Mighty Red Pen

March 19, 2010

The Grammarianator

Filed under: Grammar goddess — mighty red pen @ 7:14 pm
Tags: ,

California may have the Governator, but here in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, evidently we have the Grammarianator:

During a recent online chat, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick responded to one critic, who seemed suspicious of the high quality of the grammar, spelling, and punctuation of the chat questions. Patrick seems to have misunderstood the question and responded as though it were a critique of the high quality of his own grammar, spelling, and punctuation. Regardless of this apparent misunderstanding, MRP can’t help but appreciate how quick the governor was to champion proper writing. According to an article:

“These questions seem so canned,” a chatter calling himself “Sam” complained to the governor at the end of the chat. “…. everything is spelt perfectly and he is always address correctly….this is not how bloggers ask questions…. we don’t conform to punctuation or grammer…”

“Sam, I don’t blog a lot,” the governor wrote. “But I was an English major, so I can’t help but try to get the punctuation and grammar right. Deal with it.”

You hear that? Deal with it.


Update 3/21: Commenter Natalia observes, “It’s sad that using proper grammar and punctuation comes off as canned.” What do others think?



  1. Deal with it! I love it! As a fellow English major I got quite giddy when I read this.

    Also, I think a lot of bloggers would disagree that we don’t conform to punctuation or “grammer” as the chatter put it. Maybe it’s more likely that an error will slip by in a blog post since it’s often a one-person show (and we all know the difference a second set of eyes makes) but that doesn’t mean a lot of us don’t make a real effort to scrutinize everything we write.

    It’s sad that using proper grammar and punctuation comes off as canned. It implies that the average listener accepts the opposite as the norm. One of my pet peeves is when I answer the phone and say, “This is she.” People often assume I’m being stuffy. Now I try to say, “This is Natalia.” But still…

    Comment by Natalia M. Sylvester — March 19, 2010 @ 8:13 pm | Reply

  2. This is he, and I don’t think answering the phone with “This is she,” sounds stuffy at all. In fact, it proves the point you’re making about it being sad that the norm thinks correct grammar sounds stuffy or canned and your average listener thinks the opposite is the norm. Just another indication, in my view, that those folks didn’t have anyone like Mrs. De Long or Mary Beth Vaughn for English teachers.

    Comment by stevesaw — March 20, 2010 @ 1:22 pm | Reply

  3. My English teachers were always my favorite teachers, though I’m sure not everyone in my class enjoyed grammar lessons as much as I did. Maybe it’s just like any other subject–math, science, history–in that it sticks with some and not with others. I can see that side of it being argued, but on the other hand, people use writing and speech every single day, and both require an understanding of language.

    Comment by Natalia M. Sylvester — March 22, 2010 @ 12:27 pm | Reply

  4. […] interesting post over at the Mighty Red Pen blog got me thinking about writers’ and editors’ standards of grammar and spelling. In […]

    Pingback by Correcting Grammar: Is it Snobby or Helpful? » The Copywriter's Soapbox — March 22, 2010 @ 1:04 pm | Reply

  5. As a life-long pedant I can only say thank you, grammarianator, for bringing some standards into the blogosphere.

    Comment by Peter E Dant — March 22, 2010 @ 4:45 pm | Reply

  6. I’m an English major, but I understand that we use different languages in different contexts. Online writing isn’t the same as formal essay writing, there’s no reason why they should both conform to the same standards.

    Comment by goofy — March 27, 2010 @ 2:15 pm | Reply

  7. Personally, when someone calls and asks me for me on the phone, I simply say, “The individual you seek is one to whom I am accustomed to refer through the use of the singular, first-person pronoun.” This way, if they are a friend, they burst into laughter but if they are a telemarketer, they have their brain frozen for several moments. In that small space of grace, I make my escape.

    Comment by David — April 3, 2010 @ 2:43 am | Reply

  8. Is the implication that the Grammarianator wrote all of the questions himself?

    Comment by David Walker — April 7, 2010 @ 11:02 am | Reply

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