The Letter Writer Surprised
Languages change all the time, they morph into something different as new words become part of the lexicon, and old words are no longer used. Anyone reading Shakespeare requires a translation sheet to understand many of the things he is saying. Shakespeare wrote in English, but it's really a foreign language to the English used today. The world's greatest writer needs a translator for readers in the 21st Century. The same thing applies to the King James version of the Bible. It was published in 1611, in a language that became obscure in later centuries.
However, the composition of English has not changed all that much, and I always laugh when I read bad English. Oh, I know I shouldn't. I'm not a writer, so I am probably as guilty as anyone. But there are a few obvious things that can change the context completely. The other day I was reading our little local newspaper, and it reported how a man who had been guilty of a string of bank robberies had "...turned himself into the police." What a neat trick. Once he had turned himself into the police, did he arrest himself?
One grammatical mistake that everyone seems to make, and is like fingernails on a blackboard to my ears, is the misuse of "I" and "me". Hardly anyone ever gets it right. What were they doing during grade six grammar lessons, day-dreaming and gazing out the window?
Correct: "Charley and I took the book from the librarian."
Incorrect: "The Librarian gave the book to Charley and I."
Correct: "The librarian gave the book to Charley and me".
Another of my favorites, that grates on me so much, I can hardly type it -- "Would have went..." Have you noticed how many people use that now? I have heard TV newscasters use that expression.
Correct: "I went."
Incorrect: "I should have went."
Correct: "I should have gone."
My grandfather always used to say that people can fit into any society if their shoes are shined, their buttons are polished, and they speak well. No one polishes their buttons anymore, but everyone with a basic elementary school education should know the rules of grammar. Poor grammar will give you away faster than anything. Even in the age of instant texting, where a complete sentence would be something like, "How R U?" folks should still know how to speak properly.
Ain't that right...!?