by David Tandet
Good grammar rocks.
Though not a grammarian, I would like to think I know when to at least look up the proper way to write something. It’s not an exercise that has no use beyond itself, either.
Is there any subject of which it can be said with greater truth: know the rules before you break them? I think not.
Often, I’ll purposely use incorrect grammar in a public relations or marketing situation for which the “dumbed down” version is preferable. How many people use “as” – as in, “as it should be” these days? Fewer and fewer, it seems. So why create a sentence that sounds awkward to the average ear? There’s no good reason, it would seem.
An organization might for one purpose want – and should be able to have fashioned for it – a headline that plays quickly and effectively to the greatest number of people.
A few years ago, Apple created a very effective campaign centered around the words, “Think Different.” That is a grammatically incorrect phrase. It’s also brilliant. A writer tied for no real reason to perfect grammar would have insisted on “Think Differently.”
Now at the same time, I’d bet, Apple was busy marketing its academically geared computer programs to various school districts around the country. Would the improper use of language be a “deal killer”? Perhaps not. But wouldn’t it be reassuring for Apple to know that its writers could match, for example, California Board of Education language arts standards if need be?