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  • Titill er á ensku As Heard on TV: A Study of Common Breaches of Prescriptive Grammar Rules on American Television
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    In this paper I research four grammar variables by watching three seasons of American television programs, aired during the winter of 2010-2011: How I Met Your Mother, Glee, and Grey’s Anatomy. For background on the history of prescriptive grammar, I discuss the grammarian Robert Lowth and his views on the English language in the 18th century in relation to the status of the language today. Some of the rules he described have become obsolete or were even considered more of a stylistic choice during the writing and editing of his book, A Short Introduction to English Grammar, so reviewing and revising prescriptive grammar is something that should be done regularly. The goal of this paper is to discover the status of the variables “to lay” versus “to lie,” “who” versus “whom,” “X and I” versus “X and me,” and “may” versus “might” in contemporary popular media, and thereby discern the validity of the prescriptive rules in everyday language. Every instance of each variable in the three programs was documented and attempted to be determined as correct or incorrect based on various rules. Based on the numbers gathered, the usage of three of the variables still conforms to prescriptive rules for the most part, while the word “whom” has almost entirely yielded to “who” when the objective is called for. This development has been in motion for decades and might predict the changes for the other three variables and other grammar rules.

  • 18.1.2013

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