HOLY 50 SHADES OF GRAMMAR
I have yet to read E.L. James’ erotic book, 50 Shades of Grey, though I don’t know that I ever will. I know. THE TRAVESTY!
It’s safe to say the book’s reputation precedes it. It has been widely panned by critics across the world for its poor use of language, with countless posts on FB, Twitter, blogs attesting the same, and yet women, it seems, can’t get enough of the spicy sex and sultry mystique surrounding the dominant/submissive lifestyle. I hear the movie is getting a fair share of stinging reviews as well, though that didn’t stop it from breaking box office records in its opening weekend.
They (the critics) had me at “poor use of language.” I’m about up to HERE with the plethora of poor writing available out in the ether. Seeking it out for a cheap thrill (even though buying the book or seeing the movie are not going to be so cheap now) makes not sense at all to me.
An interesting thing came across my desk this week that I couldn’t ignore, however. Apparently the folks over at Grammarly couldn’t help but jump on the 50 Shades band-wagon (COUGH – not me – COUGH). A crack team of experts on their staff took a look at the book. They reviewed it for spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors, and learned that — although there were some mistakes — the errors were in alignment with similar gaffes in celebrated romances such as Tender is the Night, Wuthering Heights, and Pride and Prejudice.
Their conclusion: The language of of love really is a language of its own.
They posted this infographic comparing it to some of the most celebrated romance novels of all time (clicking will take you to another website):
I’m not sure how I feel about this. I read Wuthering Heights at about fifteen years of age. It was right in my wheelhouse. That alone is evidence to me that the dumbing down of the human race is not a new phenomenon. It was going on then, is going on now, and will obviously continue.
Does that mean it’s not okay for people to thoroughly enjoy 50 Shades? ABSOLUTELY NOT.
Enjoy every moment. Let them enjoy the book, the movie, and the trading cards to their hearts’ content. I’ll be over here submitting and resubmitting this text into Grammarly, until it stops telling me my use of colloquialisms, sentence fragments and wordiness are problems. I’m wating for them to develop an app for my writing style. HUMORLY. Let’s go with that.
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Nichole Hall says
Haven’t read 50 shades and don’t intend to. I do like the grammar comparison though. Very interesting.
Same here Nichole… I don’t agree with their changes… LOL
Hmmm….my editor tells me to use contractions for the YA audience. About 50 shades…I’m not planning on reading it or seeing the movie and it has nothing to do with the grammar and everything to do with the glamorizing of violence against women. Don’t we have enough of that in real life?
Scott Bury says
HUMORLY. Love it. Sentence fragments – so wrong yet so right. Somehow. And 50 Shades – like plonk compared to fine wine. Great starting point, but please, read something else, too.
Onisha Ellis says
Grammarly reminds me of one of my English grammar teachers. Could Not Stand Her. She always had to be right. LOL . No 50 Shades for me.
Elyse Salpeter says
I am so fed up with authors slamming these books. She did her best, put it out and guess what? The STORY was enough to create enough emotional response for people to jump on it, horrible grammar and edit issues aside. Yes, it would be nice if it were better written, but guess what? This woman made a name for herself and did what ALL of us want. She got the movie deal, the exposure and her story in front of millions. I’m happy for her. It certainly isn’t my cup of tea, but it’s other people’s cup of tea and thankfully that’s all that matters.
Okay Elyse! Tell us how you really feel! LOL I agree. Let the art be the art.
Elyse Salpeter says
I’m so sick of of authors slamming these books. Yes, they were poorly written, but you know what? She wrote it to the best of her ability, she submitted it and the story was emotionally driven enough to get it picked up. She did exactly what the rest of us want so badly. To have her story in front of millions. To get that book deal, that movie deal. It isn’t my cup of tea, but who cares? It’s other people’s cup of tea and thank god for that.
Bob Nailor says
First, a woman I know has seen the movie about 4 times. She abhors it and just goes repeatedly to assure herself that she doesn’t like it… uh, yeah, right! Now, regarding semantics and punctuation. We no longer speak as we did 200 years ago – thanketh thy Lord. I was taught punctuation but with today’s slang and dialog, it becomes difficult. Really? Yes, really. In 1950 an author would never had started a sentence with an “And” or “But” and yet, today? We do it without thinking. To deign one book bad, another good, solely on the grammar and punctuation, I leave that to the English textbooks. If nothing else, I’ve learned over the years that another person’s opinion is just that, their opinion. Let me read the book, view the movie – let ME decide if it is good or bad. Just because you don’t like commas, that doesn’t mean I will not like the book. And yes, we talk in funny languages, whether it be love or not.
I thought some of these grammatical changes they noted were unnecessary – although I’m assuming they are taking it from a strictly “English Grammar” standpoint. I thought some of the text, although slightly incorrect. actually added more meaning the way they originally wrote it. HA HA HA – how’s THAT for a critique?
I agree. I don’t agree with Grammarly on their corrections. HAHA
Elise Stokes says
A travesty on so many levels.
Charles Dougherty says
It’s one of a long list of books that I haven’t read, and I have no interest in reading it, so I can’t comment on the book. Grammarly, however, is a different thing entirely. I don’t find them to be dependably accurate. Trust them at your peril, even in areas where there’s little debate as to correct usage.
Tamie Dearen says
Sometimes following the grammar rules without except is like coloring within the lines. Writing is art. I imagine Monet wouldn’t be fond of coloring within the lines. Similarly, these “corrections” of classics like Jane Austen, demonstrate how perfect grammar usage isn’t always the best choice. (I love Jane Austen’s use of passive voice!)
Dawn E. Floyd says
My neighbor raved about this book but it didn’t interest me much because, from what I’d heard from radio readings and word of mouth, it was poorly written. I can get over that if there aren’t too many grammatical errors, but then the female character was said to be weak and pathetic, so it seemed that the story wasn’t even that good. It has been one of those things that get on my nerves just a little bit each time I hear people promoting it. It just seems to prove how little those people know of good sex, kinky or not. Get over it, people have been doing this sort of thing for ages and the media and many followers act like it’s some great revelation. Yes, of course it did well at the box office. They promoted the hell out of it and it has to do with sex!
Thanks for weighing in Dawn!
Pamela Morse says
These are funny, and fun. I have not seen the 50 shades movie, and will not need to see it. I think making fun of it is where the real juice is.
James Prescott says
Haven’t read the 50 Shades books, and won’t, as from what I’ve heard and read about them, they effectively condone abuse and a negative view of women, and are masochinst. To me that’s not love at all. Sorry, apologise for the tone – hits a raw nerve with me.
But the point remains – when you play to a certain emotion or desire in someone then the language becomes less important.