It’s Catchy — You Must Admit That Much
This one catches all the things most of us cringe over: using it’s instead of its, for example. No one wants to be that guy, always mentally correcting grammar, but at the same time, man, could people please just learn the difference between less and fewer. Actually, Weird Al missed this one, but what about farther and further?
Luckily, because there is considerable debate about this one, Weird Al is on the fence about the Oxford comma. But other mistakes he’s pretty hard core about: who and whom, for example. Seems a little old school to care that much about the distinction between who and whom, but then, it did make a good line.
Are You a Cunning Linguist?
And, if so, do you agree with all the bits mentioned in Word Crimes? We’re curious: Should you never use a number as a letter, unless you’re 7? And is it always important to remember that B, C, U, Y and R are always just letters and never words?
We’re frankly on the fence about the changing language of texting. We feel there is a difference between language as it changes, and a misunderstanding of language. Texting is simply language changing, but conforming to (new) rules. Not understanding the difference between further or farther, however, is a mistake. Sure, if enough people make that same mistake, the language will change and it will no longer be incorrect. As we (sadly) understand might be the case with the distinction between to lie and to lay.
We’re mourning that one. But some of the things in Word Crimes, we feel, went too far. Maybe it was just for a good rhyme. But is that a good enough reason?
Grammar Girl Chimes in
Mignon Fogarty, or Grammar Girl, reacted to the song Word Crimes with her blog, and, as usual, she nails it. She rightly calls out Al for being so darn mean. Calling people who make grammar mistakes “morons” and worse doesn’t really go a long way toward getting more people to love language. What it ends up doing, sadly, is to appeal to the basest of our emotions and make the listener choose between feeling superior somehow or utterly stupid and useless. And to me, that seems sad. We, as language lovers and linguists, want people to love language. True language people understand the fun and playfulness we enjoy in using language.
What do you think? Share this song with a friend & let us know what you think. Is it a catchy tune? Better than the original? Will you share it with your students/clients/kids?