Don’t be a grammar poser,
That’s my advice,
Don’t be the prig who is overly-precise.
If it ain’t confusing,
Or clumsy in its choosing,
Then best to keep your counsel, and to keep your comments nice.
We hardly need a mentor
Who’s sticking in his snout –
You really ain’t the centre
That our language spins about.
You know, there’s words I cannot stand:
Like ethics-speak and business-bland,
Or phrases strained until they break…
But here’s the thing: that’s just my take !
There’s words I cannot stand to use,
There’s words that gag and words that bruise,
And words I hoped were dead and gone…
But here’s the thing: I don’t let on !
But I suppose
If language is the topic of the day,
Then gentle comments on our prose
May help in what we wish to say.
But here’s the crux:
They should be just suggestions, never rules;
For language is a lively flux
That shouldn’t be our master, but our tools.
And as for double negatives,
Those twice-as-minus negatives,
We don’t need regs to balance negs,
Ain’t never not no-way misunderstood.
Do we need to cite some Austen
And the double-no’s she tossed in,
Just to make them seem legit ?
I bet you glean their meaning good –
And so you should, if only you’d admit.
Language is adaptive and pragmatic,
Always looking for the new.
Language is a melting-pot schematic,
Always stirring up the stew.
And yes, it’s often needlessly erratic
And ambiguous, it’s true –
But also it’s the one thing democratic
That we each of us can do.
Its beauty, you see,
Is in its redundancy:
Multiple ways of saying the same.
It may not be logical,
Boy, though, it’s prodigal – always aflame !
Language is free to use,
Language is hard to lose,
Language is yours and is mine and is theirs.
Mutating, evolving –
We each are its authors, its subjects, its heirs.
So don’t be a grammar poser,
That’s my advice,
Don’t be the prig who will always tell us twice.
These rules you keep imploring
Are rules we keep ignoring –
And if we’re fine without them, well, they’re hardly worth the price.
These errors you detect
Are as dry as they are long –
You may be quite correct,
But you’re so so wrong.