NO LISTEN, SERIOUSLY GUYS
- What you call “correct grammar” is a social construct which is useful to know specifically because people will equate it with your level of education when you are trying to, say, apply for jobs, or get a book published, or the like. It is otherwise mainly a tool to divide people with a certain level of education from people without.
- What you call “incorrect grammar” is colloquial language, it is the native English learned by that speaker during childhood, and it follows complex rules of its own. NO NATIVE SPEAKER OF ENGLISH SPEAKS BAD OR STUPID ENGLISH. THAT’S NOT HOW LANGUAGE WORKS.
- THEREFORE, when you call people on “incorrect grammar,” the effect is often that of drawing attention to speech patterns that are perceived as signifiers of a person’s social background or education level. It is particularly important to keep this in mind when you are addressing a person’s language when they are in a space where they feel more comfortable or safe, and thus might want to use their native grammar rather than the socially imposed standard.
I’m pretty sure that most of you don’t intentionally do that sort of thing, so you should probably be aware that that’s what you’re doing.
i used to do this a lot and i really regret it now.
also a thought that maybe people don’t need to use formally imposed grammar because does it really matter? as long as the people they are intending to communicate with can understand what’s being said, isn’t the point of language being achieved? standardisation of language conventions is helpful for efficiency and comprehension but i rarely see criticism of grammar where the critic can’t understand what’s being said — mostly cases where they absolutely can and prove it by the way they give their criticism.
and then a thought that maybe people don’t want to speak and write a language (especially english) that they were forced into, maybe those of us who lost our native language to be more easily assimilated into cultures not our own would like to hold onto and display the ways our language differs from the standard. or maybe we want to speak and write in non-formally-standard ways because that is the way people we know speak and write.
note that i say “we” here as a largely generalised group. though i do speak as someone who learned english second and lost their first language (spanish) to go to a usa school
also shout out to my descriptivists because even aside from all this descriptivism is just where it’s at, yo