It might be time, right? You don’t want to admit it. I don’t want to admit it. But it might be time to give up on grammar.
Now, to be clear, I’m not saying we completely give up and just go text messaging on the bit. But I am saying I think the end is near for the grammar police out there. You’re hanging on, but you know the end is in sight.
Why do I say this?
First, I have two high school kids. They’re not Rhodes Scholars, but they’re fairly smart kids. And they grew up with two educated parents who care a helluva a lot about good writing and grammar. And they misspell things ALL. THE. TIME.
Second, I teach a class in social media at the University of St. Thomas. The number of times a student has uncapped a proper noun like, say, Twitter, for example, is completely off the charts. I almost expect it at this point. Grammar is almost an afterthought with these kids.
Finally, just take a quick peek at social media. Twitter, Instagram. TikTok. All are LITTERED with shorthand. Misspellings. Grammar errors. It’s everywhere. And in many cases, it’s PREFERRED.
Society has given up. At least a decent chunk of it. And definitely anyone under the age of 30. So, what are we hanging on to? And why are we hanging on so tightly?
This is where the conversation gets interesting.
If we’re in the business of communicating to key audiences, which I think we can all agree we are. Then, if we’re communicating with an audience that largely could care less about grammar and spelling in 2022, why should WE care?
Now, the teacher and adult in me would say “because it’s the right thing to do” and because “we have a responsibility to ourselves as professional communicators and writers.”
However, if my job is to communicate and I’m targeting young people. Well, the best way to communicate with them is actually to do the opposite of what I was trained to do. The best thing to do is to completely ignore all rules of proper grammar. Half the time, you probably shouldn’t even use words–emojis could be more effective!
I don’t think I’m making any claims that you all haven’t been thinking about for the last few years. We’ve all seen this coming. But, we’re getting close.
It might be time to give up the ghost on grammar. Once and for all.
RIP, my friend.