Saturday, December 6, 2008

Something about grammar that makes me mad.

I can be a grammar Nazi, I know that, and I'm ok with that. (Note: I am certainly not always this way, frequently a just ramble on this blog, but generally I am.) I subscribe to a notion that proper grammar should be noted, used and it should be a beautiful thing. In fact, that might be one of the best parts about grammar, it's beautiful, when used properly there is a beautiful aesthetic to it. But every now and then I come across some proper grammar that has a horrendous aesthetic to me, and that's a dichotomy that I don't think a whole lot of.

I came across this situation about a week ago, I had been rather sick for about a week and was struggling putting an article together that was long overdue (my accommodating editor gave me an extension). I was trying to say something to the effect of "the second band of the night, Ann Arbor, Michigan's Mason Proper,". (I know that's not quite correct punctuation there, but I wanted to be sure to include the comma I had after Mason Proper. Also that sentence isn't exactly what I wrote but there was the introductory phrase comma Ann Arbor comma Michigan's Mason Proper comma.) The comma use in that sentence is hideous. I hate it. Now I know I can simply change the structure of the sentence, but the comma use between city and state in a sentence is an ugly thing. I was further aggravated by simply trying to determine if it was even necessary to include Michigan. Were Mason Proper from Atlanta, New York or Seattle there wouldn't be much of a problem. Ann Arbor isn't really an obscure city, but it's also not Chicago or Minneapolis. It would definitely be necessary if I was saying Eau Claire, Wisconsin's Bon Iver. But I'm not. And I still think that looks wrong. But I've been told this is right. Maybe someone knows of something besides the Chicago Manual that would tell me I don't need the comma there. Because I don't want it there.

In the end this is all silly because I believe I just restructured the sentence to avoid the grammatical seizure I was having. Nonetheless, that's a horrible rule. The comma should evaporate in a sentence, maybe not, maybe it still makes sense, but I don't like how it looks, it's like stuttering over something that shouldn't be difficult.

1 comment:

Brad said...

I love that you love grammar.