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Friday, September 30, 2011


I'm not an angry person --- not overtly at least --- and do not lose my temper more often than once or twice a month.  However, certain things irritate me like a bone spur in the shin.

This week, unfortunately, I've had two such irritations.  The first was a job ad posted yesterday on LinkedIn for a medical writer.  The recruiter wrote that this writer would be "create guidance's for the department."  ARGH!  It's "guidance" or really style guide.  People who cannot distinguish plurals from possessives, ie, those who write "it's" when they mean "its," really piss me off.

I'm not a grammar Nazi, you know.  I don't begrudge people for misspelling words or missing an article or a preposition, nor am I particularly bothered by double negatives (as long as they are in quotes). But (see, I can even start a sentence with "but") I just hate mixing up possessives!   

The second irritation came from figure skating, specifically, Han Yan's short program at this week's junior Grand Prix competition in Innsbrook, Austria.  Chinese coaches who cut music for their own students are often woefully unqualified to do a barely decent job.  I hate programs that totally butcher the original music!  Ugh, butchered music really grates on my nerves like a dull knife cutting my toe off.  These coaches should be absolutely forbidden to touch any music-editing software.


Oddly enough, I do not remember being irritated by grammatical errors in Chinese.  Well, I don't remember seeing grammatical errors in Chinese, in fact.  Maybe it is because I've almost never been around people for whom Chinese is a second language.

Wait, no, that is not the heart of the matter.  A lot of errors in English are made by English-speaking natives, yet I've never seen or heard Chinese-speaking natives making grammatical errors in Chinese.  A lot of mistakes (by native speakers) in choosing the right character/pictogram, yes, but grammar is never a problem.

Conclusion:  Chinese grammar is VASTLY simpler and more intuitive than English grammar.  So simple that no one can mess it up even if they try.  

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