Tag Archives: language

Grammar Rules – But They’re Not Absolute

By Jay Menard

Why is it that we encourage everyone to experiment and seek out new boundaries — unless of course they’re putting pen to paper.

And why is that many of us for whom the written word is a passion are the worst offenders at stifling creativity and, well, being a pain in the ass.

Few people will look at a painting and say, “Yeah, I like it, but that colour in the corner is just wrong.” But there are those who will dismiss an entire argument because there’s a sentence that ends in a preposition. There are others who love nothing more than pointing out other people’s grammatical flaws.

That’s not cool or funny. It’s just obnoxious and counter-productive. Continue reading

Engagement Doesn’t Equal a Guaranteed Win

By Jason Menard

Perhaps the term engagement gets a bad reputation because we’ve been so bad at defining what it means. I have some suggestions, but the one thing I do know is that engagement does not mean the equivalent of a guaranteed win.

It’s a topic that I think we’ve discussed almost ad nauseam, with little sense of resolution. But that may be a result of not truly understanding what engagement is, socially and politically.

That’s the problem with using empty, Biz-Speak-type words. They’re too open to interpretation and allow arguments to persist in an environment devoid of parameters. I have been quite vocal in my dislike of the term engagement, but the truth is that I really just dislike the way it’s been defined – or undefined as the case generally is. Continue reading

The “C” Word (Relax, it’s Only Christmas!)

There’s a lyric in Sloan’s Underwhelmed which states, “The point is not the grammar, it’s
the feeling.” And for many companies, that sentiment makes it tough to get sentimental during this time of year.

Do they use the “C” word? If they show Santa, will it offend the Christians? Do I acknowledge Kwanzaa? What about Hanukkah? Diwali? Continue reading

Habs’ Language Issue Puts a Bad Taste in Fans’ Mouths

By Jason Menard

Randy Cunneyworth may be a great coach one day. If he does become one, it won’t be with the Habs, as the organization seems to have admitted that language is more important than winning. If that remains the case, the league’s most-decorated franchise may have to wait another 20 years before etching its name on the Stanley Cup – and the sullying of la Sainte-Flanelle, a once-proud uniform, will be complete.

Cunneyworth was named the Montreal Canadiens’ head coach following the Dec. 17th firing of Jacques Martin. And ever since that date, the merde has hit the fan. Continue reading

Can Any Number of Mongs Make a Right?

By Jason Menard

How many mongs does it take to make it right? For some, it may never be the case, and it brings up the question of where does intent fit when using words that some find offensive?

It didn’t take long for Ricky Gervais to court controversy upon his return to Twitter following his self-imposed exile. He’s peppered his Twitter feed (and other forms of communications) with the term mong (sometimes accompanied by a picture of him contorting his face into various examples of the term slack-jawed oaf. Continue reading

Apostrophe Argument Makes a Point About Importance of Punctuation

By Jason Menard

Oh, the poor apostrophe. Such a simple sign; so misunderstood. So why is this seemingly insignificant punctuation speck so capable of causing such consternation?

Recently, The New York Times posted an article which used the title “H.M.O.’s Would Treat Medicaid Patients.” See anything wrong with that? Some do, some don’t – and that’s part of the issue. Their style guide dictates an apostrophe for pluralizing initialisms. Personally, I would not use the apostrophe, but there’s no hard-and-fast rule for it.

Grammar’s Greatest Protectors Actually Doing Most Damage to Language

By Jason Menard

Today is National Grammar Day and while there appears to be increasingly little to celebrate if you survey the linguistic landscape, perhaps it’s time to reassess where the actual blame lies.

We all know about the challenges to the language that are our youth. Schools have increasingly abdicated their obligation to teach, instead settling for the lowered bar that is comprehension. Text and on-line messaging have also conspired to diminish the language as the next generation’s current form of communication is actively impeding their ability to express themselves.

So we could blame the kids – after all, that’s the easy way to do. Continue reading