I’ll admit it, I’m one of those people who starts twitching when I see poor grammar published, even on social media. Likewise, autocorrect enjoys trying to make a hypocritical fool of me at every opportunity.
Recently I’ve been particularly cautious as my young niece got a phone for Christmas and has begun to text.
We want her to learn to communicate in long-form writing with a good grammatical foundation before she gets accustomed to using shorthand often accepted in text.
Between autocorrect and accepted shorthand, it seems the grammar rules we learned in school didn’t really stick.
Even those of us who know the difference between “to,” “too,” and “two” or “there,” “their,” and “they’re,” often turn a blind eye, choosing to avoid being labeled as part of the “Grammar Police.”
Personally, “Grammar Police” always seemed harsh for someone who simply wants to uphold the agreed upon structure of the American English language.
Heather Nianouris, a 12-year former English teacher from Phoenix, Arizona, isn’t afraid of a little name calling and has instead embraced the term in a series of hilarious videos that have become a surprise hit.
Armed with a flipchart and a glass from her boxed wine, Nianouris darned a comically poor-fitting costume police cap and has uploaded her helpful tips on proper grammar to Facebook Live.
In preparation for the holidays, she did a piece on the proper use of apostrophes because “people will use apostrophes to pluralize stuff,” Nianouris explained.
“People spend all this time getting the perfect outfits together and getting the best shot… then I look and there is a random apostrophe.”
For the record, apostrophes are used to show possession, not volume. You say “Barry’s watch is missing,” you are saying that the watch that belongs to Barry (singular) is missing. You are not saying that the watch belonging to the entire Berry family is missing.
The casual, relatable, and admittedly tipsy video got such a positive response that Nianouris has since uploaded videos on the difference between “your” and “you’re” as well as “loose” and “lose” in the same fashion. As the videos gain increasing attention, many are wondering if the grammar-loving teacher can turn this into a genuine side-hustle.
In a bid to stay on top, Facebook has joined the original content race and has begun monetizing the videos of popular contributors. Nianouris has been speaking with Facebook and she (as well as the rest of us) hope to see a regular show of this matter circling all of our feeds shortly.
While it can be annoying, frustrating, and even embarrassing to have one’s grammar corrected, to disregard the proper usage of grammar contributes to the deterioration of any language.
This gradual erosion breaks down our ability to meaningfully communicate with each other.
One of my favorite things about Facebook is that it has given me a chance to see some of my most influential high school teachers as regular people. My former English teacher is big on grammar and loves a good drink. Every time I see these delightful videos, I think of her.
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