Backseat Grammarians

Unless you’re an English teacher in class, a parent, or are universally known for being a snobby asshole that doesn’t give a damn what anybody thinks, please don’t go around correcting people’s speech. Here are three main things someone is doing when they are talking “incorrectly”

  1. Speaking a dialect that permits the use of so-called improper English.
  2. Learning English (in any form) either as a child for their native tongue or as a subsequent language, in which case they are stumbling their way through a the voluminous shitpile of vocabulary and complex verb system (equipped with tense, aspect, modal, etc. which most native speakers can’t explain).
  3. Making mistakes (accidental or drunken).

So next time you hear someone say “I seen” instead of the “I saw” or “I have seen”, please refrain from correcting them.  That usage is a part of a regional dialect.  Yes, it might not be good for a job interview, but that’s none of your business unless you’re a parent or teacher.

Please don’t play Grammar School Marm when I’m around, I will give you a verbal lashing.  If someone happens to put an adjective after a verb to use it as an adverb, let it go, it’s okay.  I can prove it.

And don’t worry.  Your precious language is not going to disappear.  Change, of course.  The combined willpower of Académie française couldn’t kick the word ‘cowboy’ out of their sacred language.  You’re definitely not going to get rid of LOL (as a verb ‘lolling my ass off’) or take ‘mankini’ out of the dictionary as much it pains me to say it (I am of course human before I am a linguist).  I believe that having a sensitivity to the way someone speaks might make you a better human and what’s wrong with that?

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