Date: Sat, 20 Aug 1994 14:47:15 EDT


Subject: "subverting the integrity of the language"

Bob Greene, crusading columnist of the Chicago Tribune, would agree with Don

Lance's observation

there has been a considerable increase

in the use of "bad grammar" and four-letter words in quotations in newspaper


Tim Frazer asked for a specific citation. Here are two:

Taking a break from railing against judges for returning happy adopted kids

to vicious birth parents, Greene fulminated against

"the 'you-guys'-ization of America" (July 27) and

"'street talk,' from the rankest vulgarities to the sloppiest English" (Aug


Here is his historical perspective:

"Americans are increasingly abandoning grammar and proper usage of the

language. For most of the country's history, men and women-and

children-considered it important to at least try to speak correctly. If they

didn't, they feared embarrassment-it was humiliating for a person to be

unable to express himself or herself in the right manner.

"That attitude is largely gone...."

"Thus, the dilemma faced by newspapers. . . . Do they quote people the way

the people speak, and thus help legitimize sloppy grammar? Or do they violate

rules of accruacy, and make people who don't know how to speak sound as if

they do?"