Saturday, February 9, 2008

The Lost Arts of Spelling & Grammar

Recently I've been noticing errors in spelling and grammar popping up everywhere. Now I know that I'm not perfect in these areas (punctuation has always given me an especially hard time), but I keep noticing these things.

I see them all the time at work. Sometimes from co-workers, many times from clients or other companies we are working with. It seems like people just don't look at what they write anymore, let alone toss it to a spell checker.

A bumper sticker on my co-worker's car stood out to me the other day, its poor grammar diverting my attention enough to ruin the joke. "Caution: I drive as bad as you," it said. And all I could think about was, "Shouldn't that be 'as badly as you'?"

Another example comes from some local signage. I have seen this same message at both at the local IHOP and rec center. It reads, "Open door slow." At the IHOP, somebody had tried to add the requisite "ly" to the end. I imagine this must have been done by some kind of traveling monk who had been carefully trained in the old ways.

Your and you're; its and it's; there, their, and they're -- how is it that these words are so confusing as to lead everyone and their canine to get it wrong?

Is it really that hard to do things right? Is English grammar just that difficult? Or maybe no one cares? It's just hard for me to take something seriously when it's written so terribly. I see this on the Internet all the time. People write their opinion on some topic or another, but all their points are immediately diffused when I see such travesties as "omg ur so dumb. lol." But the Internet has a lot of issues when it comes to language, authorship, and editing. So I'll save that discussion for a later post.

Now, on occasion, I find it humorous to sarcastically pervert the English language. But I worry that sometimes I step out of the realm of satire and enter the desert of lazy incompetence. You must first know the rules and adhere to them in order to know when to break them for dramatic emphasis.

I just find the whole situation appalling and sad. I'm afraid that the future holds a post-apocalyptic wasteland -- linguistically speaking.