Posts Tagged "misuse of grammar"

Grammar-itis and Other Perils of Carelessness on Facebook

Anything on the internet lasts foreverDear Kid,

I need to borrow this space to yell at a parent. By “yell” I mean “send words of wisdom” and by “a parent” I mean (really and truly) someone you don’t know who I follow on FB for reasons I am beginning to question.

This particular parent posts a fairly even mix of business and personal/family updates on social media. As I may have mentioned two or three hundred zillion times, once it’s on the internet, it’s there forever. Like cockroaches and Twinkies. As I believe I also may have mentioned more than once, how you present yourself is how people will think of you. As I am mentioning now, this individual consistently creates posts and updates guaranteed to cause nausea in the ranks of English teachers across the nation.

Misspellings, missing grammar, and less than a passing nod to general rules of communication are guaranteed to dis-impress anyone reading (no matter how quickly she tries to skim your post).

Today, this particular parent was lamenting the first day of school for the first born and talking about the pride he (yes, it’s a he) felt. I wanted to scream “Bet your daughter will be more proud of you if you learn how to spell and perhaps even take a nanosecond to proof your writing before sending it out for the entire universe see.” I didn’t. Scream, I mean. Aren’t you proud of me?

Just to be clear, I understand people make mistakes in grammar and spelling. I understand that people are typing quickly on Facebook and all too often we hit send and then proofread rather than vice versa. But this is Extreme Grammar-itis. This is stuff to make educators wish for the ability to recall a high school diploma that was (obviously) handed out in error. From a guy who is trying to inspire people to follow him.

I can’t even give you an example because every time I try to copy and paste something my computer locks up in horror. And when I try to retype examples my fingers start laughing too hard to type. Didn’t know fingers could laugh, did you?

Speaking of hor-ren-dous grammar mistakes, way too many of my lovely resume clients are using the word ‘lead’ (as in the stuff in paint) where they clearly mean ‘led’ (as in the past tense of to lead). One even had the temerity to try to gently correct me after I’d fixed it for her.

I am not suggesting that Facebook is a place that should only accept the most formal of English. Nor am I talking about occasionally typing “nad” when you mean “and”. Or even about using “ur” for “your” when you’re in a rush (or not sure whether you mean your or you’re).

But I believe there ought to be a minimum standard as well as a general awareness of what it means when that red squiggly line shows up under a word.

Here’s to exceeding the minimum.

Love, Mom

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Better Then Than Now

Bang-head-against-wall-because-of-poor-grammar-then-versus-thanDear Kid,

I just read an email from a teacher at the High School that made my teeth hurt.

A teacher–did I mention that part, O Best Beloved?–a teacher, presumably college educated, someone trusted to educate our young people (most notably your sister at this point in time)–abusing the English language.

This teacher–still with me on the part about it being a TEACHER who we’re talking about?–substituted the word then for than.

Now before you say anything, let me point out that this is not the first time this particular teacher has made this particular mistake, so there is no excusing it by saying that she just “oopsed” as she was typing too quickly. Let me also point out that even if that were the case, she was communicating to students and parents and should proofread her work (as she no doubt expects her students to do).

Dear World: then and than are no more interchangeable than men and man, pen and pan, ten and tan, or shredded wheat and corn flakes (I haven’t had breakfast yet).

Is it wrong of me to expect that people responsible for education should be able to model decent grammar?

Apparently, I do not have the authority to make the teacher in question write a paper about the correct use of the word ‘then.’ Nor do I have the right to try to get her to pronounce the word accurately (which would help with her spelling).

Wonder if she reads this blog? Or if I can anonymously send her the link to this post?

Better to have a great day than a lousy one. But if you have a bad day, then I hope tomorrow is better.

Love, Mom

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