S.P.G.E. (Society for the Promotion of Grammatical Excellence)

This is a bare-assed post. No frills, just a narrative.

That said, I begin.

I posted a tweet this morning asking the Guardian newspapers just how one goes about the act of ‘declear’ – ing (It was in a headline) something. (spell check is underlining that word in red even as I type) I send a follow up tweet about the number of grammatical errors – gbagauns – in Nigerian newspapers being alarming and… egad! I am swept off with a flood of people gbagaun-ing me and pointing out my ‘grammatical error’. It turns out that they take objection to my use of the verb ‘is’ in my statement. At first, I’m flustered. This many people… I have to be wrong… so I recheck my tweet. I need not mention that I was correct (else I wouldn’t be blogging about this. *dougies*) but the point was that I took on the thankless task of ‘publicly schooling’ people as my tweetbuddy @naijarookie put it.

Bottom line, no one came back to thank me or to apologise for insulting me. I shrug and say that’s the price of social networks like twitter. Nobody is obliged to act with any form of decorum. We are nameless and faceless. We can speak before we think and melt into the nothingness of web pages afterwards. And, as my tweetbuddy so eloquently put it, ‘The fact that people have access to internet is no guarantee that they will use it to seek out knowledge.’

But I digress.

My post is about the SPGE (I am a floor member). I do not claim to be custodian of all the grammatical rules but I find the number of people who responded with scorn to my tweet, proclaiming it to be grammatically incorrect, to be simply shocking. Graduates of ‘ivy league’ Nigerian universities included. They can hardly be blamed though. If a respected newspaper such as the Guardian (and Thisday as well in which I once read a statement about ‘having told them several times severally’)  treats its membership of this society trivially, what do we expect of the plebeians who lay no such claim to elite verbiage? I have proposed to distribute Brighter Grammar textbooks at street corners and I have a volunteer already. 😦


Update: The S.P.G.E. formerly known as Society for the Prevention of Grammatical Errors is to become Society for the Promotion of Grammatical Excellence. People seem to like this better.


5 thoughts on “S.P.G.E. (Society for the Promotion of Grammatical Excellence)

  1. Not sure whether I should cry or laugh…….the rate at which Nigerian newspapers and even Newscasters make grammatical blunders is becoming alarming!

    Concerning the distribution of the Brighter Grammar books, count me in! 😀

  2. Nice one. You need too know how many years ago my dad has been complaining about how Nigerian Newspapers have become an unreliable source for grammar. Nigerians are actually the worst English speakers amongst Africans. Even Franco-phone countries speak better than us on the average.

  3. It’s truly shocking. I’ve developed a new game when I read newspapers; spotting grammatical errors and laughing about them. ‘Going’ are the days when we look in newspapers and find particularly witty turns of phrase.

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