By Ki-dong Yi
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Extra info for A Korean grammar on semantic-pragmatic principles
Stand outside a Leicester Square cinema indicating – with a cut-out apostrophe on a stick – how the title Two Weeks Notice might be easily grammatically corrected (I did this), and not a soul will take your side or indeed have a clue what your problem is. And that’s sad. Taking our previous analogies for punctuation, what happens when it isn’t used? Well, if punctuation is the stitching of language, language comes apart, obviously, and all the buttons fall off. If punctuation provides the traffic signals, words bang into each other and everyone ends up in Minehead.
And there is no editing on the internet! Meanwhile, in the world of text messages, ignorance of grammar and punctuation obviously doesn’t affect a person’s ability to communicate messages such as “C U later”. But if you try anything longer, it always seems to turn out much • 17 • e at s , s h o o t s & l e av e s like the writing of the infant Pip in Great Expectations: MI DEER JO I OPE U R KRWITE WELL I OPE I SHAL SON B HABELL 4 2 TEEDGE U JO AN THEN WE SHORL B SO GLODD AN WEN I M PRENGTD 2 U JO WOT LARX AN BLEVE ME INF XN PIP.
I would thank her, glance • 31 • e at s , s h o o t s & l e av e s at the blizzard of marks on the galley proof, wait for her to leave the room, and then (standing up to get a better run at it) attack the proof, feverishly crossing out everything she had added, and writing “STET’’, “STET”, “STET”, “STET”, “STET” all down the page, until my arm got tired and I was spent. And don’t forget: this comma contention was not a matter of right or wrong. It was just a matter of taste. Eats, Shoots & Leaves is not a book about grammar.