Is Dubious Grammar Funny?

In a previous post here on Ladybits, I wrote about how, sometimes, phrasing something in its funniest form requires messing up the grammar, or at least bending to colloquialisms.

Allie Brosh’s latest humor article on TheGloss contained the sentence, “If you cross paths with a subordinate human, you must make every effort not to acknowledge them because they are beneath you.”

A commenter wrote:

I know you care about grammar Alot. “A subordinate human” is singular. “Them” is plural.

(The “Alot” here is not an ironic grammar fail, but rather a reference to Allie’s previous complaint about people who write “alot.” The “Alot” post has 773 comments and is amazing.)

Allie responds:

I know, I know, but the phrase “he or she” seems out of place in my writing style. It feels less jarring to just misuse “they/them” (and in my defense, the use of singular “they/them” is becoming more acceptable due to the lack of a gender-neutral, singular pronoun in the English language.)

While I care a great deal about proper grammar, I often find it necessary to break the rules a little bit in order to stick with my artistic voice. Every now and then an infinitive may be split, a conjunction may be used to start a sentence and a preposition may be used to end one – it’s just how I write.

However, I fully endorse the idea of knowing the rules before breaking them. This makes me feel at least a little less hypocritical for preaching proper grammar while abusing my own :)

It does seem that some grammar fudging is conducive to comedy.  Thoughts?

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