Proper usage is always appropriate.
Yes it is. But you may not be using that phrase correctly.
In verbal communication, "proper usage" is defined as the way the educated members of a community talk. Putting aside any argument over how to define "educated," the key word there is "community." Thus, a New Yorker and somebody from Alabama might not understand each other, even though they are both speaking properly.
Or, to put a point on it, when one of my neighbors with a masters degree says, "I don't care to...." when he means the exact opposite, that is proper usage in this community, even though it would be ambiguous, at best, outside of Kentucky.
I'm not saying any of those things. I certainly do break the rules, most often in favor of convenience.
You're just proving my point---that people do not speak the way they write, and that the spoken word is more casual, and less constrained by formal rules. I would actually expand that to include writing on boards such as this, where few people actually pay attention to proper grammer, sentence structure, etc. In short, they write on message boards the way they talk. But I'd betcha the same person who comes across as semi-literate on a forum pays a lot more attention to those details when writing a report for work, or doing a homework assignment.
Thomas Jefferson was one of the worst public speakers in history because of that. He was such a perfectionist that he would be mentally editing and revising what he just said, which would cause him to stumble on the next statement, etc. But, when you can write the way he did, who cares how you talked. Compare, for instance:
"You been screwin' with us, and we ain't gonna take it no more," with the American Declaration of Independence. At base they both say exactly the same thing. But I'll take Jefferson's version. And, just to put a point on the written/verbal thing, I have no doubt that Sam Adams, when rabble rousing out in the streets, used some version of the first sentance.
Edited by KYHeirloomer - 10/26/10 at 5:54am