In the past I would roll my eyes and kiss my teeth at those who extolled the virtues of “good” grammar. After all, language is all about communicating one’s thoughts and ideas. What does it matter if the local chippy uses the apostrophe so liberally (“fish’ ‘n’ chip’s only 4 pound’s”)? We know what they mean.
However, for the past week I’ve been swatting up on my grammar. Yep, I’ve sold out. I’m about to embark on an exciting journey (a 4 week course in teaching English as a Foreign Language)! I’m learning all about Adjectives, Prepositions, Lexical and Auxiliary Verbs.
Yesterday, I had what can only be described as a “grammar moment”. I flicked the remote and on came BBC news. “NORTHERN IRELAND DISAPPEARED”. I couldn’t quite believe what I was seeing. How could this be? I know there is a lot of rainfall in Northern Ireland. But really, disappeared?! In October? Perhaps the Antrim Plateau had erupted again?
I thought of the film, The Road. Catastrophe. I checked my cupboards to see if I needed to stock-pile any more tins of baked beans.
My panic subsided after a while. Context is everything, y’see. I read the sub-headline and realised what the ‘eck they were referring to. “The Disappeared”. In N.Ireland. Phew. Why didn’t they say so?
Ecological disaster can be averted. English-speaking citizens of the world, Punctuate!
* note: I used the term ecological, not environment. Happy, Mr Read?