17
Sep
13

The “Inverted Commas” “Post”

online-grammar-nazi_1360826800_epiclolcomI hate the term “Grammar Nazi”. For me, it conjures images of skeletal people shuffling around in rags, eating gruel and being worked to death for incorrectly using a semi-colon.

I prefer “Grammar Enthusiast” as I feel it brings to mind a far more positive image of a kind, nurturing soul who tries to introduce some quality control when it comes to using this clever human invention we call “language”.

I do this because the way people speak and write is deteriorating to the point where it almost feels like they have a personal vendetta against language and have decided to butcher it mercilessly in a misguided cut-off-the-nose-to-spite-the-face attempt at revenge.

 

 

What the hell did language ever do to you besides arrange your entire reality into a (sort of) workable, universally communicable medium designed to make your life easier?

Why, for the love of sweet baby Jesus, would you want to butcher the very thing that makes you you? Words are all we have – our very personal identity is tied inextricably to them and always will be, so surely it’s in all our best interests NOT to use them like free condoms your flatmate stole from the AIDS clinic?

 

 

A case in point is the rampant use of inverted commas that I’ve noticed cropping up recently in everything from work emails to Facebook posts.

For the unenlightened, let me explain this very carefully. Inverted commas are only ever used in the following three ways:

1. To report speech. Ie. “My head is stuck in the elevator door,” said John.
2. To indicate the title of something Ie. “Stairway To Heaven” is a great song to play when you’re high on mushrooms in a meadow.
3. To imply that something is not what it seems, to indicate scepticism. Ie. Tom and Sally’s unwavering “work ethic” was attributed less to the fact that they were being truly diligent in their professional lives and more to the fact that they were staying after work to fuck on the boardroom table.

It’s the third use of the inverted comma that inspired this post because when you write “everything” you say in “inverted commas” you are implying that what you’re “saying” isn’t actually to be taken at “face value”.

 

 

I received an email from someone the other day who used inverted commas no less than 12 times in one fucking email!

This had the immediate effect of making me seriously doubt this person’s sanity because he was effectively implying that I should not believe one fucking word he was saying.

I know you think you’re being clever by using inverted commas like they’re toothpicks at an all-you-can eat biltong buffet, but this needs to please stop before I seriously lose my shit here.

Here’s a case in point from someone I received an email from a few months back who, for the sake of my career, will remain nameless.

I am not sure whether you have "spokespeople" for any of these activities? I do maintain that it will be easier booking interviews, anywhere for that matter, if you have a "celebrity" in the field you’re chatting about it. It makes for a more relatable "connection" to the topic matter.

Firstly, who the hell speaks like this?! “I do maintain”, “a more relatable ‘connection’ to the topic matter” – what is this? An email or a polo match at the country club?!

 

 

Also, note the use of inverted commas in that paragraph to imply that I am hopelessly retarded.

It’s like he’s explaining the totally alien concepts of spokespeople, celebrities and connections to me the way you might explain sex to a six year-old.

“Well, you see, the man gets a very ‘happy feeling’ in his ‘penis’ which leads to him getting ‘an erection’. At the same time the woman gets a very ‘happy feeling’ in her ‘vagina’ which leads to…” you get the idea.

I think the golden rule here should be, if you’re thinking about using inverted commas to be clever, don’t.

Rather start a blog and take pot shots at people you don’t think know how to use grammar properly in an effort to make people think you’re “cool”.

THAT’S clever Winking smile

Grammar Enthusiast out.

-ST


4 Responses to “The “Inverted Commas” “Post””


  1. 1 Milli
    September 17, 2013 at 11:23 am

    Not that I don’t totally agree with everything above, but if you haven’t watched this yet – I recommend it:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J7E-aoXLZGY

    Stephen Fry makes me believe in people again.

    Language was meant to be dynamic, and while it may be irritating to those who were taught how to express themselves in a very specific way, I think it’s important to not get too uptight about variations spewing out from the “masses”.

    Haha. See what I did there?

  2. 3 Tam
    September 18, 2013 at 7:35 am

    I often wish that the grammar police really did exist. I would carry a badge. And a truncheon and those who do not comply will be tazed. Respect my authot-i-tie.


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