Proper grammar, consistent spelling, it is said, makes for better understanding of the written word. But is that always true? Probably not, particularly if you take a longish view. Language is always changing – a good thing, I think.
After all we really don’t have much use for buggy whips and a great deal of use for computer terms these days. And now there’s texting – all the rules are thrown out in favor of fewer keystrokes, and the kids seem to have no trouble understanding. The 140 characters allowed by twitter also throws all rules but that one out the window it seems.
We all know people who are bothered by this sort of change, and yet in this video author Stephen Fry argues for flexibility.
Henry Churchyard has put together a page of Jane Austen and other famous authors not following the rules. The page also makes a good case for the use of the singular ‘their’ which I love because it facilitates gender neutral language.
And E.B. White talks about the real responsibility of a writer, which isn’t hard and fast adherence to rules.
Leon Stirling, Creative Director of Compelling Concepts posted the Fry video in a LinkedIN group which kicked off a discussion.
So now it’s your turn. How do you feel about changes in language? How important is it, do you think, to stick to the rules. When, if ever, is there a time to break those rules in your writing.
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