The Instigator
dylancatlow
Pro (for)
Losing
2 Points
The Contender
Zaradi
Con (against)
Winning
6 Points

Grammar makes little difference to a phrase's meaning and clarity

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
Zaradi
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/26/2012 Category: Society
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 12,283 times Debate No: 25305
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (344)
Votes (2)

 

dylancatlow

Pro

I will be arguing pro, that correct grammar and spelling make little difference to a phrase's coherency. I will take the burden of proof in this debate.

Definitions:
1) Little - Small in size, amount, or degree (often used to convey an appealing diminutiveness or express an affectionate or condescending attitude). <--- in this case its definition will be that of its degree usage.

2) Meaning - What is meant by something.

3) Clarity - The quality of being clear, in particular. The quality of coherence and intelligibility.

Standard format:

1st - introductions

2nd - Pro=opening arguments / Con= opening arguments and rebuttal

3rd - Pro=rebuttal/closing arguments / Con = closing arguments ONLY

Good luck to my opponent!
Do you accept my terms?
Zaradi

Con

1 r gunn4 @cc3pT d!$ d3b4t3 & rg0o th gr3mm3r m@k3s @LL th d1ff 1n dA wur!d?!?!?

l3tS tur d!s 0v@ 2 m@h ap0n3n 4 h1m 2 b3g!n.
Debate Round No. 1
dylancatlow

Pro


Let me start by saying I appreciate correct grammar. I enjoy a phrase more if it is written well as opposed to poorly. I do not, however, believe grammar is often vital to a phrases’ meaning or clarity. I think grammar is important and should definitely be stressed, but rarely is it fader for confusion.


The reason many people have a misconception about the correlation between grammar and coherence is the writer. People – writers-- who have great things to share nearly always take the time to proofread their work for grammar; and they should. Good grammar matters when considering what the reader is expecting. Coherence and grammar, however, are not cause and effect like many people think. This can be shown in the way we judge a piece of writing. When one reads a book and comes across a typo, he or she is rarely if ever confused at what is being said. The only feeling he or she has is the subtle sense of superiority and contempt for the writer of the book. It doesn’t matter how minor the grammar error is or how little -- if at all -- it affects what is being said; some people will not take you or your ideas seriously. This can be used as evidence for the lack of causation grammar actually has to our understanding. How quickly we are to discount the quality of ideas based simply on grammar is outstanding.


One of the reasons correct grammar is sought after is consistency. People like rules they can follow because it quickens how fast they can understand; not if they can understand. People don’t want to have to work any harder than they have to. Examples of this are contractions in words. They hardly save any time at all yet if one never used them he or she would sound dreadfully slow. Grammar is much the same way. People don’t want to waste their time trying to understanding how something is being said; the “what” is already enough. But at the core of understanding, grammar is almost always limited to making a grammatically incorrect phrase sound “funny”.


Another case against the need of grammar for understanding is the amazing human ability to interpret the tone of a phrase. We don’t read each word individually but the sentence as a whole. This allows us to “fill in the blank” if we come across a grammar error and put in something which fits. Any grammatically incorrect phrase can be reasoned, usually very easily, and be made to make sense. Many of the grammar errors made are arbitrary which don’t need reasoning at all. The most often made mistakes are the easiest to fill-in with the correct usage. Common mistakes include: you’re instead of your, a instead of an, using the incorrect form of a verb, their there they’re, and many more. If a phrase’s meaning is completely dependent on a single punctuation mark or the correct usage of a word above, it is probably a bad phrase to begin with. Even in the case of dangling modifiers, the phrase should have enough context to know what is being said. We aren’t going to be eating Grandpa anytime soon.


Grammar is a very important component of writing but it has little affect on our ability to understand what is being said. If I had said effect just now, you would still understand what is being said. It probably wouldn’t even affect your speed of understanding because they sound the same when we read. Finding obscure instances in which correct grammar usage is vital to the understanding of a particular phrase does not discount my thesis. Very few times is this true in practice. Grammar is no more than a glorified time-saver.


Zaradi

Con

I'm really not caring about this debate anymore, so instead of typing the rest of my rounds in the same manner that I typed my first one, I'll just proceed normally.

As we're discussing the impact of grammar on meaning AND clarity, proving that correct grammar and incorrect grammar have a significant impact on just one is going to be enough for you to negate. However, my opponent must be able to defend both if he is wanting to win this debate.

Also, since my opponent's definition of little is, well, vague, I will attempt to prove that incorrect grammar has a noticable impact upon a phrases meaning and clarity. If there is no noticable impact, then you affirm. However, if there's even the slightest notable impact, you negate instantly.

Also, since my opponent did not specify the range of error in grammar allowed, we can presume that any and all gramatical errors in any quantity are allowed for me to use.

Grammar is essential to conversation. Without it,, we would all be talking in different accents and using different words that had no meaning and nobody would understand one another. Grammar, when used correctly, provides us with the meaning and clarity we need to converse effectively. Mess with the grammar, though, and you mess with the meaning and clarity of what you're trying to say. Let me explain further:

>> Meaning <<

Incorrect grammar messes with meaning on two different levels:

a) Fluency
Have you ever had a hard time understanding people with thick, foreign accents that you are not used to hearing? What about having a hard time understanding an infant or toddler? If you said yes to either one of those, you finally understand why incorrect grammar messes with the fluency of our speech by altering the meaning of what we say in the minds of the people we are speaking to. Let me go deeper. If I were to walk up to you and say "I' gon ate da epple ober ther", would you even have a chance of understanding what I was getting at? Not a chance would you know that I was going to eat the apple over there. That's because the grammar I used was different from the correct grammar, which is what our ears are atoned to listen to. Any deviation from it takes away from the meaning, which means that grammar has an impact on the meaning of a phrase.

b) Spelling
How we spell words also affects the meaning of a phrase. This is less noticable than the fluency of our speech, but it still has a noticable impact upon the meaning of a sentance. Let's take the following sentance for example: I am going to the store. The meaning of this sentance is very clear, and the correct spelling allows us to accurately interpret it's meaning. Now let's take the following sentance: I am going to teh sture. Looking at the two mispelled words, "teh" and "sture", we can easily tell that they are mispelled and that they are not what the sentance was supposed to have. This means that meaning is lost because a) it's not what the author of the sentance intended to put there, which means that part of the meaning that said author wished to convey through his word choice is now ruined via misspelling, and b) those words do not actually exist. Because they are not in existance (someone has not created them and given them meaning yet), then they lack meaning. Which essentially turns the sentance into "I am going to ___ _____". Those blanks (which is where the misspelled words are) completely train-wreck any meaning that the sentance may have had. Which means that grammar influences the meaning of a phrase.

>> Clarity <<
Clarity is a much easier thing to prove is impacted by improper grammar. Let us take a few steps back and look at a previous example of attempting to say that we are going to eat that apple over there. Of course if I fluently and clearly speak "I'm going to eat that apple over there", the message is easy to understand. Why? Because we were clear with our words and our speech. However, the worse our grammar is, the worse our speech is. Ever heard how the British pronounce 'garage' and wondered what the heck they were talking about? How about been down near New Orleans, Mississippi and heard the Cajun people speaking in their thick accents. Could you understand them? Different accents and pronunciations all are rooted in differences in grammar, and those differences affect the clarity of a phrase spoken.

Since I've proven that grammar affects both meaning and clarity, you auto-negate right off the bat. But even still, let's go over my opponent's arguments.

" When one reads a book and comes across a typo, he or she is rarely if ever confused at what is being said. The only feeling he or she has is the subtle sense of superiority and contempt for the writer of the book."

All my opponent is arguing here is that we are able to give meaning to misspellings of words. This, of course, makes the presumption that if a misspelling occurs, the phrase lacks meaning until we imbue it with meaning. You can take that assumption he makes and auto-negate off of it, because this debate isn't about the reasoning ability of the human mind and it's ability to imbue words with meaning: it's about the effect of grammar on the meaning and clarity of phrases. If he's making the assumption that when a misspelling occurs there is no meaning until we place meaning there (which he is), then he's presuming that the negative is true. So from that you can instantly negate.

"People like rules they can follow because it quickens how fast they can understand; not if they can understand."

Here my opponent is making the same assumption as above. No need to waste characters explaining it again.

"Another case against the need of grammar for understanding is the amazing human ability to interpret the tone of a phrase."

From just reading the topic sentance of the paragraph you can already tell that this is going to be non-resolutional. The human mind doesn't play into grammar at all. Grammar is as grammar is, and nothing our mind thinks or reasons has any affect on it.

Since that's the last of my opponent's arguments, let me summarize how this round went down:

1. I proved that incorrect grammar affects both meaning and clarity, which gives you as the voters two places to negate right off the bat.
2. I proved that my opponent's arguements are resting on the assumption that the negative case is true. So if you give weight to his arguments, then you have to instantly negate.
3. I proved that the arguments that AREN'T making that assumption are off topic. The human's ability to reason is an outside agent that doesn't affect the resolution: if grammar distorts the meaning and clarity of a phrase. Thus, the arguments that fall under this are null and void, and do not weigh into the round whatsoever.

Overall, it's a really easy negative vote.
Debate Round No. 2
dylancatlow

Pro

I thank my opponent for his response.
I would like my opponent to know when I'm referring to grammar; I am talking about practical cases of error. Nearly all of the errors one would receive on an essay they turn into their teacher would not change the meaning of the paper; correct or incorrect.
Rebuttals:

a) Fluency –
Here my opponent asserts that accents are similar to grammar errors. This is false. He assumes that accents fundamentally change what is being said and uses this as evidence for the need of grammar. Grammar is the system of organizing words to make sense. Accents, on the other hand, are the fashion in which people say things. The best example of this in text-form would be using a hard to read font. Also in your "I' gon ate da epple ober ther" example, you change the spelling of the words. I never argued changing the letters in a word to that extent doesn't change the meaning of the word yet alone the whole phrase. Try this example: " I are going to eat that apple over there" It is technically incorrect and from your reasoning it should have no meaning; yet somehow I suspect you understand it. This is not fundamentally different from more serious grammar errors; just to the degree it could confuse someone. Rebuking another claim of yours, "Any deviation from it takes away from the meaning, which means that grammar has an impact on the meaning of a phrase."
This is yet another false claim. Deviation from what we expect may cause us to slow down, but it does not mean that one couldn't understand a grammatically incorrect phrase. People can always understand their own grammatically incorrect phrases, so grammar has no absolute meaning. Grammar only helps us communicate more effectively. In fact it wasn't until the 15th century that the English language even included punctuation!

b) Spelling –
Spelling is not grammar. I do not know where you got this idea from. Maybe it was when I talked about typos. Typos can refer to more than just spelling, you know. Here you assume grammar is always taken out of context; this is rarely the case. Imagine if I were literally going to the store and you said " you are going to ___ _____" I would know what you mean based on the context of what I was doing. This is very similar to grammar errors because anytime one fixes a grammar error, they are essentially using context to figure out what is being said.

>> Clarity <<
Here you essentially repeat your argument. You are forgetting that even grammatically correct sentences can confuse people and sometimes make no sense at all. You leave the reader out of the equation. If the reader understands what is being said, regardless of grammar, it is just as effective as if the sentence had been grammatically correct. I argue that nearly every time, people understand what is being said in a grammatically incorrect sentence.

You assume that the human mind does not take a role in this debate; I would argue exactly the opposite. I think the human mind and grammar are inseparable when considering the implications of grammar. Grammar servers to make sentences perfectively clear to people who are familiar with it. Making something perfectly clear is often unnecessary. What matters is that people understand something.

I am now going to provide examples of grammatically incorrect phrases, you decide for yourself.

1) Lets go to the store, we needs milk.

2) Your going to the store weather you like it or not.

3) I could care less if you don't go with me – yes, this is incorrect

4) She did good on the exam

5) Where did you see her last? I last seen her at the store.

6) Me and Albert are going to the beach today.

7) While driving on Greenwood Avenue yesterday afternoon, a tree began to fall toward Wendy H's car.

In fact, there is even test in which people are asked if a phrase has any grammar errors at all. It's called the SAT. The fact that we spend time trying to FIND grammar errors brings into question the need for flawless phrases anyway. Fewer than 1% of test-takers get a perfect score on the writing section of the SAT. Does this mean that fewer than 1% of the population are understanding something vitally important that the 99% don't? I think not.

I urge voters to vote pro on this matter. I have clearly shown that grammar often makes no true difference to a phrase's meaning. Something either makes sense to somebody, or it doesn't. Grammar is irreverent. Grammar is simply an extremely useful tool used to communicate effectively.
Zaradi

Con

" Nearly all of the errors one would receive on an essay they turn into their teacher would not change the meaning of the paper; correct or incorrect."

False, as even if I make a mistake, even if our mind is able to bridge the gap that our lack of grammar created, that gap still exists, which only proves that incorrect grammar does affect the meaning and clarity of something.

"It is technically incorrect and from your reasoning it should have no meaning; yet somehow I suspect you understand it. "

The fact that my mind is able to bridge the gap that a lack of grammar created does not mean that the gap doesn't exist in the first place. By arguing that our mind is able to connect the failings of grammar, you essentially presume the resolution to be false (for a second time, mind you).

" Deviation from what we expect may cause us to slow down, but it does not mean that one couldn't understand a grammatically incorrect phrase."

I'm getting tired of repeating the same argument over and over again. Just because our minds can reason out a mistake in grammar, it does not mean that what we had to reason out no longer exists. The lack of grammar and lack of meaning is still there, but our minds are able to bridge it. But as this resolution doesn't question mankind's ability to understand simple grammatical mistakes, but instead whether these mistakes have a noticable impact upon the phrase in question, your argument doesn't even apply to the resolution. But if it did actually apply, it presumes it to be false, and thus you still lose anyway.

"b) Spelling –"

Since your argument is essentially the same thing as it is with the above ones that I've refuted three times or so, I'm just going to direct you to the above refutations (which are essentially all the same since all you did was find different ways to word the same refutation and copy/paste).

"You leave the reader out of the equation."

That's because the reader was never in the equation to begin with. And since you only go on to repeat the same argument for a FIFTH time, refer to the refutations above.

"You assume that the human mind does not take a role in this debate; I would argue exactly the opposite. I think the human mind and grammar are inseparable when considering the implications of grammar. Grammar servers to make sentences perfectively clear to people who are familiar with it. Making something perfectly clear is often unnecessary. What matters is that people understand something."

You are correct in virtually this entire paragraph except for one small detail: the wording of the resolution never includes a human actor (or in this case, a human mind). All the resolution is asking of us is to consider the impact of incorrect grammar on the phrase alone. Not whether or not incorrect grammar prevents us from understanding the phrase, but whether or not the phrase is impacted negatively by the grammar error. Because of the way you worded the resolution, you excluded your own argument. THIS is why the human mind does not factor into this debate, and THUSLY is why you lose in at least three different ways.

" I have clearly shown that grammar often makes no true difference to a phrase's meaning. "

False. What you've proven is that the human mind can correct unintentional breaches in grammar and restore the proper meaning. However this isn't what the resolution asked of you, so essentially you've been arguing a different resolution from the one you provided. How does that make you feel?

Ladies and gents, I ask you to read over the rounds carefully before making your decision on who won this debate. My opponent did effectively prove a point. Hpwever, the only problem with his arguments is that they aren't actually what the resolution is asking him to prove. By arguing that the human mind fixes grammar errors, he does two things:

1. Deviates from the resolution, as the resolution is only asking of us to consider the impact of grammar on the phrase WITHOUT the influence of the human mind.
2. Presumes that the resolution is false. If there is no grammar error for our mind to fix, then our mind wouldn't automatically fix it in the first place. This means that even if you give weight to his arguments, you still have to negate as it would imply that the resolution has to be false for his arguments to be true.

Thusly, you still negate.
Debate Round No. 3
344 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by dylancatlow 4 years ago
dylancatlow
Thanks for that free lesson.
trolololol
Posted by Manbearpanda 4 years ago
Manbearpanda
lol.
Posted by dylancatlow 4 years ago
dylancatlow
* trolling foreigners

I think we should all just convert to Esperanto
Posted by Manbearpanda 4 years ago
Manbearpanda
Only slightly. I think it's just Shakespeare and his mates trolling us.
Posted by dylancatlow 4 years ago
dylancatlow
Does the English language intentionally try to be confusing?
Posted by Manbearpanda 4 years ago
Manbearpanda
Well, 'never mind' means 'pay no attention', of course. 'Nevermind' is an old-fashioned word meaning 'attention'. 'Pay no nevermind' is pretty much interchangeable with 'never mind'.
Posted by dylancatlow 4 years ago
dylancatlow
Rule 34
Posted by dylancatlow 4 years ago
dylancatlow
Do elaborate on the 'nevermind' business . . .
Posted by Manbearpanda 4 years ago
Manbearpanda
A German fetish club is far creepier. And I'd assume a German child garden fetish club would be even worse.
Posted by dylancatlow 4 years ago
dylancatlow
What's creepier than a German child-garden?
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by AshleysTrueLove 4 years ago
AshleysTrueLove
dylancatlowZaradiTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:23 
Reasons for voting decision: I believe that intial opening post constituted loss of conduct and grammar points, I understand the reason(evidently to prove a point) however it was improper especially for a opening round post.
Vote Placed by Man-is-good 4 years ago
Man-is-good
dylancatlowZaradiTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro focuses too much on human ability to correct such a gap made by incorrect grammar and attempts to include the reader into the equation;; the resolution discriminates, however, between perception and the actual impact, here localized solely to a "phrase's meaning and clarity". Zaradi demonstrated that even at the outset, there is still a change with the meaning of such a phrase--accents, spelling, and so forth, and difference in regards to intent, even if it is marginal.