Judgment and Sentencing


Indian parks boast lovely examples of “Indlish” grammar so bad it’s an art form

Brought up to respect rules, tutored in the last century in the niceties of punctuation, I must, nonetheless, confess to harboring occasional mean thoughts about illiterates who scatter apostrophes like careless confetti. Mine is generally a peaceable mind, yet I have considered carrying a marker in my purse for the purpose of conducting surgical punctuation strikes.

Sometimes I wonder if I’m turning into the Grammar Police. Does it matter? In another decade, will anyone care about the difference between the abbreviated (“it’s”) and the possessive (“its”)? But then again, think about Joan Didion’s words in her long-ago article in The New York Times:

Many people know about camera angles now, but not so many know about sentences. The arrangement of the words matters, and the arrangement you want can be found in the picture in your mind. The picture dictates the arrangement.

She says lots of other things as well in that article, about cats and images that shimmer around the edges. Good, calming stuff that tells me to put those markers away, get off the judge’s bench, let other people’s apostrophes fall where they may, and get to work.