There’s something splendidly heroic in battling the decline of grammar. Specifically, uses of grammar’s vital indicator, th’apostophe.
As former journalist and sub-editor, John Richards’ refined grasp of language propelled his creation of the Apostrophe Protection Society in 2001, then aged 78. He cites his age and ubiquitous indifference to its correct usage as reasons now to close it down.
We empathize: attempting to evangelize to a higher standard is often an exhausting, Sisyphean process. Whatever matters to one’s heart and head is often a purely personal perspective and no matter how truly one upholds its implicit values, it’s likely one’s alone – or in vanishingly select company – in the endeavour.
Being told there’s a better way grates: discovering it for oneself appears an entirely different proposition. Why is that? Might it have something to do with self-esteem?
Glorious though the English language is, most school children only learn of grammar’s role and its rules when studying Latin or German. Things we ought to know and don’t become immensely difficult to acknowledge as … it makes us feel stupid? But who knows everything?
Is it a throw-back to a Dickensian world where only those who might pay were educated: were they assumed to hone their grasp of language’s architecture during conversation around the dining table, in virtue of which grammar was seldom taught?
Meaning is captured by language and subtlety by grammar: biddova generalization that, but you take the point?
To distill finer meaning from literature, using all instruments at our disposal, ever more refined understanding materializes. As others may dash to the bottom, what prevents us joining J Richards Esq in staggering to the top?