So, I think we get it: Grammar is under appreciated and largely misunderstood.
And we all have our pet peeves; I have several. To be specific: the word “anyways,” which I refuse to acknowledge as a real word or even a colloquialism; also, how “regard” and “regards” are often confused (this one mostly annoys me, because I was once humiliated by a professor for using regards incorrectly in class. Some things you only have to learn once.)
One grievance that is particularly vexing: the word “literally.”
When people use “literally” as some sort of bizarre punctuation to a hyperbole, I imagine that what they are telling me LITERALLY happened. This impulse is completely reflexive, and I can’t help it.
So, when someone says she “literally died” when she saw Kate Middleton’s dress, here’s what I picture:
Hey! Abusers of the word “literally,” I have a present for you! It’s the word “practically!” Practically is very close in cadence to literally but much more flexible, because it means “almost or virtually”, where literally means “strictly or exactly.” Please use it often, because the habitual overuse of the word “literally” hurts my brain.
But I want to put my personal pain aside and talk about solutions, because grammar needs our help.
Do we really want to live in a world where the rules and order of language are so neglected that they disappear and no one understands what anyone is saying? Do we want the next generation to grow up writing, “The fight for grammar was a loosing battle,” without irony?
Grammar must make a comeback! And I think, a grammar comeback means grammar must reinvent its image.
History has shown us that stuffy English teachers who hate sentences that end in propositions aren’t doing much for Grammar’s cause.
And so, I turn to you, hip-hop community. Setter of trends, inventor of words, like bling and crunk, help grammar out.
50 Cent, maybe you could conjugate a few verbs in your next single? Think about it: I am shooting, I have shot, I will shoot in the future. It’s a little catchy, right?
I’ve even done my part here by taking one of the most hated exercises in grammar–diagramming sentences–and made it fun…with Tupac lyrics.
Think about it, Slim Thug. Saving grammar–like a gangsta. Diagramming sentences–like a boss.
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