I’m going to say something.
I see gonna more and more in the written form and I’m surprised. I know language is a living thing, but does it have to be this alive?
Is Writing Gonna Okay?
I sort of expect gonna on social media but I saw it in the Globe and Mail, one of Canada’s two national newspapers. And it wasn’t a quote. It was just part of the text. Did it slip by the editors? Did the writer argue for it? Is it a legitimate thing?
I don’t need to tell you that the word gonna is a contracted form of going to. As in, I’m going to do this. There are lots and lots of contractions in the English language. The one I used in the first sentence of this paragraph is one – don’t. It’s a short version of do not (not shorter if writing). Today we only use do not when we want to be emphatic. Like the way Dr. Seuss does.
I guess I am shocked. I don’t actually say gonna. Just like I don’t say gimme, kinda, and wanna. I guess gonna is shortened from texting. That means you will soon be U. I can only hope I’ll be retired.
I can hear Mrs. Thompson, my grade three teacher, correcting the our enunciation – going to not gonna. We weren’t allowed treat the English language any way but her way. We couldn’t call ourselves kids. We were children. Kids were goats. Bobby or Billy or Archie (or maybe all of them) got seriously chastised in front of the class for using kids incorrectly. To think they were just going out to throw a baseball around with some other
Mrs. Thompson scared the shit out us. It was all a misuse of language to her. Today, she’d be the subject of laughter because her thumbs would get tangled up writing correct text messages. Imagine if she came upon gonna?
Would I be like Mrs. Thompson? Would I scratch red pencil all over a student’s paper because they wrote gonna? Or use the red mark-up tool in Word? Maybe I would.
But it wouldn’t make any difference. Gonna is out there. It’s with us like websites are with us. It’s just the way it is.
Calvin Trillin, the American non-fiction writer, says the only people who use whom are butlers. That’s because it’s old-fashioned (like going to is?). Also, he doesn’t know my sister. She uses whom, but then she comfortably inhabits the late 19th century with her speech. Mrs. Thompson always did like my sister best. Now I know why.
So, Is Writing Gonna Okay?
I’m going to complain about writing gonna even if nobody cares or listens. I’m going to be old-fashioned. I’m going to write like it’s the 20th century.