Tuesday, December 30, 2014

As Uncool As It Sounds, Proper Grammar Is Important

Dear Tazi:

I am at my wit's end with my fourteen year old daughter!  "Sabrina" insists on writing all of her communications - from texts to school writing assignments - in text speak, or worse, LOL speak.  I will admit that it is charming when you kitty-cats do it, but it is sickening seeing my daughter's grades plummet because she thinks it is "cool" to write this way.  She is also starting to speak in street slang; she sounds like a punk!  This is not how she was raised!

My mother-in-law spent her entire career teaching proper English to middle school students (she was an English teacher).  I remember when my husband and I first started dating, how I worked on my grammar so as to impress her with my proper speech, and I have worked to pass the lessons she taught onto Sabrina, but Sabrina just won't listen!  Her grandmother is coming to visit from Florida this Christmas.  It is her first visit since moving two years ago, and I am afraid of what she will think when she asks about Sabrina's grades or offers to proofread her papers - something Sabrina used to love to do with her Grandma.

I have tried to punish Sabrina for her low grades, but nothing works - she continues to use poor grammar because she thinks it is the height of fashion and that "nobody cares about grammar anymore".  She complains that it is boring, old-fashioned, and outdated.  Can you think of a way that I can get my daughter back on track?

Not LOL'ing

Dear Not LOL'ing:

It appears that your daughter is trying to fit in with a certain crowd, and hopefully this is merely a phase through which she is going on her way to becoming an independent thinker. I realize from your letter that you hold your mother-in-law in high esteem, and that you fear she will somehow think less of you because of your daughter's sudden change in writing habits.  I think you give your M-I-L far too little credit!  She has been proofreading your daughter's work over the years, and has watched her writing abilities develop.  Could her move to Florida - and subsequent lack of quality time with Sabrina - have brought on Sabrina's changed behavior?  Is it possible that her use of poor grammatical skills is a cry for attention?

I suggest that, in preparation for your M-I-L's visit, you contact her and explain the situation with Sabrina's writing; then, have your M-I-L contact Sabrina about proofreading her work via email and chatting about it through Skype or a webcam.  Both are wonderful ways to keep in touch and to kept the bond between Sabrina and her Grandma strong.  If Sabrina knows that her Grandma will be reading her work her attitude towards grammar may suddenly improve.  It  is my greatest hope that your daughter sees that by writing in text and LOL speak, she is perpetrating the untruth that she is an uneducated dolt.

I also think that it is time that Grandma have a talk with Sabrina about the importance of proper grammar when speaking and writing the English language.  In our ever widening global economy more and more business people are not native speakers of the American language, and proper grammar can make the difference between being understood or unintentionally insulting somebody.

Proper grammar can save a life!

On a personal note,  I would like to say that LOL cats aren't cute because of the way they are shown to speak; they are cute because they are cats!  Furthermore, as you can see by my column, cats do not speak in LOL-Catese.  This is a horrible scam, one that the Great Cat Overlord is working hard on correcting, as you can see here:

P. Tigris only takes the time to speak out on matters of utmost importance.  
The rest of the time he naps.


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.


  1. I think everyone wants to ensure that they present their best work at all times. This is so whether someone is writing in English or another language. Of course, it easier when you are writing in the language that you grew up speaking.

    Career in IELTS

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