A little more grist for the "bad grammar" mill

Randy Leedy (RLEEDY@wpo.bju.edu)
Mon, 04 Nov 1996 10:27:31 -0500

Just got back to the computer from a trip to the men's room, which
provided an opportunity to do some more serious thinking about bad
grammar. My "definition" of bad grammar may need a little more
qualification along yet another line than Don Wilkins pursued. A
skilled writer can use "bad grammar" intentionally, in order to gain
a certain effect. While I wouldn't class myself as a highly skilled
writer, in a recent post I wrote "I've done gone and said what I said
I didn't have time to say." I intentionally used what I think we
would agree is "bad grammar" in order to add to the sentence a touch
of whimsy. Another situation in which bad grammar serves a purpose
would be in a novel, where bad grammar in the mouth of a particular
character helps establish his or her personality.

It might be interesting to explore the possibility that some of the
solecisms in the NT could be intentional. For example, I've had the
hunch from reading Revelation that the solecistic grammar contributes
a tone of haste and non-premeditation that is important to the
overall impact of the book. (Not only that, but the book ends with a
warning not to tamper with its wording, so John may not have felt
liberty to revise the record of his visions before sending it on its
way to the seven churches.) Perhaps someone has already written
something along these lines, and the scholars among us will be able
to supply bibliography.

In Love to God and Neighbor,
Randy Leedy
Bob Jones University
Greenville, SC