Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Grammar of Zombies



Zombie Thursdays is a weekly feature with guest blogger, Miranda. You can read more about her here.

Today is National Grammar Day!  I really love grammar.  Like with anything in life, I will admit to not always using perfect grammar, but I definitely try to set a good example for those around me. I think my love and understanding of grammar came from two highly dedicated grade school teachers, Mrs. Schmidt and Mrs. Hawkins, who taught me the importance of speaking and writing well. Sure, at the time I bitched about all the essays they made me write and all the books I had to read. However, as an adult, I see how truly important grammar is. As a group on Facebook illustrates, grammar can even save lives--
 
“Let’s eat Grandma!” versus “Let’s eat, Grandma!”
 
See? In one case, Grandma is not going to have a very pleasant meal time. In the other, Grandma is being invited to gorge herself on brains. The importance of grammar is so obvious.
 
My absolute favorite grammar guide was The Deluxe Transitive Vampire. The above mentioned Mrs. Schmidt used to photocopy pages from her edition to serve as examples in class. As the title might suggest, all the sentence and grammar examples in this text book involve vampires, murderers, werewolves, and other such dark characters. Some sentence examples may not have been entirely....  appropriate for ten year olds, but they illustrated the important grammar lessons we needed to learn. And I find it as no coincidence that this book was published in the year I was born.
 
The point of The Deluxe Transitive Vampire is to show you readers that grammar, while necessary, can be a lot of fun! And it is vital. What kind of a weekly Zombie Blog (and, yes, I’ll get to the zombies here soon) writer would I be if I didn’t take the time on National Grammar Day to point out the importance of proper sentence structure, correct spelling, and effective punctuation?
 
As a fun way to brush up on some of the most common misuses of the English language, check out this article on grammar mistakes using zombies as subject matter! This article was first brought to my attention by my blog host, Alicia. I’m not sure whom she got it from or who gave it to her, but it is a great guide all the same! See how I slipped in the use of ‘whom’ versus ‘who?’ It is all important to everyday life! Now, let me warn you all-- there are a couple of grammatical errors in the zombie examples given. I hope that you will forgive the author! As I stated, everyone makes mistakes, even grammar professionals.
 
One of the most common, and most exciting, places to experience grammar is inside of books and novels. If they have time, most adults choose novels that seem of interest to them and partake in a little pleasure reading. But remember when you were forced to read things you would otherwise never select for yourself? I jump back to my two dedicated teacher, Schmidt and Hawkins. They were always assigning our class novels to read. Some were enjoyable (The Phantom Tollbooth, The Westing Game, To Kill a Mockingbird), others were not (Johnny Tremain, Great Expectations, The Red Badge of Courage). One author I am not particularly fond of is Jane Austen. However last April, a book was published called Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. It is a reworking of the “classic” Austen novel (yes, read that as sarcasm) set to the background of a zombie uprising. I will admit, despite the awesome subject matter, I have avoided reading this because of my hatred for Jane Austen.
 
However, this book made me start to think about some other novels that might be cooler with the addition of zombies! These books are already some of my favorites, but would be so much better if they had the living dead in them.
 
1. The Phantom of the Opera-- one of my all time favorite novels and the basis for so many retellings and movies. Imagine a different Phantom... for the two week period where Erik kidnaps Christine and keeps her with him in his home underneath the Paris Opera House, it isn’t because he is in love and crazy, it is because he is in love and the zombie apocalypse begins! The only way he can save her is to keep her locked inside underground while he goes out and kills zombies! Joseph Buquet? ZOMBIE. He deserved to die.
 
2. The Lord of the Flies-- An amazing book on its own! A group of boys are stranded on an island and must fight to survive. Their organization quickly breaks down with a threat of an island “Beast.” What if The Beast were real and not an illusion in their minds? What if The Beast turned out to be a horde of zombies!
 
3. Where the Red Fern Grows-- I don’t know about you, but I hated this book. I mean, I loved this book... until the end. **SPOILER ALERT** Although I can’t imagine too many people haven’t read this, but the boy’s beloved coon dogs die in the end. Why??? I have no idea. A senseless ending to an otherwise wonderful story. So, what if there was a sequel? The boy’s dogs come back as Zombie Dogs and terrorize the boy they once loved! At least then their death would have meaning.
 
On this National Grammar Day, embrace your love of the English language and all the rules that go with it. Speak correctly, don’t type out stupid things such as “LOL” or “Ill b their 2 c u l8r.” Go read your favorite book! Which would you like to have rewritten with zombies?

1 comment:

  1. I've tried reading Pride and Prejudice and Zombies but I just can't get through it. I can't stand Austen. The addition of the zombies definitely improves the story, but not by much.

    As for National Grammar Day . . . I saw the best tweet on the subject today: "Celebrating National Grammar Day on Twitter is like trying to hold an AA meeting in the middle of Mardi Gras."

    ReplyDelete

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