Art Thou A Grammar Whore?

Posted: June 7, 2007 in Uncategorized

I’m reading a book right now. That’s par for the course; anyone who knows me knows that I read copiously, all the time, non-stop. I read in lines, I read in public transport, I read walking down the street. I don’t even leave the house to go to the corner store without a book. You never know when you’ll need it. Seriously, there might be a hold up, and the cops will need you as a witness and they make you wait and wait… what would you do without a book, huh? I rest my case.

Right now I’m reading Olympos, by Dan Simmons*, one of my irregular forays into Sci-Fi. I’m loving it. It’s based on Homer’s Iliad, with some of the Odessey, a touch of Virgil (the Aeneid) and to top it off Shakespeare’s The Tempest (you have Caliban, Prospero, Setebos and Ariel as characters).

Enough with the background, lets get to today’s gripe. Grammar. More precisely, Ariel speaking Elizabethan English.

“When your lover’s condition changeth, thee shall know it now.”

You have before you a very annoyed grammar whore. That sentence is so very wrong grammatically. It’s not as if this was the only screwed up sentence. Every time Ariel says something it’s wrong! If you’re going to use old English, use it right for God sake.

It should read: “When thy lover’s condition changeth, thou shalt know it now.” (though I’ll admit to not being quite certain if it should read changes or changeth – anyone know?)

I can’t believe this book was published without someone actually checking the verb tenses in the Elizabethan parts. Granted, not many people will know the difference, but throwing in a thee or a thou somewhere does not Elizabethan English make. And I expect better of Simmons, he must have read Shakespeare, damn it. It’s not that difficult to write it right!

How can no one have picked up on it? Why?! These people WORK with the English language, dammit!

I’m such a nerd. *sigh*

*because my sister schlepped its 900 pages to Montreal the other day after I had forgotten it at her place, thanks JazzSis

Advertisements
Comments
  1. Hageltoast says:

    you really are a grammer whore, although i think if the whole thing was wrong it would bug me too.

  2. Ian Lidster says:

    So, what does that make me, a grammar pimp? Maybe a grammar ‘slut-boy?’ That’s what my ex-wife called me one time in a fit of pique, though it had nothing to do with grammar. Anyway, I thought I was alone in the world for obsessing about such matters as misuse of Elizabethan English. It’s amazing that such gaffes can (for me, and obviously for you) sour one on a book. I was reading a true-crime epic last night, written by a reputable author, who made reference to a woman who was “to the manner born.” Moron, I thought, it’s “to the MANOR born.” Sort of put a damper on my bedtime reading.Cheers, Ian

  3. ticknart says:

    When I read that book and some of the Elizabethan grammar got to me, I chalked up the errors to it being in the far future and people not really knowing how the language should sound. It’s not like Ariel actually lived in 16th century England, so how could she know the proper tense forms?Maybe it was just me and my desire to quickly rationalize all problems and get back to the Jupiter robots on Mars. They were my favorites.

  4. Big Brother says:

    At the moment, I’m reading Michel Jeck’s medieval murder mysteries and in his preface he always makes the point that he uses contemporary English with medieval names for places, and things to give atmosphere but he wouldn’t use medieval English since nobody would understand. At least he is honest and his use of medieval words is always apropos. Peter Tremayne with the Sister Fidelma series also uses Celtic words and names only when useful as does Ellis Peters with the Cadfael series. If you are going to use ancient dialects you should at least get the grammar and spelling straight… nothing bugs me more.

  5. geewits says:

    That reminds me of something funny. Years ago when the Aerosmith song “What it takes” came out I got very frustrated because I had such a hard time singing along with one part. I finally realized it was because the sentence structure was so poor. It was “How can you sleep, in the night, withought thinking you lost everything that was good in your life to the toss of a dice?” That line always made me crazy!Geckos, you ask? We have 3 different varieties of lizard-like creatures just in our backyard! I think the ones I call “the night shift lizards” are geckos. Being the scientist that I am I call the other two types “the bright green ones” and “the big ugly ones.” What part of Dallas will you be hitting this fall? Maybe we should meet for a drink somewhere.

  6. Voyager says:

    From one word nerd to another, I feel your pain.V.

  7. Jazz says:

    Toastie – I am I am… and though it’s just a few pages here and there it annoys the bejeezus out of me.Ian – Indeed thou art a grammar pimp. I suppose one is better off obsessing about obscure English usage. Makes us look oh so intellectual and above the fray – in my case at least, now we all know you’re a slut-boy! :-pTick – that’s one explanation, but cynic that I am I tend to lean towards sloppy editing as an explanation… And you’re right, Mahnmut and Orphu rock.BB – I can understand using modern English. Even in this case, it wouldn’t be jarring in the least. It becomes annoying when they don’t use it RIGHT. Well, there are at least 4 grammar whores right here. We are a clique.Geewits – Geez, I can’t even READ that sentence! And yeah, we should get together if I make it down. Email me – it’s in my profileVoyager – It’s nice to know I am not alone!

  8. choochoo says:

    I know exactly how you feel

  9. Jazz says:

    Chooch – so do I

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s