Using Non-Standard Grammar

Johnathon and Abraham have initiated discussions on the subject of grammar. At issue is whether non-standard grammar is actually “incorrect.” Perhaps it is simply “different” — an equally valid way of communicating, depending on the context and aim of the communication.

I find the argument for non-standard grammar compelling in some respects and non-compelling in other respects.

  • It’s compelling because grammar isn’t an end in itself. Its purpose is to aid communication — not to display one’s mastery of an ever-changing rule book of stylistic minutiae. Inordinate attention to grammar can hinder the very thing it is designed to aid.
  • It’s non-compelling because…well, the purpose of grammar is to aid communication. And an inordinate lack of attention to grammar can not only obscure communication but also raise doubts about the credibility of the communicator.

By learning the standard rules of grammar you:

  • give yourself the option of choosing to follow the rules or not;
  • give yourself more ways of expressing complex thoughts;
  • give your audience the confidence that your non-standard use of grammar is intentional — not due to ignorance, carelessness, or apathy. 
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