Here’s a typical comment regarding language:
“Thanks for your thoughtful reply. As a former English teacher, I found great delight in your grammar correction game. Very few English speakers speak correctly. Few know the difference between “lay” and “lie.” Most adults, including highly educated people and radio/TV announcers, misuse the conditional. They say “If I would have known, I would have gone,” instead of the easier, “If I had known, I would have gone.”
The writer cites the usual suspects, called shibboleths b/c they are thought to separate the washed from the unwashed, the elite from the hoi-polloi, Whites from Blacks, los cultos from los incultos. There are about 12 to 15 of them usually cited although the list can be expanded to around 30. Given there are 3500 rules of English grammar in the latest magnum opus (Quirk et al.), these shibboleths are a drop in the bucket and none of them is worth a bucket of warm spit, i.e. they have no basis in good usage (good authors use them); they have no basis in the history of English, all being invented by pedants and self-appointed ascertainers of correct language who had no knowledge of language (cf. scholars like Joseph Priestly and Samuel Johnson who cautioned against excessive enthusiasm for declaring for one form over another); they make no sense when presented to a native speaker of English (ask a Maven why you should not start a sentence with “but” or “and”); and self-contradictory as when one of the most popular grammar manuals abjured ending a sentence with a preposition only to do so itself on the same page. And so on.
Taken to extremes, we get the Greek situation which was decried by the poet Seferis as “the calamity of academic intervention” where pedants attempting to hew close to Classical Greek forms made a stew of forms from all the ages of Greek language with numerous misinterpretations and misunderstandings thrown in for seasoning. This mess was foisted on the Greek public as “purist Greek”, katharevousa, where you pointed to the sign over a drugstore which said one thing while the person telling you, “There’s the drugstore” used an entirely different word. Creative artists, being dependably independent, began writing in the popular language spoken by everyone, including the Mavens, way back in the early part of the nineteenth century. Eventually, using folk songs, daring philologists and patriots assembled a standardized grammar of popular Greek, but not until 1941! It took getting through a conservative dictatorship to finally get rid of katharevousa in 1976. Of course, now, to read Greek in all its genres before 1976, you still need to know katharevousa. Great.
Is this the mess we want in this country, where proper grammar is deemed that which no one speaks? Recall the quote that opened this: very few English speakers speak correctly. Then what are they speaking? Would you go to Turkey and ask a Turk how to say “how much” and then act skeptical b/c he probably doesn’t speak Turkish correctly? Absurd. Are you truly confused reading a letter/e-mail where your aunt states, “I laid down yesterday and took a nice nap” and scribble back furiously, “Auntie, I have NO IDEA what you are talking about.”? Our quoted writer apparently would.