Arbitraria Deos: The Grammar Gods
In an argument at the Marmot's Hole over Korean grammar -- about which I know nearly nothing -- Gerry Bevers, who has been working on the language for many years and argues over the finer points of grammar, wrote the following in defense of deferring to grammar authorities:
Americans frequently make ungrammatical sentences, but is that something that should just be accepted? Should American English teachers stop marking those as mistakes simply because many Americans make them? Why even bother teaching grammar if people are simply going to excuse grammar mistakes as colloquial speech?By way of humorous retort, I interrupted the debate and posted this:
Good point! Follow the lead of grammarians. But . . .My subtle point is not to throw grammar out the window but rather to direct attention to an absurdity foisted upon English speakers by grammarians so uptight and rigid about excluding a historical contraction for "am not" that they insist on "aren't" as its proper contraction when using a tag question!
I know I ain't supposed to use "ain't" for "am not" -- I'm supposed to use "aren't," aren't I? or am I not? . . . I'm not sure.
I'm right about this, ain't I?
Or would you prefer: I'm wrong about this, aren't I?
Think about it . . .