Sink, Sank, Sunk

I am not the Grammar Police. I am not an expert in all things grammatical. What I am, is an English and Drama Major from a reputable University. I love words. I love the way they can paint a picture. I love their relationship with each other. I love when they are used well. And I hate it when they are perverted.

Just a heads up . . . I am going to have a little rant and I do not wish to offend anyone. If anybody wishes to move on, I promise not to talk about you behind your back. However . . . .

The boat is about to sink. The boat sank. The boat was sunk. That wasn’t too difficult. So why is it that too many newscasters are now saying ‘sunk’ when they mean ‘sank’? Aaaahhhh! It irks me. It truly irks me.

When I was growing up I was taught that they were three tenses: past, present and future. (Yes, I know, even that gets more complicated) Now anyone that comes to English as a second language realizes that it is not an easy one to learn. It contradicts itself, it misrepresents and it is basically confusing. I have always felt that the newscasters were the ones who should get it right. After all, they expect us to listen.

Now language is well and truly alive. It is in a constant state of evolution. And that is a good thing. I’m quite pleased I no longer have to say ‘thou’ and ‘thy’, ‘forsooth’, and ‘by your leave’. I even welcome some of the slang that has entered into the mainstream. English is definitely a colourful language. But, why oh why are you cutting out a tense?

I realize how difficult it is to actually speak correctly. You have to open your mouth to a certain diameter, your lips must be pursed in the appropriate shape and you must vibrate those vocal cords with control. And the control seems to be slipping.

“It seems another boat sunk off the coast of . . .” Me: It sank you idiot! It sank!   And that’s not the only case. It’s not just boats that can’t figure out when they’re entering the deep, dark depths. Drink, drank, drunk. Sing, sang, sung. Swim, swam, swum.

I know that the English language is changing. I can’t say I like all the changes but as usual I will adapt. But it’s really nice to every now and then have a little rant. Please don’t hate me as I sink slowly into the quagmire that is the English language. And I was born into it! Whew! Oh, and in the spirit of full disclosure: not all writers follow the rules exactly. They can’t, it can mess up the spirit of what they’re writing. I am guilty as charged.

22 thoughts on “  Sink, Sank, Sunk

  1. dweezer19

    Thank YOU! While I am (at least the princess) of typos, my grammar remains intact. Language has become lazy at best and devolving back into grunts and squeeks at worst. How about the insurance commercial where the young man wrecks the car and says, “I think that was a wise move on ‘your’ guys’ part”….Okay, maybe they were trying to portray real life, but my husband and I are constantly doing the ‘OMG 😲’over newscasting and written reports. It is as if these young reporters never got a Geography lesson or have never heard of some of the things there are reading from the teleprompter. Okay. My rant is over. 🙊

    Liked by 2 people

      1. dweezer19

        Oops. I misspelled ”squeaks’. 🙊🙈 Ha! How about ‘there, their and they’re’? Almost any possessive pronoun is now botched. I don’t think it is ludicrous to expect at least proper usage of our language. It is difficult enough for foreigners to learn this labyrinth of a language when things are spelled and used correctly!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Dan Antion

    I am going to send this to my wife, Pam. (See, I put that critical comma in there). I have a sinking feeling that I’m going to hear: “I love this woman” and “see, it isn’t just me!”

    Liked by 3 people

    1. quiall Post author

      hahaha Funny you should mention the comma . . . last week’s Sunday post had a line ” . . after we finished eating, my brother and sister . . “. I laughed when I first omitted the comma!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Mark Lanesbury

    Oh, another rant Pam…sunk to new depths I see 😀
    Oh ok…I’m guilty as charged. My vocabulary is a little ‘light’ in the wilderness. Mind you, if I follow my auto-correct I’m doomed forever 😀 😀

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Phil Taylor

    I’m all on board with you on this! It drives me barmy when professional broadcasters are too lazy to use the language appropriately. As writers however we do need a little creative leeway, as long as we get the punctuation right!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Oliana

    Bravo,Pam! The other day someone told me to learn an second (or other) language, read the newspaper. Hmmm I don’t think they will learn good grammar, however. Now when someone tells me they want to learn French, I suggest they listen to Radio Canada on the radio. Thank you for writing this rant, Pam!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. scifihammy

    I have the same kind of rant in my head every time I hear English abused. You’re quite right in that Newsreaders ought to be able to at least speak the language!
    And I do understand that English particularly is fluid and adaptable, but what annoys me is that many first language English speakers have no clue of any grammar rules.

    Liked by 1 person


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