Home > Uncategorized > The Poor Grammar Epidemic, or Stop Making Us Look Stupid

The Poor Grammar Epidemic, or Stop Making Us Look Stupid

I have accepted the their/there/they’re confusion.  I’ve endured the effect/affect question.  I’ve suffered through two/too/to and more its/it’s issues than anyone should ever be exposed to.  Now I draw the line.  The straw has broken the damn camel’s back.  The lose/loose debate has reared its ugly head and, friends, this aggression shall not stand.

I don’t know how these things start, but I suspect that a couple dummies somewhere started using words wrong and making all their friends believe that they were right.  Suddenly, otherwise intelligent English-speaking people all over the world have started talking about loosing their car keys or loosing weight.  For Christ’s sake, this incoherent nonsense needs to end now.  These words are not interchangeable.  Definitions are not debatable.  Knowing how to speak your own language properly is not freaking optional.

via calguns.net

As defined by Dictionary.com, which by the way, is free, available to everyone and even has an app for your smartphone:

LOSE
verb
1.to come to be without (something in one’s possession or care), through accident, theft, etc., so that there is little or no prospect of recovery: I’m sure I’ve merely misplaced my hat, not lost it.
2.to fail inadvertently to retain (something) in such a way that it cannot be immediately recovered: I just lost a dime under this sofa.
3.to suffer the deprivation of: to lose one’s job; to lose one’s life.
4.to be bereaved of by death: to lose a sister.
5.to fail to keep, preserve, or maintain: to lose one’s balance; to lose one’s figure.
 
 
LOOSE
adjective
1.free or released from fastening or attachment: a loose end.
2.free from anything that binds or restrains; unfettered: loose cats prowling around in alleyways at night.
3.uncombined, as a chemical element.
4.not bound together: to wear one’s hair loose.
5.not put up in a package or other container: loose mushrooms.
 
Now that we have (hopefully) cleared that up, I have a few more things to say on the subject.  There are certainly some complex grammatical issues that people wrestle with.  Like, for example, not ending a sentence with a preposition.  I don’t need everyone in the world to be an English professor or a professional writer.  However, I don’t think it’s too much to ask that we be able to properly use words.  If you can’t manage to send a text or a tweet without effing up the English language, then perhaps you need a refresher course.  Or just talk out loud, since one can’t generally hear these kinds of atrocities.  I swear to God,  you’re making the rest of us just look stupid.  Do other countries have this problem?  Is there a French blogger out there somewhere bitching about people misusing “la” and “le”?  Or is there actually a culture out there somewhere who learns things as children and retains that information and cares enough to use it properly?
 
I’ll tell you what I think. (You didn’t think I’d be shy about it, did you?)  I think we’re just lazy.  Spellcheck will never catch your misused “there.”  Grammar check is a nice idea, but it gets it wrong often enough to be deemed unreliable.  Stop counting on your spellcheck and your autocorrect to fix it for you, because it won’t.  As a matter of fact, if you’re relying on autocorrect, you probably just deserve what you get, since my phone has recently decided that the word “somewhere” should be “Zimbabwe”.  Every time.  But I’m digressing again.  All I’m saying is that we should try a little harder.  We should care more.  If you don’t have enough pride in your language, then at least have the decency to try to avoid giving people like me a grammar-induced stroke.   Now repeat after me.
 
You cannot loose keys.  Irregardless is not a word.  Ain’t is to be used ironically, if at all.  However and how ever are two different things.  Just because words sound the same, does not mean you can use them interchangeably.  If you’re not sure of the meaning, look it up.  If you’re still not sure, use a different word.  The rules of language are not negotiable.  Use it properly go somewhere else and butcher their language.
 
That is all.
 
note:  I am certain that I’ll have a typo or a grammatical error in here, because that’s how life is.  When you find it, please be aware that it’s a MISTAKE, not something that I did on purpose.  Except for the sentence fragments.  I always do those on purpose.  I’m probably giving someone a grammatical stroke, but they can bitch about it on their blog.
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  1. crabbymommy
    June 10, 2012 at 2:18 am

    I cannot tell you how happy this post makes me. My mother (and several aunts) are English teachers. I grew up being rapped on the knuckles for saying “can I”, instead of “may I?” – “you can, but you may not” my mother would say, much to my consternation. But, guess what? I say these exact words to my kids now! (I begin this sentence with a “but”, not something my mum would be proud of!)

    Now that you bring up the issue of grammar, what about punctuation? Aaagghh – that drives me nuts. I know well educated people who cannot get the use of an apostrophe right. “It’s” is the most common one that they get wrong. It’s not that hard (see?). There’s this book which I am sure you’d love to read, if you haven’t already. It’s called ‘Eats, Shoots and Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation’. It’s an incredibly funny book written by a lady called Lynne Truss (if you like British humor, you’ll love this). Wit apart, it tells you all about how the best and most educated of people get the most common punctuation wrong. She’s a purist, of course, and once stood outside a movie hall that was screening the film ‘Two Weeks Notice’ with an apostrophe over s to correct that to weeks’ . They got that title wrong!

    It was a delight to read your post this week. It was a good start to my day. Thanks for this.

    • June 10, 2012 at 7:29 am

      Oh, apostrophes! That drives me nuts, too. At some point, people seem to have just decided that these things aren’t important. And, yes, I often tend to start sentences with and or but (see this sentence). I know that’s wrong, wrong, but I can’t seem to stop myself.
      Thank you for the comment, it’s great to talk to another member of the grammar police!

  2. June 10, 2012 at 9:49 am

    THAT was funny! I use words, they do not use me! (my battle cry)
    I had not even thought about the word A’int for ages. Luckily my UK kids will never learn that one. Luckily, they know Mangina, thanks to Ke$ha.

    • June 10, 2012 at 10:06 pm

      Gotta love it…can’t wait until we see mangina in the dictionary! (right beside irregardless)

  3. June 10, 2012 at 2:30 pm

    The worst offenders are often the paid professionals who write for so-called media companies like Yahoo. Those people don’t even bother with spell-check. Anything goes in the online world nowadays. There’s simply no professional pride in writing a sentence free of errors that ought to embarrass writers and their employers. As for sentence fragments. I love ’em.

    • June 10, 2012 at 10:09 pm

      You are so right. I sometimes entertain myself hunting typos & mistakes. Glad to hear I’m not alone on the fragment loving bus. 🙂

  4. June 10, 2012 at 3:45 pm

    ‘Eats, Shoots and Leaves…’ is a good book. I read it many years ago. I think I was in school getting my English degree and working in the library at RCC.

    • June 10, 2012 at 10:10 pm

      I keep hearing about it, I’ll have to check it out.

  5. June 11, 2012 at 5:43 pm

    That’s just funny …. I read something yesterday on a business’ blog where I was looking for some research. The writer wrote THERE when she was trying to use the possessive (look at me, big grammar word!) and I just clicked off the page. I was thinking, if she doesn’t know the difference between there and their, how can I be sure her research info is correct?

    • June 11, 2012 at 7:06 pm

      Exactly! Instant loss of credibility. Loving your big grammar words, too.

  1. July 15, 2012 at 1:57 pm

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