You Had Me At The Proper Use of “You’re”!

One of my pet peeves is poor grammar and spelling or more specifically substituting the English language for abbreviated text talk. I have frequently been astonished by the standard of homework that my nieces have submitted but even more stunned by the marks that they have received for said homework. Had I presented misspelled and grammatically incorrect essays like as not it would have earned me a visit to the Headmistress’s study for a spot of not so gentle one on one coaching with a ruler and someone who resembled the Dolores Umbridge character from Harry Potter.

When exactly did content become more important than learning key skills and technique? Surely it is these core skills that will provide the foundation for the standards that young people will use in their chosen career. Attention to detail is often one of the most important criteria for many job roles; so ask yourself would you want someone with scant regard for quality, managing your accounts or installing your electrical wiring.

Are we expecting too much when even the online version of our local newspaper is peppered with spelling mistakes; let’s be honest automatic spellcheck is not rocket science. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect a supposedly professional publication to be a champion of their nation’s language.

Maybe I’m placing too much emphasis on what is fast becoming an outdated notion so what do you think?

Starting next “A Bit of a Do” which will be the next episode of the Serial Shagger saga and how we did actually get to make it up the aisle …..

Dolores-Umbridge

51 thoughts on “You Had Me At The Proper Use of “You’re”!

  1. I agree that the schematics of English and grammar are unfortunately going out of style, but are as important, if not more, than content. You would think with all the technology at our disposal we would sound (or read) smarter than we do. My mind exploded when I had the same experience with my younger cousin, a few years ago.

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  2. Looking forward to the next episode for sure.
    I used to be pretty compulsive with what I wrote, but find my mind isn’t as sharp as it used to be. I can’t believe the typos I miss these days. Drives me crazy.

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  3. I quite agree. Though I find myself using text talk now in emails when working from my phone. I think you can tell a young person from an older person if they use one finger or two thumbs to text. Sue, I like your comment! Everything moves so fast now, and I don’t think companies are budgeting for proofreaders. The message goes out immediately. As to your series, I can’t wait for the next installment! Hope your parents are doing well. – Kaye

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    • I am still not a member of the two thumbs club and I also subscribe to the theory “live by the text, die by the text”. Mum’s improving daily, sadly Dad’s been told between 18mths to 2 years so just getting our heads ’round that at the mo

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  4. Wait am I reading that correctly? You and Serial Shagger got married?! Or is this prior to your actual wedding when you found out he was a two-timer? The wording confused me!

    Oh and I agree about proper spelling. Even though I grew up in the generation of LOL (my generation invented a lot of those abbreviations) and used to spend hours on MSN Messenger (now defunct) and AOL Instant Messenger (which I think about a total of 5 people still use) I try to make an effort to write properly. The other day I learned the word “feels” was a shortened word for “feelings.” Just stop, people. Please, stop.

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    • I would have to be heavily medicated to even contemplate marriage to SS! I detest the use of text talk, I appreciate it that you only have a few characters in texts & tweets but its when its carried over into other mediums that it makes me sigh

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  5. I am so with you on this. If I posted 2+2=5 on Facebook, people would be ALL over me to tell me I was wrong and/or dumb. However, it is common, even among adults who should know better, to routinely mix up “they’re, there, and their,” and many other homonyms, and if we mention it, they mock US for being “grammar nazis.” I do use text talk, but try to limit it to just that; texts, Facebook statuses, and maybe the comments sections of blogs.

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  6. When you are right, you’re right! Proper spelling rocks. But what I do use in abundance are the smileys and the acronyms LOL, ROFL, WTF etc. Maybe the teachers of today don’t know how to spell anymore, or maybe I’m just getting old 😉

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  7. Your post is on one of my favourite topics – education, in transition. We are seeing a shift in how we communicate through writing, as well as verbal and visual. I really appreciate Sir Ken Robinson’s take on creativity and nurturing hope and curiosity in discovery, no matter what age we find ourselves. As always, you bring out the best of conversations!! 🙂

    “One of the essential problems for education is that most countries subject their schools to the fast-food model of quality assurance when they should be adopting the Michelin model instead. The future for education is not in standardizing but in customizing; not in promoting groupthink and “deindividuation” but in cultivating the real depth and dynamism of human abilities of every sort.” Ken Robinson, The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything

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  8. You’re/your bugs me too, and it’s even more frustrating when I do it. My errors aren’t for lack of knowledge or texting (though I fall into the abbreviating text category too) but usually because my dang insane finger posse always outpaces my brain and half my contractions aren’t…contracted. :-/
    And while I usually do a pretty good read-through before I post to my blog, I don’t usually read my status updates or Twitter posts before hitting enter. Grrr. Those are always when my update is super popular and by the time I go back and re-read, 50 people have decided I’m an idiot. Hahaha.
    But I think I’ve gone the opposite way in middle age. I used to be much more strict on myself and what I read, and while I’m still upset when I screw up, I’m much more lenient with others. I think Facebook actually took me in the opposite direction, because I have a lot of friends in there who I went to school with in a very small town, who all had the same teachers I did, and who are surprisingly terrible at grammar. It made me realize just how much more influence my mother had on my English skills than my public education alone. My speech, writing and reading were constantly corrected and reinforced at home, whereas my friends’ parents didn’t themselves know enough to reinforce the public education.
    What really got to me was a recent post by a guy I graduated with who writes like a complete moron. Not only does he abbreviate to text-speak while posting in Facebook, but even his “longhand” has to be read with a relaxed brain, because it’s a hodgepodge of grammar, spelling, context and vocabulary atrocities, and each sentence seems to make no sense. It’s kind of like what I would expect if we had to read Picasso instead of view him.
    Anyway, he had a photo with a recent post of a zoo and it made me actually try to read what he was saying and it turns out he really had a lot of emotional depth and genuine intelligent understanding of his argument for the ethical treatment of animals, but it was lost in his inability to write.
    I don’t know if I have a point, because we each have those cringe-inducing grammatical items even if we try to overlook them. I just loved your post (as usual) and wanted to comment, and you know me and long-windedness.

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  9. I totally agree Dallas. It actually takes me longer than normal to read some FB posts, due to the spelling and grammar. In my mind, I have to add the commas, full stops etc. just to make sense of the piece. Even then, the meaning is often unclear and could be read and understand in more than one way! I hate when the number ‘4’ is used e.g. 4ever 😦

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  10. Sure content is important but I won’t read the content if it is nothing but spelling errors and text speak. To be honest, I don’t even understand most text language so it is just and exercise in futility for me. I know that on occasion I have a few typos but I do my best to catch them before publishing or sending or whatever.

    Can’t wait for the next installment!

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  11. Well i am going to put my bit in, while I agree grammar and spelling is essential to language, a comma or miss spelled word can change the whole meaning of a sentence but sometimes it can not be helped or should I say missed. I am a dyslexic and I write my own blogs and have been a PA, secretary and even went freelance as a PA. But as a child writing an essay was traumatic, I didn’t have spell check or anything like that it was all hand written. It wasn’t until I had a great English teacher Mr Lee, who didn’t really worry about grammar, he just wanted us to gain confidence in ourselves (by us I mean the bottom class in English) see our potential and then begin helping us from there. This man helped me get good grades and built my very nonexistent confidence in writing to a level to carry me through life. You can learn diligence and attention to detail through other ways. Some of the most brilliant minds the world has seen where dyslexic and if they had worried about spelling and grammar maybe we wouldnt have the technology, the science and knowledge we have now. Language is always changing and developing, from latin, to old English, to modern English and now it is developing again and it will continue to evlove. Good article and I am sure this discussion will go on for sometime. P.S your and you’re and two I muddle al the time x

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    • I completely sympathise with what you say but it’s the blatant obvious abbreviations that I struggle with not the least because I can’t understand them most of the time (must be getting old) and I can’t help but feel it’s more to do with laziness than effort. And couldn’t all school kids do with a Mr Lee?

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  12. My condition keeps me from writing properly. I try, but not even with the meds I get it right.
    That being said, I seriously can’t stand the whole “ttyl, bff, gtg…” on regular writing, I get on text because back in the old days without all those free text applications, 160 characters was the maximum you could write at one, you paid per text message sent. Nowadays, no excuses!
    Unless you have a condition like mine.

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  13. I know my blogging grammar is not perfect, but I do try. Like you, I am troubled by sloppy mistakes in established publications (even in blogs). Nice to see I’m not alone.

    When I was teaching post-retirement, I was astounded at both poor grammar and a complete lack of awareness about proper referencing. Did I really have to explain that a link to Wiki is not a proper reference for a post-graduate level scientific research paper?!? Most of all, I couldn’t help but wonder how they managed to miss these things during the first 16 years of education?? Frightening.

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  14. Oh I encounter this daily with my fashion students…Do not contribute to the theory that anyone who works in fashion is dumb, I warn them, Spellcheck is your friend. Very tedious. But we must not give up the good fight!

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    • I think whatever field you work in, making an effort to write well is just plain good manners but maybe that’s just old-fashioned thinking. I understand from the PA to the Dean at our local Uni that a business letter is no longer part of the curriculum in Business Studies – such a shame

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  15. I’m with you tink…bad gramer sux evn wrse thn bd speling. ya no? 😉
    Seriously, you are on the mark here…no excuse! Makes me worry even MORE than usual for the leadership from the next gen…not all there (ha…their) fault, but it has to start somewhere!

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  16. It really bugs me too and a lot of the time it’s just laziness. Writing properly takes more thought and time and doesn’t really fit with instant gratification. As for needing to pay attention on the job – so to speak (! – last week I had an electrician do some work. A young guy in his 20s, he spent half the time texting which was incredibly annoying but also didn’t do much to inspire confidence in his work. Neuroscience has shown us that multi-tasking actually shrinks parts of the brain – and it certainly stuffs up our concentration.

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  17. I definitely deserve the title of grammar police, and the fact that so-called professional publications treat our language so carelessly dismays me no end. Are we a dying breed? Will good grammar go the way of the dinosaurs. I cringe to think of it.

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  18. Bad grammar and spelling annoys me too but even worse are the people who type everything in capital letters peppered with LMOA<, ROTFL and with no full stops, commas, paragraphs or any form of punctuation. If you can't be bothered to write correctly I can't be bothered to read it.

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