The Plural Rebellion Part 2

Last time in “The Politics of Words: The Plural Rebellion Part 1” we constructed a land filled with letters and numbers called Alphabet Land. We met a letter named S, who felt scorned and thought he was better than the other letters. He had the power to make things plural, as he could turn an apple into many apples, and, with the help of Apostrophe, he could help nouns claim ownership of things.

Well, the letter S became a bit drunk with his new found powers and his head swelled with a sense of superiority. He treated the other letters with arrogance and thought they should see him as the most important letter.

Yet, they greeted S’s snotty behavior with jokes and snickers. S feels scored from his peers and he devised a plan to take over Alphabet Land.

The Plural Rebellion Part 2

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The Plural Rebellion Part 1

In the opening post of The Politics of Words, We learned that Thomas Jefferson’s use of “more perfect” in the Declaration of Independence may or may not be a grammatical error. We learned that the rules and regulations of grammar are constantly in flux and tangible. And most of all we learned that to truly know anything about grammar we need to study the subject.

And so we begin our studies of English grammar in an imaginary location…

Welcome to Alphabet Land.

Alphabet land is a mental location very similar to our own. Yet instead of people there are letters and numbers that compose the citizen base. Each page, document, or sheet of paper is it’s own part of Alphabet land.
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The Politics Of Words

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” ~Constitution of the United States of America.

The first sentence of The U.S. constitution contains what appears to be a grammatical error. When the published copy of the Constitution was hung up for the world to see. The union of politics and words became further interlinked, as they have always been.

Thomas Jefferson’s use of “more perfect” has sparked the literary mind. One school of thought offers perfect is total unison, nothing could ever be more perfect. To be more perfect would mean what ever was perfect was never perfect until the point it was perfect.

Another school of thought offers “more perfect” is correct grammar as perfect is an exaggerated word. Nothing is ever perfect and to have the sense of entitlement to use perfect invites the use of “more perfect”.

No matter which school of thought you fall into, we learn about the nature of grammar from our constitution. The laws and rules of grammar are debated, changed, and tangible.

A writer must understand why he uses one word or another, as a politician must understand why he votes for one bill or another. When a writer goes to print, his job is to defend his word. When a Politician goes to vote, his job is to defend his vote.

If a writer’s grammar is weak, he will look like a fool to the literary world. If a Politician is uninformed, he will look like a fool to the televised public. We can see many places were the life of a politician and a writer have intertwined skills sets.

Grammar has politics of its own. One filled with strange rules and amendments.

In the beginning, there was “I Am.” The prefect sentence with a noun and an action. “I”, the noun, states a person place or thing and “am” ,an action, denotes a state of existing. “I am” means I exist, only with less letters.

The job for a writer is to explain themselves in a way that pays tribute to the first sentence. Writers pay tribute in many different ways. Hemingway was known for his understated use of words, while Twain offered verbose alternatives to “I Am.”

Both authors are debated and they both could defend their use of words. They knew the politics of words.

In the coming installments, we shall explore the politics of words. No system is free from politics. The infusion of free will leads to interaction and inevitably to politics.

Politics are the process by which people choose to make decisions. Similarly, grammar is the process by which people choose to communicate.

Grammar and Politics are subjective and we all fear the day when acronyms like “TTYL” and “LOL” find their way into our spell check as the day when a politician’s abuse of our freedoms finds its way into our law.

How would such a change occur? Through the debate of people who understand the subtle nuances and it’s time for us to join the debate.