Let’s talk about something interesting. Let’s talk about grammar. You read that right – grammar. Wait, before I continue, let me give you this chance to leave. Actually, run for the hills. Run like your life depends on it. You’re not gone? Sure? Okay, fine. Disclaimer though, if you fall asleep halfway through this text, it’s not my fault. Rather, it’s your brain that kept you here. Cool? Good.
Now, grammar. What do I talk about in grammar? Do I talk about spelling? Or pronunciation? Or semantic and syntax? Wait, are those even part of grammar? I don’t know, am just an engineering student. For the correct information, consult a library. Or a dictionary. Or a literature student. Oh I know, I’ll talk about people’s grammatical errors. Don’t roll your eyes. Or roll them – I don’t care, I have a really high self-esteem that you can’t break. (Stifled laugh)
Have you ever encountered a piece of written text so bad that you wanted to flush it down the toilet and destroy the toilet so that you never encounter it again? Not this one, another one. Well I have. Lots of them in fact. Enough to make me swear off reading. Hmm, that probably explains why I haven’t picked up a book in months. Story for another day. Back to my story. There’s friend of mine – name withheld – who’s so notorious I think I’ll christen her (of course it’s a her) Bad English. Or Typo. Yeah, that sounds better, don’t you think? So Typo it is.
Typo’s a university student so that makes her mistakes all the more painful. She is so horrible that when her birthday came up, she was wished a long life so that she could correct all her typing mistakes! The worst part of it was that her gratitude speech was full of typos so I pretty much died there and then. Literally speaking. In her defence, she says that it’s her fingers that make the mistakes and not her. Which then begs the question, does she have itchy fingers or something? Or maybe she suffers from fingerosis typosis. Just saying. Don’t look that up by the way.
But for me, I don’t blame Typo. I mean, she’s just a representation of the larger Kenyan society. A society more likely to care for some meaningless tribal association than for their command of language. A society more likely to engage in debates over which team will win the English Premier League or which team to bet on than to engage in any meaningful literary discourse. This makes me respect Mr. Phillip Ochieng’ for his devotion to teaching an obstinate, pig-headed society proper English without as much as a thank you from the latter. Too bad. Kudos Mr. Ochieng’!
But what’s the problem really? What made us so horrible at English and Swahili for that matter? Is it our happy-go-lucky nature that makes us so reckless with language? Or is it our education system? Were we drilled into being machines that wrote and spoke perfect language only for exams? That reminds me, I was reading somewhere that the stakeholders met to discuss ways of improving the system. Maybe even scrap the 8-4-4 curriculum. Good for them although the pessimist in me feels that it may be a case of too little too late. Just saying.
So, what’s my solution to this menace? Simple, read. Take a book and read. When writing something, take time to go through whatever it is you are writing before submitting it to an audience. I mean, no one ever died of a few seconds of proof reading. If you feel that you’re so horrible in English, then make use of the autocorrecting feature. Every device has it these days so why not use it? I know, there are times that the autocorrect does more harm than good but it’s better than a text full of grammatical errors. If all those don’t work, then get someone to proof read for you. It never hurt to get some help you know.
Which reminds me, if you come across any grammatical errors in this piece of work, just ignore it, they are typos. Or you could politely bring them to my attention.
Don’t forget to comment. Really looking forward to your feedback.




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