texted and Facebook chatted exclusively the correct way.  She’s long gone, but the habits I stole from her aren’t. There’s a quiet honesty in knowing that the same personality is expressed on essays at school and in social conversation elsewhere. Every part of me that I show teaching staff is what my contemporaries see off the clock as well. I haven’t created a façade for my English teacher to read, and I haven’t stooped 2 social n0rms.
                One could have several reasons for using proper grammar. My personal favorite is the fact that there is proper grammar to be learned. It’s a mountain to climb. Like a musical instrument, the populace can argue for decades over the ‘true’ proper technique, but, for now, contemporary drummers use matched grip; guitarists strum with their dominant hand, and Americans supposedly know how to use the rules confusingly laid out in the English textbooks that no one actually opens.
                Another plug for the proper use of grammar is how clear it makes a written idea appear. I have received texts and messages from people completely sober and not under the influence of any substance which are so terribly illegible that all conversation flow must be stopped so they can retry several times. I don’t like to wait; ask anyone who knows me how impatient I can get.
                It is certainly possible that I’m an overthinker, but I see proper grammar, especially when it comes to names or important ideas, as a sign of respect and acknowledgement. I like knowing that my friends acknowledge ‘Jason,’ the proper noun expressing an individual, as opposed to ‘jason,’ a commonplace object that has as much character as a nondescript plushie on a conveyer belt in China. It’d be ridiculous to be insulted if i wasn’t capitalized (get it?), but it’s a courtesy to show others you see their individuality.
                Lastly, someone who regularly uses proper grammar can decide to debase their English for effect. When I type, “wat?” it means something distinctly different from, “What?” Someone who allows variation to seep into their writing due to lack of control denies himself or herself the ability to use improper spelling and punctuation purposefully.
                It is always important to share the opposite side of the coin as well. My high school class's valedictorian and many of my contemporaries who are much smarter than I am have atrocious grammar, spelling, and punctuation outside of their IB essays. I don't hold butchering of the English language against anyone using it in a relaxed setting; that's their choice, but I wouldn't do it.
                This is probably a boring topic to pretty much everyone in existence. Few people write as much as the authors here at QBA do, and they already write properly. The rest of the masses really couldn’t care less. I’d be surprised if they read this far. Congratulations if you did.

xkcd: Writing Styles

-Jason Rossiter

Like us; follow us.


  1. Replies
    1. I would like to believe that I didn't come off as pretentious because I based my stance on proper grammar on a foundation of logic and courtesy, two principles which are considered almost universally accepted. I am interested in what points you disagree with and where I appeared pretentious, and, if you vehemently disagree with me, QBA would be happy to publish your opposing opinion.

      -Jason Rossiter