Language evolves.

It changes with the needs of those using it.

We use language to express what we think and feel and to communicate what we need. We use it to define who we are to those around us.

Language is brilliant!

It is also held by some to be a precious thing that needs protecting and gently nurturing.

There are traditions tied up with it, brought about by the culture that has developed it and to which it is tied.

Looking back over this post, as short as it is so far, there are those that would criticise most of it for its grammatical inaccuracy.

With the explosion of communications devices and forums over the last decade or so, language has had to evolve at a faster pace than in the preceding years.

And with that evolution and development, some of the ‘old rules’ and ‘traditions’ have been abandoned as they did not serve the new needs.

The rules of grammar and writing have been bent and broken willy-nilly to accommodate our needs.

This has annoyed a lot of people and challenged even more.

When we read things posted on social media we have different expectations than when we read it in a ‘proper’ publication such as a paper / book / whatever.

Or do we?

Things written in any form of social media tend to have a quicker release rate, to have to go through fewer checks: we are more forgiving in terms of expectation of perfection.

Has this bled-over in to more traditional publishing? Are the rules of grammar and editing being relaxed in the more old-fashioned forms of publishing?

I recently had a conversation regarding ‘dangling participles’. We discussed how even the Bard himself fell-foul of them occasionally, and how they seemed to be more common in what we would have previously thought of as more strictly edited materials. The discussion concluded, as most of our discussions do, with us all being very understanding of each other’s opinions and agreeing that we all had different expectations.

The consensus was that as long as it didn’t hinder an understanding of the writing, that grammatical errors could, by and large, be forgiven.

That’s what I took away from that discussion and what I feel to be true.

If the writing is obstructed or obfuscated by the grammatical errors, then it is a crime to not have had them fixed. Otherwise I’m not actually that bothered.

Of course I have styles and voices in writing I prefer. I tolerate commas much more than the next person (apparently).

Dangling participles can confuse, and when they do and I have to reread a sentence, I feel a twinge of annoyance. But others just skip right passed them. Expectation. What we are used to.

It’s all about what works for us.

What do you think? Do the rules of grammar need to change and evolve? Or do we all need to study them more closely and apply them more rigorously?