This post closes the loop from the previous post, located here. [Yes, I wrote Grammer in the title, and, no, it wasn't on purpose. Didn't catch it till after it went out to the world. Excellent blog on this here by lit agent Rachelle Gardner.]
God gave me a love of words and sentences and grammar when I was young. I read every book I could get my hands on. I spent many days riding my five speed bike with banana seat and sissy bars to the Oriole Park library — a small branch library in Chicago — where I scoured the shelves for mysteries and sci-fi. I think I kept that place in business with overdue fines. Something about reading mesmerized me.
Christians are People of a Book. People of One Book, actually. God has conveyed his truth as a deposit of words, entrusted to us. As a pastor-teacher, my marching orders are clear:
Then the twelve summoned the multitude of the disciples and said, “It is not desirable that we should leave the word of God and serve tables. (Acts 6:2, NKJV).
“but we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” (Acts 6:4, NKJV).
That Word requires eager study and prepared communication. The grammar and syntax of Scripture, the vocabulary of divine revelation, the logical and theological structures that emerge from Scripture, these are the golden keys to unlock the heart of God.
Yes, the National Grammar Day challenge was for fun… but the more I think about it, the more I discover a serious underlying issue: there can be no precision of thought without precision of language. And without precision of thought, we have no bedrock truth to stand on.
Because TRUTH MATTERS, language matters. Every pastor should “search the Scriptures” and spread a gospel feast week after week before the people of God.
Here’s my take on the grammar, admitting there will always be room to disagree.
- This is the starship Enterprise. It’s five-year mission: …to boldly go where no one has gone before.
- Either put a comma after starship or capitalize it.
- Its five-year mission.
- To boldly go… this is a “split infinitive,” a no-no for finicky grammarians. To go boldly would be correct, but wouldn’t sound right.
- We are grateful for the unnamed donor who sent a pizza to Margi and I. There it was, in a box, laying on our front porch, beckoning with gooey goodness. Thank you forever.
- To Margi and ME, thank you. When the pronoun is the object of a preposition, use ME, not I.
- Lying, not laying.
- Thank you forever… I don’t know what to say about that one.
- How wonderful to know that Jesus loves me.
- What kind of sentence is this, boys and girls? It is an EXCLAMATION. It lacks a correct subject. It lacks a correct predicate. To indicate you are aware of this, use a special mark called an exclamation point. You’ve heard to avoid them? Yes. How wonderful to know when to use one!
- My daughter is in her room sleeping. Wake up, sleepyhead!
- Quit dangling that participle. Is the room sleeping?
- Sleepyhead should be capitalized as it is used to name her, and is used in direct address.
- God loves you irregardless of your past failures. He extends his hand of mercy to whoever wills.
- Never use the non-word irregardless again. You’ll sound smarter using irrespective.
- Whomever. But I said we’re being finicky.
- The gospel teaches that God’s Son died for you and I. He rose again, and reigns from the throne of glory. One day, he shall come again.
- For you and me.
- He will come again, not shall. Shall is reserved for the first person: I shall, We shall. Use will in the second and third persons (thank you to my Latin teacher for this distinction). It has something to do with the declaration of one’s will.
- Somebody should tell grammar snobs to unclench there butt cheeks.
- Their, not there. This won was a gimme.
- Whatever flesh remain on the carcass of the English language after Hip-Hop has pummeled it to death, will be pecked clean by Twitter.
- Remains, not remain. Subject-verb agreement.
- My fistadious editor helped me remove excess and unnecessary words.
- Fastidious. Good catch if you caught it.
- Excess and unnecessary… just pick one, please.
- Knowing my wife and I love deep dish pizza, you squandered it on he and she. You have no idea how that effected my wife and I.
- Knowing my wife and I love deep dish pizza… this part has no problems.
- You squandered it on him and her… use the objective case of the pronouns.
- Affected, not effected.
- My wife and me… again, use the objective case.
- Look me square in the eye and tell me you don’t care about this stuff.
- Squarely. Sadly, adverbs are a vanishing breed in our language.
- I don’t trust ground beef which isn’t organic. To much horse DNA has been found in it.
- That instead of which. Look at the unit: “ground beef which isn’t organic…” It sounds like a global statement because which defines whereas that throws a partitive quality into the mix.
- Too instead of to.
- I have a million less brain cells then when I started this grammar quiz. There’s ten minutes I’ll never get back.
- The finicky would want fewer instead of less.
- Than instead of then.
- There are, not there’s.
- Italian food is different than Greek food and I’m glad about that.
- Use different from instead of different than almost all the time. The exception is when than functions a bit as a conjunction: Studying the Bible is different than just reading it.
- Its always nice to finally finish an aggravating post like this.
- It’s not its. The mysterious apostrophe strikes again!
- There’s that pesky split infinitive again. ..finally, to finish.
- BONUS: Lastly, this has been such an impactful post, I will click, joyful, the share buttons below, spreading grammar-love though the world.
- No such word as lastly. Last is an adverb as is.
- No such word as impactful. Stop it!
- Joyfully, not joyful. I told you adverbs were vanishing.
How did you do? I hope you had a blessed National Grammar Day!
Help spread the love:
- Because truth matters, language matters. Click to tweet.
- There is no precision of truth without precision of language. Click to tweet.
- Without precision of thought, we have no bedrock truth to stand on. Click to tweet.
PS: The earliest commenters who tried 6 or more edits on the original post gets a free book. So… Susan, Karri, Sierra, and LuckyLady, please pick either Inner Mess or Four Letter Words, and send me a direct message (private) on Facebook (click here) with your selection and mailing address, deadline March 15, so I can get a book headed your way. You can also pick Four Letter Words for Kindle.