Grammar police

2 Jun

I’ll be the first to admit that my grammar is far from perfect.  FAR.  But, as someone who – in some sense – writes constantly (of course you add in the drawing, but the writing is a big part), I have to really TRY and pay attention to correct grammar.  You’ll notice that though I pay attention to it, it’s obviously far off sometimes.  Especially in this blog.  However, as much as it’s important to some people, the reality is that I could care less about the minute details.  So there’s ONE word where it shouldn’t be.  So what, English major.  (Or as some would call you, Grammar Nazi.)

I’ve gotten yelled at via emails and comments before about an occasional grammatical error.  My bad.  Whoo-woo-whoo-woo….hear the sirens?  That’s the Grammar Police, on the way!

Let me state that I for one HATE awful grammar.  There’s a difference between an occasional slip of a grammatical error and pure awfulness.  Awful grammar is the stuff you see on Facebook, Twitter or in the comment sections of most websites.  Like all the short-hand stuff like ‘U’ instead of ‘you’ and ‘OMG’ instead of ‘Oh my god’ and so on.  Yeah, (or is it ‘yea’) – those are annoying.

However, if it’s something simple – who cares.

When I write things in my blogs, comics, etc., I generally write how I talk.  And my talking is pretty clear, but I just say what’s on my mind.  So, I write and go with the flow of what my brain is telling me to put down on paper.  I don’t give it too much thought and in the long run I think everything turns out better.

Now, in the comic strips, when there’s discussion, that’s where I feel bad grammar can be appropriate if characters are talking.  This would be a pretty boring, crappy world if everyone talked with perfect grammar constantly.  So, in the comic pages, I enjoy seeing bad grammar on occasion.  It’s more realistic.

As many of you know, I illustrate the cartoon series Knocking On Heaven’s Door (written by comedian Tommy Blaze).  Several weeks ago, we had a comic posted.  Here it is below:

2013-05-24-Reverse-Psychology

Click to enlarge

This comic set off a firestorm of hate mail.  Tommy sent me some of it.

“What are you teaching our young kids about grammar!?!”

“NOT grammatically correct and NOT funny!”

“You need an editor!”

“You should be shot and killed and fed to lions!”

(Okay, the last one wasn’t actually a real comment.)

Anyhow, I think you’ll notice the so-called “error”.  The mom says, “ME and dad” instead of “Your dad and I” or something of that nature.

Really.  Who cares.

I don’t know how many conversations I’ve had where I say, “Hey, me and myself are going to the park.”

Though I didn’t write this comic, it still made me think of the overreaction people have about spoken dialog.  Again, what a boring, dull life a person with perfect grammar  ALL THE TIME must have.  And if you get that bent out of shape about someone occasionally using something that’s not your cup o’ tea – well – move on.  We’re not all as dull and boring as you.

And if you have great grammar, I’m not faulting you.  Good for you!  I’m just talking about the people that call out everyone else with bad grammar constantly or that MUST talk with it regularly.  I don’t think there’s any argument that  that would be pretty boring if everyone on earth followed in their footsteps.  It would be like if everyone just drank Diet Coke and nothing else.

Here’s a Break of Day comic strip I wrote and drew with so-called bad grammar.  You decide.

Wormy Birthday copyDo you spot the bad grammar?  Or could you care less?

My whole argument is worms can’t talk anyhow (well, except in my world), so you can’t fault them for having imperfect grammar.  Give them a break.

Anyway, I don’t let grammatical errors in comics get to me much.  As I mentioned, in the comic pages, I think it livens this world up a bit.  It takes things away from the norm.  Isn’t that what a cartoon is supposed to do?  Or am I just being silly?

So, if you have to have perfection in your grammar constantly, you probably shouldn’t read any of my work or blogs.  And in person, I don’t know.  I have a feeling me and you wouldn’t get along too well.

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What are YOUR thoughts on grammar?  Please, discuss below!

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2 Responses to “Grammar police”

  1. Tom June 2, 2013 at 6:54 am #

    I have to disagree here. While I also hate the grammar police, I do think there is a difference between casual, conversational writing on a personal blog and that in a professional quality article, book or comic. That’s one of the bad things about most web content—with no editors to catch the needless grammatical errors it falls on the creators to do that, and many don’t try or don’t care. I think it weakens the above comics to have the grammar mistakes you have in them (that last one should be “We shouldn’t HAVE lit” not “We shouldn’t OF lit”). They are just there, not intrinsic to the gag, and distracting from it.

    Pogo is an example of a strip where the vernacular and incorrect grammar of the characters ARE important to the storyline/comic, so while Kelly would write phonically capturing the southern way of talking he would follow his own grammar rules and stick to them.

    • w101njf June 2, 2013 at 7:13 am #

      One frustration I have with my gag cartoons (Break of Day, mostly) IS the lack of an editor since I’m only syndicated online – not in print by Universal/GoComics (the work is reviewed by me only before it gets posted). So, that being said, my thought on the gag cartoon and grammar is something I figured was conversational and each cartoon would be a bit different – so grammatical correctness wasn’t always necessary since the characters/settings were consistent and constantly changing.

      If I’m using a descriptive text below the comics – yes – I do my best to have correct grammar since it’s not conversational.

      It’s nice to hear your take on it though because honestly, I’ve never heard how gag cartoons should be handled when it comes to the grammar issue. Something to think about…….

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