Write right

When I was in college, studying Journalism, I had a professor who demanded perfect grammar (AP style, if I remember correctly) in any correspondence you had with him. If you had a misspelled word or improper verb tense use, he’d simply email it back to you without a response and leave you to find the error before he’d answer your question. This could go on for multiple emails until you figured out your mistake!

I remember grumbling about that. What was the big deal, anyway?

Almost 10 years out of college, and I find myself becoming more and more like my professor every day.

Now, backtrack even further in life. I was perhaps 10 or 12 when a co-worker of my Mom’s presented me with this:

AB, CDEDBD Ducks?

MR Not Ducks

OSAR

CDEDBD Wings?

YIB! MR Ducks!

I was frustrated and annoyed by the puzzle in front of me. Oh, haha. See the itty bitty ducks. I get it.  Through the years, I’d get a kick out of word puzzles. I like to challenge my brain, and work at deciphering what is being “said.”

I do NOT like doing that kind of work to read a text or a tweet, and therein lies where I am more like my professor every day.

Last week, I received notification of a new Twitter follower. A reporter here in Nashville had started to follow my Twitter feed. I clicked to look at their feed, and I promptly broke out in hives. Figuratively speaking at least. I did weep some.

Every tweet was filled with things like, “Thank U.” or, “U R why we do our job.” “Going 2 B on at 6. Will U watch?”  (OKay, I am making up these tweets, but you get the idea.)  Needless to say, I did NOT follow back. I was tempted to direct message and tell this person they were an idiot. But I didn’t.

I have, though, been known to just flat out not respond to text messages filled with “R U” and “C U” or “U 2″ stuff. If it takes me five minutes to decipher a text, you’ve officially annoyed me and I’m going to ignore you.

Perhaps I should just start sending texts back to the sender until they figure out that taking the time to add a couple extra letters (or use predictive text!) will actually get me to respond to their question. Hmmm…

I happen to love the written word. The fact that I have a degree in a field that requires writing skills is something I am proud of having. I am protective of that written word. Today, though, respect for the written word is low. Our new ways of writing have bastardized it so badly that I am amazed by the lack of communication skills I see on social media sites. (And, yes, I am guilty of judging a person’s intelligence based on how they write. I admit it.)

someecards.com - Thanks to the teachers who instilled in me such a love of English that I'm perpetually mortified when reading the Internet.
So what can I do about it? Just keep refusing to fall into the trap, I guess, and hope that others who are determined to keep up the proper way of writing will outshine those who don’t.

Disclaimer: I understand Twitter has a character limit that forces such short hand in some cases. It’s when there are plenty of characters left and the “shorthand” is used that I get ticked.

  1. tim37215
    July 27th, 2012 at 06:45 | #1

    People in glass houses should not throw stones. The writer states, “A reporter here in Nashville had started to follow my Twitter feed. I clicked to look at their feed, and I promptly broke out in hives.” Check the pronoun “their.” Its antecendent is “a reporter.” The pronoun is plural while its antecedent is singular. Shame on you!

    Seriously, however, language users should recognize that language variation and language change are the only language constants. Otherwise, English speakers would still be speaking Anglo-Saxon, the germanic root of modern English.

    • July 27th, 2012 at 21:15 | #2

      their – adjective
      1 : relating to or belonging to certain people, animals, or things
      ▪ All the furniture in their house is brand-new. ▪ They are on friendly terms with their neighbors. ▪ The students are seeking to exercise their rights. ▪ The birds have left their nest. ▪ The trees have all shed their leaves. : made or done by certain people, animals, or things ▪ Their artwork is on display at the museum. ▪ They did their best. ▪ Their conversation went well. ▪ He was angry because of their arriving/being late.
      2 : his or her : his : her : its — used to refer to a single person whose sex is not known or specified ▪ Anyone in their right mind would find it unjust. ▪ Each person reacts to their environment differently.

  2. JoAnn Schoppe
    July 27th, 2012 at 13:08 | #3

    Thank you for saying what I’ve been saying and will continue to say. This is a very well written article and I applauded you in everyway. I can’t understand all the shorthand out there now and I like you don’t have time to figure out what is being said.

  3. Anne
    August 6th, 2012 at 00:13 | #4

    @tim37215 Oh, come on now. I’m an ELA teacher, and that possessive is used correctly. I don’t think Denise is saying to never change the written word. It’s just that so many people abuse the language rather than use the language, and it gets very frustrating.

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