Grammar Matters


“Introducing Humdog: Pandora’s Vox Redux” offers astute insights into the ever-evolving internet.  The self-titled author, “humdog,” delves into such timely topics as the commercialization of commentary, cyber bullying by adults, and even offers remarks about whether or not the electronic community lives up to its promise to provide a venue for open communication.

There is an old adage, “you can never change a first impression.” Reading the first few paragraphs leaves one to wonder if the author is pretentious or uneducated. Simply, there is almost no capitalization in the document and, little if any, punctuation, such as commas.  Yes, the internet with its freewheeling colloquial style has created a new vocabulary and introduced instantaneous methods to communicate, yet this author fails miserably to connect well when she fails to help the reader interpret her thoughts and phrases using recognized grammar that guides the reader and clarifies thought.

Is this a serious case of pretentious meandering of an overwrought blogger? Even E.E. Cummings, the renowned American poet, playwright and author, who in his poems failed to capitalized and use periods, was criticized for his unconventional punctuation.  According to critic Edmund Wilson “Mr. Cummings’s eccentric punctuation is, also, I believe, a symptom of his immaturity as an artist.”  Humdog is no E. E. Cummings.

Most readers will find it disconcerting to process the information conveyed in the article, as it is apparent that the author has no regard for basic grammar. Personal pronouns are all in lower case.  Some names are capitalized. Beginnings of sentences are not.  The Capital Community College Foundation  states that extremes that offer all or no capitalization are “nonsense.” The academic organization continues, “proper and restrained capitalization simply makes things easier to read (unless something is capitalized in error, and then it slows things down). Without the little tails and leaders we get in a nice mixture of upper- and lower-case text, words lose their familiar touch and feel.

Commas also appear to be a problem for this writer.  The infrequent use of this device can lead to confusion over the writer’s intended message.  Grammar 101  uses this example to make this point. Compare “Let’s eat, Tweety!” with “Let’s eat Tweety!” One is inviting Tweety to have a meal. The other indicates that Tweety is the meal. By failing to follow the most rudimentary rules of grammar, the author opens up herself to misinterpretation.

The first tenet of all writing is not to be misunderstood.  This author, with all the thoughtful examination of the current state of the internet, is a less effective communicator as a result of the pretentious presentation.


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