January 14, 2018

Is it tenkara or Tenkara? - and other grammar crimes that drive me NUTS!

Image result for grammar crimes
A fun book. It can be procured here.

I'm not an English major, and I'm really not a grammar snob, but I do have a couple of grammatical pet peeves that I see frequently in our tenkara forums. We seem to live in a world of 140 characters, textspeak, and language shortcuts. Sure, they may have their place in certain restricting situations, but I for one (as one trying to use the education he payed for) have tried to stick with grammatical conventions and avoid so called "word crimes." I'm definitely not perfect, but, as they say, "I tries." Here are a few crimes that I see all the time:

One is the increasingly common use of than for then and visa versa. Uh, hello, they are not interchangeable! Each word has it's own specific use. Maybe autocorrect is to blame and makes the error more than people do, but it's still a crime.

Number two is misplaced commas (or no commas at all). This one is very common. Yet without properly used commas the grammatical world would be a dangerous and confusing place!

But for our purposes, as when communicating on tenkara forums, let's talk about capitalization of words. I see tenkara often (and I mean very often) written as Tenkara. What? Why is it capitalized? Who's Tenkara? Are we talking about Bob Tenkara or a relative of his? Remember your 5th grade grammar class. Capitalize words when they start a sentence, or are names of people, specific places, and things. Yes, tenkara is a thing, but it's not that kind of a thing (such as the Brooklyn Bridge). It doesn't make you a better tenkara angler if you capitalize tenkara, it only shows that you just might be qualified to be President of the United States (or at least have the same command of the English language as the current one). So, use the small T when spelling tenkara. It doesn't demean the sport!

Yeah, yeah, I know. What does this post have to do with tenkara? Well, nothing. I just had to air some frustration. So thanks for bearing with me. Oh, and one other thing you may have noticed, I do love a well-placed Oxford comma. Maybe it's because my DNA shows I'm 65% English!

"Weird Al" Yankovic - Word Crimes.mp4 from Christopher Reed on Vimeo.


  1. Glad to hear we're on the same team here. I try my best to use lower case "tenkara" when I write, although my auto-correct on my phone likes it capitalized for some reason... Also a fan of that Oxford comma. Right on!

    1. My phone does the same thing! It insists that it be Tenkara.

  2. Let's eat Grandma! Oh, no wait that's not right. Let's eat, Grandma! Punctuation saves lives.

  3. This is absolutely beautiful! Well said, Tom.


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