Category Archives: Stylistic Issues

Epic Grammar Feud

Wow.  I just discovered an intense feud over grammar between members of the “Good Grammar Is Hot” group on Facebook.

It started with the posting of this picture:

As you can guess, it got a lot of jeers from the members of the group.

Well, it didn’t end there.

Davin joined the conversation.  You can read the whole thing here if you’re on Facebook, but if you’re not, here are some of the highlights:

From Davin:

just because i dont feel as if i need to use perfect grammar in a facebook status u people decide to roast me wow you guys seriously are a bunch of uptight fags but if it makes u feel any better imma english major with perfect grades i just chose to perfect english for class and would rather use slang and or inappropriate use of terms for more social occasions like facebook oh yeah Imma so stab you in your fucking face with a spork for posting this shit u know that right and yes bitches i used u instead of you so bite me on my caramel colored ass

From Luke:

Is there such a thing as a descriptionary? If so I would very much like to get my hands on one, if not it’s a fantastic idea that someone should make millions out of it and give me a copy for my birthday :)

A few quick notes for the angry Davin:

1) The only difference between American English and British English is a few spelling differences, the grammatical structures are identical, otherwise they’d be different languages rather than dialects. The reason we internationals perceive you as speaking (or typing in this case) incorrectly is because you are.

2) Confusing “there’s” for “theirs” and other similar errors are not “slang” as you called it. Colloquialisms are quite different to spelling errors, although one could argue that spellings like “ur” for “you’re” could be counted as textual slang.

3) Gay (or fag in this case) is not a synonym for stupid (or any other derogative term).

4) I get laid regularly, and I still think you’re a dick.

From Davin:

Honestly, thats not my real communication mode i just conform to fit the needs of my surroundings. if im in school or with my friends then i talk like that status. If im in a interview or need to get something done to my liking then i take another tone that many people arent familiar with i just dont see the need to spell out you on facebook when many people if not everyone understands that u is the same thing as you and the people that dont understand that seriously need to get a social life and stop having theirs revolve around people choosing to use slang instead of correct english cause well if u realise that to the english almost all american english is slang

But I think it was David who had the most interesting statement:

My suggestion would be to find a major you really LIKE. It’s inconceivable to me that anyone who really loves English could ever bring himself to write like this, in a social occasion or otherwise, just as I can’t imagine a philosophy major ignoring a specious argument just because he’s at a party or a math major pretending not to notice a mistake on a restaurant check just because he’s out to dinner with friends.

Personally, I don’t believe that Davin is an English major.

If he is, though, then I can’t believe that Davin is an English major, yet takes pride in the fact that he writes so badly.  WHY would anyone DO THAT?

You know me — you know that this blog is about going after the people who make errors in professional writing.  But I thought that this was worth posting.

What do you think?

SMS/Texting Habits and Grammar

I recently found a piece online about children’s spelling and SMS in anglophone India:

“We have learnt to accept the fact that kids will remain hooked on the mobile phone, of which SMS-ing is an integral part. We are devising ways to help them strike a balance between the formal language that they are expected to write in their answer scripts and the SMS language,” said T H Ireland, principal, St James School.

We’ve talked about SMS and texting here on a few previous occasions. This is something new, though.

Before I got my iPhone, I made an effort to have correct spelling and grammar in my text messages. The iPhone makes that even easier, just as it makes everything in your life easier.

But I’ve developed a bit of a bad habit. The iPhone corrects your spelling, especially when contractions are involved, so I now type “dont” and “im” and “thats” with the knowledge that it will turn into “don’t” “I’m” or “that’s” as I type it.

This hasn’t quite affected my life away from my iPhone (which pretty much consists of my sleeping hours ;-)).  Then again, the readers of this blog and I tend to be an exception to the rule and not the norm.

I know a lot of you are teachers, and plenty more of you have elementary school-aged kids.  Have you seen “SMSese” and text-speak affecting kids’ writing?

The Ten Most Annoying Phrases in the English Language

Compiled by Oxford researchers:

1 – At the end of the day
2 – Fairly unique
3 – I personally
4 – At this moment in time
5 – With all due respect
6 – Absolutely
7 – It’s a nightmare
8 – Shouldn’t of
9 – 24/7
10 – It’s not rocket science

Personally, I’d probably add “ironic” and “ironically” because most of the time they’re used wrong!

Online Dating and Bad Grammar

I know that this entry is probably going to piss a lot of you off, but I’m going to be honest.  And I think it’s relevant.

I’m a member of an online dating site.  (One reader of this blog actually found me on there!)  Personally, I don’t think I’ll have time to go on another date until well after the election, but I keep my profile on there, just in case.

I received an odd message from a guy today.  Here are a few excerpts:

“your in my [list of matches] and what not, I feel somewhat compelled to “accept” you rather then reject you like the previous 15.”

“Anyway, if you like to “drop it like its hot” or “get low” then your in luck cause i do 2 and so far no one has been able to drop it lower then me (Shorty gets quite low)”

“have a good night
oh and if i didn’t mention it, i think your hot

[Name]”

Now –

I’m not going to reject a potential suitor based on poor grammar and/or spelling alone.

I’ve dated my fair share of guys who couldn’t write anything to save their lives.  And some of those relationships were the most significant relationships of my life so far.

But on an online dating site, when a message to somebody serves as the best way to make a good first impression, why would a guy write so badly?

Would you have bad grammar and spelling in a cover letter?  In a resume? Then why would you on a dating site?

I think that a message so full of errors — written by a college graduate (so his profile claims) — shows that he doesn’t care about making a good first impression.  He doesn’t care about taking the time to write “you’re” instead of “your,” among other things.  Come on.  That is the MINIMUM.  Everyone knows the difference.

I wouldn’t have gone out with this guy anyway — he’s not my type.  But this email more than sealed the deal.

I replied to him:

Hi, [Name] –

Thanks for the message.  I don’t think that we would be a good match, but you deserve a reply, and I wish you the best of luck!

Kate

Unleash your fury.  Call me a snob or an asshole.  I don’t care.  But do any of you feel this way?

Thoughts on “Lam”

I recently downloaded a great new iPhone application — Word Warp.  (AND it’s free!)  It’s a game that gives you six letters and you try to find as many words as possible.  I now play it whenever I’m on the T.

The other day, “LAM” came up as one of my words.  And that got me thinking.

Do you ever use the word “lam” without the words “on the” preceding it?

I couldn’t think of any instance.  Neither could my sister and her friend.

It’s something to think about…

Please tell me this is some kind of sick joke.

I’ve become a big fan of the Bumper Sticker application on Facebook.  With this application, you can send “stickers” to your friends, and they end up displayed on their profiles.  (And thanks to those of you who have already sent me grammar-oriented stickers!)

Of course, since most of them are homemade, they’re often filled with errors.  I’ve come to expect that.

And then I saw this one:

Oh, sweet Jesus.

Are we serious here?  Are we really, truly serious?

Or is this some kind of elaborate joke?  Is the joke that there are so many errors in it, on purpose, that this is the ultimate “gotcha” by the creator?

If it were a joke to those of us in the know, then I would gladly add this sticker to my profile.

For now, though, it’s staying far, far away.

Tell me — do you think that this was done on purpose to joke about people with bad spelling and grammar?

Or do you think that the creator was serious and just made the mistakes without thinking?

I can’t even tell!

The Worst Text Message of All Time

Last November, we had a discussion on text messaging and how grammar plays into what you do.  Everyone seems to have a decisive opinion on just how much of a role grammar should play in texting.

For me, personally, I try to be as correct as possible, including capitalization, but I’ll occasionally use an abbreviation like BRB or LOL, and I hate to say this, but when I want to appear “breezy” (as in when I’m talking to a guy I like or something equally pathetic), I’ll leave punctuation off the end.

While I was in Vegas, I twittered everything I did, and since I didn’t have computer access, I did it by texting.

On Sunday night, I sent the worst text message of all time.  It had been a long and crazy night, seeing Cirque du Soleil’s The Beatles LOVE, dinner at the Grand Lux at the Venetian, checking out the Palazzo and the Wynn, dancing at Tryst at the Wynn, going to the after-hours club Drai’s at Bill’s Gamblin’ Hall, and then walking all the way back to T.I., where we stayed, and playing blackjack unil 7:30 AM.

I can’t believe I actually wrote this message.

Here it is, and I am not exaggerating it in any way:

Wait — oh, no!  It deleted a lot of my old ones.  Anyway, the tweets were along the lines of TRYST IS THE BEST MOTHERF—— CLUB TO WHICH I HAVE EVER BEEN, MOTHAF—-!, perfect in their grammar (if using a slang form of spelling!), and then I texted this gem at 4:32 AM:

At local after club Drai’s and nmt paying for a cent because i am the motherfucking afterrclub of vegas

And then this beauty at 5:37 AM:

Dudd. we are sthll up and it is f——  awake.  me officially have left the aeater party at the ip.

I still can’t believe I considered that to be verbally coherent.  We have reached a new low.  There is literally nowhere lower to go.

Also — I would like to wish a very happy birthday to faithful reader furrperson.  I hope your day is fantastic!