Definition 1: relating to a virus, a disease that poisons the system.
Definition 2: relating to any media that circulates widely on the web.
Late April 2016: a video blog (vlog) from The Guardian earned the “viral” cachet when the presenting editor inferred that grammar rules are made by the white, highly-educated segment of the population, and thus grammar rules are designed to be prejudiced against those who break them.
You can see the vlog here: Grammar Snobbery Vilified
What? Wait. Standard English rules are prejudiced?
Actually, what the vlog editor inferred is that grammar helps communication, but some people become snobs when applying the rules.
Look, here it is, in 13 Points.
- Communication is both non-verbal and verbal, and verbal means spoken and written.
- The audience needs guides to follow communication.
- Those guides help the audience “read” spoken and written communication.
- The guides became standardized into common rules to assist communication.
- Certain rules that actually confuse communication became imposed on the English language. One confusing rule was made famous by Winston Churchill. About the preposition at the end of sentences, he said, “That is a rule up with which I will not put.”
- The common rules became a mark of the highly-educated ~~ they usually were also the wealthy in the established (predominant) culture. Business primarily wants those who present the best image (non-verbal communication) to their clientele.
- In order to help those not in the upper echelons of society, the teaching of the common rules became a mainstay of the curriculum. [Originally, rhetoric (communicating to persuade) was the mainstay.] Thus, the teaching of the rules was designed to assist the lower strata of society escape dead-end jobs.
- Imposition of the grammar rules by certain grammar snobs gave grammar phobia to the many who were learning the rules.
- We have forgotten that the rules are guides for communication—and that communication creates community through commonality.
- Commonality is necessary for community and is not antagonistic to diversity.
- Diversity in communication keeps the audience interested.
- Too much diversity, however, may obscure communication.
- Any communicator’s believability (credibility, ethos) is based on how well s/he communicates.
Did you notice that the presenter explained her points in Standard English with an upper class accent and fully rounded tones?
Even as she debunked grammar snobbery, she proves she is a proponent of grammar snobbery.
This vlog from The Guardian reinforces the blogs on Writers’ Ink Books: grammar should not disrupt communication. We use grammar to increase communication, not to browbeat others.
As writers, we use grammar to manipulate our readers’ impressions of our works.
We can enchant with lyricism.
We can convert with suasion.
We can entertain.
Or we can turn off our reader.
Look at the vlog. Would you believe this denunciation of grammar snobbery if she broke numerous grammar rules? Or is she more persuasive because she follows the grammar rules?
Ah, we agree with her that grammar snobbery is wrong even as she disproves her own points.