When complaining that the English language has the most confounded grammar ever devised, understand that anyone with any education in English will agree with you, and many of the more wise-ass individuals will tell you to stop repeating yourself.

Here's why grammar is a terrible thing to make law: language evolved first spoken, and written only eons later. It did not all evolve at once or from one source, but connections between languages can be seen easily. Just look up the word 'night' on dictionary.com, a wonderous place, and you'll get no end of words that look and sound almost exactly like night where dictionaries usually put a little etymology. This is because just about every last European language evolved from Proto-Indoeuropean, or PIE--yes, another technical term for a tasty treat, don't it piss ya off? Oriental languages, about which I know nothing, anymore, likely had their own root, being that to the ears of occidental cultures, they sound so much alike.

So we've got a thing with which we can talk and sing and share, and some smart ass wants to write it down. Turns out this is a really good idea, and we do it, only now it's a nasty mess because first we have to agree on what symbols to use for what. At first pictures work okay, but some people are better at drawing than others. So we simplify and reduce the symbols to between twenty and thirty five, or so, and we've got ourselves an alphabet where symbols stand in for phonetic sounds rather than whole words. It's generally agreed upon to ignore the vowels, which is really a shitty plan, because now some words can mean half a dozen things--at least--and you've got some pretty dim bulbs out there who can't use context to extrapolate the correct definition out of hrt. What's the answer? Vowels! But where to put them? Damn...

To make a long story shorter, we agree that they finally settle on where one ought to put vowels in a general sort of way, but there's still a whole big problem of where to locate entire words, phrases, sentences, and how to separate and delineate each bit. So we build something up for that--here's the problem. Language, spoken, grew up organically. When we tried to apply rules to it, we couldn't because rules are mechanical. Life finds a way, and you can't keep a good organism down with any set of rules. Grammar is ridiculous and stupid because it's often applied like a chain to a lion. Doesn't work. So what are we to do? We are to learn the grammar, and to ignore it.

That's right, I said ignore it. You see, once we settled everything, writers decided they didn't really like it like that all the time. Writers are artists, they create art, art imitates life, and grammar is definitely a piss-poor imitation of life, at best. Most novelists don't give a good god damn if they end a sentence with a preposition, and they almost have to misspell things in dialog just to capture the essense of character. They get to do this because of license. Writers get license to muck with grammar. Poets are even worse: poets get license to make grammar their prison bitch, which is a very unpoetic thing to say. If you need an example of how badly tortured and mangled grammar can get, read anything-ANYTHING-by E. E. Cummings. In fact, even if you don't need an example, read Cummings because it's good for you.

In any event, if grammar gives you fits, relax and realise it's not a set of laws, and grades don't really matter anyway. Don't be afraid of commas and parentheses and colons and stuff; they don't bite. Hell, they're not even real unless you make them real: that's the kind of power you have over grammar. Mind you, this is not an excuse to go completely fucking nuts and insert x's as punctuation and ampersands as stylized a's, or to use umlats in place of indentions. If you want to stray from grammar, then have a reason to, and spite is not a reason that will accredit you, that will give you license. The only rules of thumb I can really stand by concerning grammar and language at all are as follows:

1. Language is a precise instrument, so use it precisely: say what you mean and mean what you say. (I believe I stole that from somewhere and changed it a bit; don't get angry, please)

2. Say what needs to be said how it needs to be said.

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