April 05, 2004

Ic eom stæfcræftes god!

Grammar God!
You are a GRAMMAR GOD!

If your mission in life is not already to
preserve the English tongue, it should be.
Congratulations and thank you!

How grammatically sound are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Posted by Mark at April 5, 2004 10:41 PM

Huh. It turns out that I’m a grammar god, too.

Posted by: madhava at April 6, 2004 04:21 PM

There are quite a lot of us gods around, aren’t there?

Posted by: Rethabile Masilo at April 6, 2004 07:37 PM

Hmmm, doesn’t seem fair, really. I thought I was the only one. I don’t think I got every one right, though, so perhaps some of you are more divine than I.

But look, that quiz is pretty sketchy; I’m not overly impressed by it. It did raise an issue that has been troubling me deeply for about five years now, though: “who” vs. “that” as pronoun. Or perhaps pronoun isn’t the right term. The following example will help:
“I’m looking for the guy that stole my petunias.”
“I’m looking for the guy who stole my petunias.”

The first sentence seems now to be the one you’re more likely to hear on the street or even in the halls of academe (at least my particular art-addled branch of academe). But can’t remember people speaking like that when I was in high school. Perhaps I’ve only become sensitized to it recently, but really, it was 11th grade English with Poetschke that set all the grammatical tripwires in my ears.

The problem with it is that our language seems to be failing to differentiate between people and things the way it used to. One might argue that this is a fairly natural response to the emergence in the past decade of more and more technological agency—computers making decisions—but I think we should still struggle to maintain the difference in our language. The day we don’t know if we’re speaking about people or machines is a pretty dark one for any kind of politics, it seems to me.

“Is he the cop that killed him?”
“Oh no, they found the gun who did it.”

Thoughts? I should be working.

Posted by: George at April 9, 2004 03:31 PM

We know something’s fishy, because I was also rated as a “god”, and there’s no way I’m as grammatically solid as the likes of Mark and Madhava.

Like, totally no way.

Posted by: beltzner at April 16, 2004 01:37 PM