Now, you may be asking why I’d be putting up an entry on grammar in a ministry blog. Patience, and I will enlighten you.
This basically stems from the musical, or rather, lyrical aspect of ministry; but can be applied to any ministry that utilizes the written word. I’m talking about swapped or warped spellings for words. Now, I’m not speaking of international English vs. American English spellings or the occasional typo; I’m speaking of words that sound the same but have different meanings. One of the most common swapped spellings I see is when we write the word “till” in reference to an action occuring in wait of something else. For example:
“She sang till she was hoarse.”
I even cringe writing that in the example. Here’s why. The word “till” means to turn the soil, as in prep for planting seed. The use above should have been spelled “’til”. “Why?” you ask. I answer, “Because in this context, we are using a contracted form of the word “until”.”
The contracted form of “until” needs to represent the original word. The apostrophe replaces the missing letters in the word… “un” – just like in some of the older lyrical spellings like “ne’er” for “never”, or “tho’ ” for “though”, or even “e’en” for “even”.
So what does this have to do with ministry? Well, it may be forgiven by others who are well familiar with the English language, but for those still learning, or reading a mechanical translation of your statement, it could be quite confusing. The above phrase no longer means that the singer had to refrain from song when her voice became tired; it would, instead, read something along the lines of this:
She sang, turning up the soil; her voice was sore.
This is not exactly what was intended by the writer. But still, we see many examples of this in song lyrics, blogs, and other written communications. There are, sadly, many instances not just of this one example throughout English-based literature and song; but quite a few others occur as well.
I would encourage you to double check your grammar check when writing so there will be less confusion amongst those on the recieving end of your communications. It saves frustration on the part of those who don’t understand, and on the part of those who (like me) are a little uptight when it comes to bad grammar!
Another example that was brought to my attention by a friend is found here…I found it quite humorous!
Enjoy your day!