Then I saw this video slamming grammar pedants:
The thing is that I agree with almost everything he says, and yet... it's just so negative. It's too easy to be so gratuitously mean to the poor little grammar pedants, whom everybody just loves to hate! It makes me want to argue the other side. (Yes, I'm just that ornery!!!)
So now I'll tell you about some proscriptive grammar rules that I like:
#1. Words getting new meanings: I love words getting new meanings when it enriches the language, but I hate it when they get new meanings that just increase ambiguity. Here's an example:
"Hopefully he'll finish the job by tomorrow."
Now, I know that in some theoretical sense "hopefully" is supposed to mean "in a hopeful manner." But the meaning of the example sentence is totally clear, and the obvious alternative ("I hope he'll finish the job by tomorrow") doesn't mean quite the same thing. Plus, you can still use "hopefully" to mean "in a hopeful manner" -- it's generally clear from context which you mean. So, thumbs-up on the sorta-non-standard use of "hopefully."
This one, on the other hand, is just sad:
"She was literally fifty feet tall!"
Now, I hate to be the pedant, but it's so nice to have one simple word that you can count on to mean "You may think I'm exaggerating or speaking in metaphor, but I'm not." 'Nuff said.
#2. The "Blog" of "Unnecessary" Quotation Marks. I know, I know, it's just those mean old pedants who insist that when you put something in quotation marks, that means that somebody said or says it. Yet it's still hilarious to make fun of the signs where people screw this one up!!! ;^)
#3. "Between him and I." This one, IMHO, is the funniest grammar rule of them all. It's the mark of the grammar pedant's victim. It's like someone has heard too many teachers say "Don't say 'Me and Sally went to the store,' it's Sally and I." Then the grammar-pedant-victim starts to imagine that the rule is "Whenever you think you might want to say 'me and X' you should instead say 'X and I'."
And the funny part is that it's not such a stupid mistake if you think about it. It's actually possible for a human language to have a rule like that where you use one pronoun when grouping with a conjunction and a different pronoun without one. Hell, German has pronoun-usage rules that are way crazier than that one!! (I kid. I kid because I love.)
Anyway, I've actually even heard pseudo-grammar-pedants enforcing the above (imaginary) rule! Yes, indeedy! I heard someone say something like "Don't say 'He spoke with Sally and me' -- it's 'Sally and I'." That one made my inner anthropologist's day, for some reason.
Do you have any faves?