Friday, April 8, 2011


Like couples, the subject and the verb must agree. Singular subjects go with singular verbs while plural subjects go with plural verbs. Say He is wrong, and you are right. Say He are right, and you are wrong. Say She is right, and you are right. Say She is wrong, and, well, you will unmistakably have a sentence—a death sentence. I was told that women are never wrong. In any case, as in most cases, a man is destined to commit all forms of irreversible errors because he is never right, but that is quite something else. As for subjects and verbs and relationships, the rules are not clear as to who gets to play the role of the subject and who gets to play the role of the verb. Perhaps it depends on who wants to do what or, to be more precise, it depends on what the woman wants. The man has one of two doctrines to follow: either he agrees or he cajoles himself to agree. The difference is the same.

As to the when and the where, the confusion is even more staggering. Maybe it is as confusing as menstrual cycle, the type that is so regular in its irregularity that just tracing any pattern out of the messy chaos for twelve long months is enough to drive you insane. No wonder some women have an animosity with their own vagina. Maybe there is a sane reason why tampons were invented. But I do not know; I have never used one in my life. Is it a machine with ballasts? How do you operate a tampon? Do you have a remote control for that? Is it alive? Those are just some of the questions that have absolutely nothing to do with the title of this post, which is Love and Grammar. Or maybe I should just switch it to Love and Grammar and Tampons because two is a company and three is not a crowd but an orgy. Four is porn, five all the more, which is not necessarily merrier. I digress a lot.

Going back, the active voice is a curiosity. We are told to refrain from using the passive voice for arbitrary reasons that do not really make sense. Unless you count Strunk and White as gods, the rules were never given by the immortals of grammar, and that independent clause—and even this independent clause—will be neutered by an editor because both clauses are in the passive voice, as if the world will be a better place if every spoken and written sentence portrays the subject as the doer of the action. There is nothing worse, they say, than a long sentence written in the passive voice and interjected by an em dash. Unlike in general romance and romancing, the paradigm in formal writing is this: the shorter, the better.

Stated differently, less is more. Climb the heavens with just a ladder. Burrow through the earth using just a shovel. In between, you will find her. Fall in love a thousand times in seven years—with the same girl. Because to love her more is to love her less, you will have to lose her. Curiously enough, she will never be yours to begin with, which means you lost no one in particular but everything you thought you had in general.

Maybe John, Paul, Ringo and George were right: all we need is love. Maybe grammarians just need more of love and less of grammar. Or maybe they just need the touch of a warm body every once in a while, like a break from thinking too hard and feeling too little. Papers and words can be as cold as glacier and they will hardly comfort your skin when all you want is a hug to end your solitary evening. All the same, there are only so many words that one can edit. Unfortunately, there are not enough phrases and novels that will actually breathe love into the chambers of any lonely stranger's heart, and all that morning cheese for my daily bread.

This sentence should be wrong, this is a comma-splice. It happens when you force two independent clauses together with only a comma to separate one from the other. One way to salvage the sentence from its own demise is to wedge a coordinating conjunction between the comma and the subsequent clause. It is a nifty panacea. An "and" will do, as in he likes her, and she likes him as well. The trick is to remove any pretense of independence from the other, one that is feigned by deploying a mere symbol to create the illusion of a safe distance, as in She can live without him, and he seems to be satisfied with his life.

So there.


sub said...

kumulot bangs ko pagbabasa! haha

Diamond R said...

nice one. like it at the same time learning.

SPLICE said...

Bakit naman? :)

Diamond R
Thank you! :)