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Thread: Today's poor grammar, spelling, and usage

  1. #1

    Default Today's poor grammar, spelling, and usage

    Hey all, as a writer, I've really been noticing how bad grammar, spelling, and usage are these days. Now, it's really hard to tell whether things are getting worse than when I was growing up. I tend to think that it is since grammar used to be taught to my parents' generation, but not really at all to my generation. However, that's no excuse

    So, I've started a series of blog posts on my blog (see below) that some people may find of interest or humour. I'll likely be posting on this at least a few times/week until I've gone through my long list of topics starting with my 2 biggest pet peeves

    Check it out and we can discuss the state of today's grammar, spelling, and usage :p
    Last edited by babymick21; 18-Oct-2009 at 14:54.

  2. #2

    Default Poor Spelling

    I agree 100%. I think most of the spelling issues are a result of texting. Kids text and use many short cuts, ttyl, g2g, idk, brb, etc. The list could go on and on and those short cuts tend to be used in regular emails. Well, I went to a catholic school and if spelling was crucial. Anyways, just thought I would throw my 2 cents into this conversation. Happy Friday

  3. #3

    Default



    Quote Originally Posted by AttendsBaby View Post
    I agree 100%. I think most of the spelling issues are a result of texting. Kids text and use many short cuts, ttyl, g2g, idk, brb, etc. The list could go on and on and those short cuts tend to be used in regular emails. Well, I went to a catholic school and if spelling was crucial. Anyways, just thought I would throw my 2 cents into this conversation. Happy Friday
    Actually, you're surprisingly wrong. There was a study recently published that got a bunch of press.

    The Effect of Text Messaging on Spelling - Growing Kids (UK)

    It might be that the causal chain goes in the opposite direction that you're thinking: spelling hasn't deteriorated because of the new texting language, but the development of the new language may have been influenced by poor spelling. I'm just speculating, though.

    Most of texting's purposeful misspellings don't seem to make their way into writing (I mark 1st and 2nd year papers). The sort of spelling errors that I come across are fairly predictable and almost systematic. However, there is definitely a noticeable difference when you see online forums and hand-written work: you see precisely how poor someone is at spelling. The online case is a little worse since there's a damned spellcheck built in!

  4. #4
    EmeraldsAndLime

    Default

    I think what you'll find is that people who speak English as a second language have a much better grasp of grammatical concepts than native speakers. Same for any language really. People who take up another language tend to speak the standardised version of it and thus have better knowledge of the tools and concepts that are employed and how they work. Ask someone in non-literature career path, they probably couldn't tell you what a pronoun is... and just then I had to look it up myself. Your native tongue is managed and exercised on a whim without a second thought ('though some people should hold their tongues more often and think before they speak ) and you become naturally accustomed to formulating appropriate language structure.

    Just to be harsh, I'd say the 'dumbing down' of English is a reflection of today's up and coming tech-centric generation and the convenience-oriented/time-restricted world we live in. If people no longer have to fully type "Talk to you later?" then they will, especially if it meant saving a text message from rolling over into a second. In that context it makes sense; if technology is limiting, then so will any subsequent constrainable items. However, that in itself becomes too mentally hard-wired and it spills out into emails, social networking sites, instant messaging and even speech. That's when I believe it goes from acceptable to ludicrous. Saying "lol" instead of laughing -even sarcastically- just makes you seem more withdrawn and antisocial.

  5. #5

    Default

    First, I agree that people who become fluent in English through ESL have a better grasp of the basic grammatical concepts of English. But, that's only because they are TAUGHT those concepts and native english speakers are not (in my experience). It surely isn't the case that grammar is no longer taught in our schools, but at least among my colleagues it was rare at best. Asking someone what a "past participle" is will elicit blank stares. (I can sense people googling this right now!)

    Second, again, I disagree that it is texting and instant messaging behind poor spelling/grammar. Evidence indicates that this is not the cause, but perhaps only a symptom. Then/than, you're/your, their/there/they're, it's/its, and all the other mistakes that I'll be blogging about first have nothing to do with texting/instant messaging. I don't see spelling mistakes where people can't spell the contents of lol/ttyl/bbl/omg, etc. These contractions contain SIMPLE words to spell. So, people ubiquitously using "stfu" doesn't diminish people's ability to spell "shut" "f*ck" and "up."

    Look, people's vocabulary has diminished noticeably. People know how to spell simple words (for the most part), but the grammar is often missing. I'm not writing about the "dumbing" down. I'm writing about the misuse of language. You can dumb down language and still be grammatically correct with proper usage...but even the dumbed down posting on internet forums displays terrible grammar/usage/spelling.

    Then/than, your/you're, their/there/they're errors are in nearly every thread!

  6. #6

    Default

    I see absolutely no problem. No generation has been smarter, more informed, more educated, and more intelligent than the teens growing up right now.

  7. #7

    Default

    I understood grammar really well as a kid, and I am still don't know any one of my peers who can use the semicolon correctly. I could never spell though, and I still can't. What I have noticed though is that some people use grammar incorrectly, yet it makes sense for the sentence flow. I'm taking Ethics, and we have to read a lot of published arguments. In these papers, there is poor grammar everywhere. Every other sentence is a run-on. But the flow is perfect, and that's really all that matters.

  8. #8

    Default



    Quote Originally Posted by link View Post
    I understood grammar really well as a kid, and I am still don't know any one of my peers who can use the semicolon correctly. I could never spell though, and I still can't. What I have noticed though is that some people use grammar incorrectly, yet it makes sense for the sentence flow. I'm taking Ethics, and we have to read a lot of published arguments. In these papers, there is poor grammar everywhere. Every other sentence is a run-on. But the flow is perfect, and that's really all that matters.
    Yeah, don't look to philosophers for great grammar (I am one, so I read a tonne of it). Most of them are much more concerned with content than style...but the thing is that those with good style and good content often stand out and are MUCH more successful for it. One huge error that philosophers use is subordinating too many clauses in one sentence (usually producing the run-on that you're speaking of). It is not uncommon for there to be 10 (TEN!) commas in a single sentence...and with more than one of these sentences in a single paragraph...it's just gross. So, I guess that I disagree that "sentence" flow is a good excuse for poor grammar. There are always ways to rewrite a sentence to be grammatically correct and have great flow (odds are that these sentences would be better if grammatically correct and re-arranged and/or trimmed).

  9. #9

    Default

    Well, a 10 clause sentence has to be pretty hard to write with flow, but other non-grammatically correct sentences do seem to flow better. I see what you're saying about how a sentence with proper grammar flows better, but sometimes it makes a lot more sense to just throw in an extra comma that shouldn't be there.

  10. #10

    Default

    L33t is a new language, or at least a dialect. I don't say it is "wrong" - it's where you use it. The way we speak in formal writing, face-to-face conversation, to small kids, and in text are all different.

    L33t has a throwaway quality to it, an implied temporariness that doesn't befit writing meant to be reread later, maybe much later, and by many people. Does L33t corrupt? Only if you let it. It isn't equipped or designed to be precise or have the depth of meaning of "proper" writing; words and phrases aren't meant to carry multiple shades of meaning, and the rhythm, even rhyme aren't all that important; it doesn't impart a person's style well as there is often a limited range of vocabulary to impart a particular thought. It does what it is designed/evolved for: saying simple things with few characters and without misunderstanding. (It doesn't lend itself so well for saying complex things with the same clarity.)

    Where discussion of more complex things is important, especially where clarity is important, and one wants to have things read widely and repeatedly, it is useful to have a grasp of how to say them. As to a general dumbing down of language... where this is so, I think it's caused by many factors, including the simple fact that a whole lot more communication is going on in the world and a huge amount of it is of a kind that doesn't demand or require high formal standards.

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