Proper English.


May we talk for a minute?  About grammar, and its complete lack of use?  How frustrating it is to read things online only to trip over misspellings and punctuation marks used in the wrong place (or not at all).  It drives me crazy.

*When I was in college, one of the requirements to continue in the elementary education program from junior to senior year, when student teaching would be done, was to pass the first part of the state teacher test, which was a reading and writing fluency test.  One girl in my class didn't pass.  Twice.  And she was really, really mad that the school wouldn't let her continue on.  I mean, who needs to be able to read and write to teach?  (P.S. One portion required you to copy a paragraph verbatim.)

*The other day I stumbled upon a typography art print on Etsy- I'm not even sure how I found it now- and one of the words was spelled wrong.  Or rather, the person had used the wrong version of two words that sound the same, like "there" and "their".  And as I'm bringing my hand up to smack myself in the forehead, I read the listing and it says something along the lines of, "It has been brought to my attention that this word is misspelled, so if you'd like it with the correct word, just put that in the Notes to Seller."  You can order it right or wrong!  How wonderful!

*I found this on Pinterest, and I relate to this so much.

 via

Actually, I relate to a lot of those.  I guess I am a nerd.  But really, I read my posts three or four (or more) times before I publish them because I want to make sure it's correct.  Occasionally I miss something though, and I catch it later, and I cringe, wondering how many people saw it.

*Not exactly grammar related, but it bothers me when people make fun of people with accents, especially thick accents.  Just because you can't understand them does not make them stupid.

*Let's talk about how English gets warped, and it becomes okay to use words like "cray".  Really?  It's only saving you one letter.  Do you really want to rid yourself of all writing and speaking respect by using that word?  I have unfollowed bloggers for this.  I actually searched Pinterest to see if maybe I could find a graphic to illustrate my point, and I found no less than 1000 or so hits with the caption "cray".  This also goes for "girl," as in "Oh, girl, you know what I'm saying."  Unless you are Ryan Gosling telling me it's okay that I bought more fabric, I think we should also let this one pass on.


Really, all this is to say is that I think that good grammar is really important, and everyone should use it.  It makes a person and a society look intelligent, and how bad can that be?


*Also, I want one of everything in this shop.  So, so, so clever.

23 comments

  1. I love this post! And I can relate on so many levels!

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  2. Oh my god, making fun of people with accents. I think that's one of the rudest things ever, because the speaker is obviously smart enough to become fluent in a second language.

    Also, that shop is fantastic.

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    1. one of my co-workers is from Taiwan but has been in the US since before I was born. His English is probably better than mine but he has a slight accent and he'll sometimes get people that say 'I want someone that speaks English' when customers call in. It is so rude that I really want to grab their throats through the phone and squeeze.

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    2. Yes. And when I said that, I also was thinking about other US accents. People from the South are not hicks just because their accent is different from yours. That fries me!

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  3. I only just found your blog this weekend and I'm so glad I did as this post is so wonderful! When I was at school grammar wasn't taught very well at all. But I am a language geek (studied German and Russian at uni and learnt French, Latin, a bit of Italian and a tiny bit of Chinese at school), so I too get so very frustrated when something is so obviously wrong. It is like a jarring sensation through the mind when I read something that has no regard for grammar. That being said, as I now blog quickly around Oscar's naps and often comment on my phone, I make huge typos that make me cringe so much whenever I see them!

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    1. I think you hit on a good point- everyone is so much in a rush to be heard, to put their thoughts out there quickly instead of taking their time- that that can lead to extra errors. I know that when I do something hastily I'm more likely to mess up, and writing is definitely a process that should be done slowly!

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  4. Spot on, Nerd Girl! I think I have a sixth sense for grammatical errors and misspellings. I seem to find them everywhere. It's so nice to see others who still care about the English language.

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    1. I'm glad others do too! So how do we reverse it and get more people on our side? LOL!

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  5. haha.. wow..so the 'anonymous' spam comment is hilarious. How appropriate. I really have troubles on Facebook and I have even blocked some people because they use poor grammar in their status updates.

    I think there is a larger issue at hand with poor grammar. I really feel it will or it has created a divide among people. People for some reason like to remain stupid and if you correct them then you are being 'snobby' and 'elitist'.

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    1. Yes, thanks to the spammer for proving my point. :)

      I think you're right about the division. Why am I a snob because I speak properly and want you to do so too? Don't you want to make yourself sound better? When we start accepting (not excepting) bad grammar as the norm then we're sunk.

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  6. This is exactly why I hate texting! I use punctuation in my texts, so it takes me forever to text someone. But I just can't get myself to text like normal people.
    We got a wedding invitation that said "Your Invited" and I cringed the minute I read it!
    Don't get me wrong, I know there are errors in my posts, but I try my best and would never sell something that had a grammatical error like that poster you mentioned!

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    1. I can't stand texting or tweeting improperly. I just can't do it! I was always taught one space after a comma, two after a period. And to save characters on tweets, I have lapsed into doing on space, and I hate it!

      I agree, I know I make errors, too, but I hope they are few and far between, and I figure at least I care about it, which I figure is half the battle!

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  7. Yes, all of this. A thousand times this. I especially love that Grammatical Art shop - thanks for sharing it!

    I will say that I think knowing the rules and purposefully breaking them is something else. For example, I use sentence fragments all the time. I know they aren't proper sentences, but I think they have their place in certain styles and kinds of writing.

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    1. I want one of everything in that shop. It is seriously too witty for its own good. And I totally agree with you on the fragment bit/intentional wrong use. It can have a great effect when that's what you're going for (and you know what you're doing).

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  8. May we talk about this some more? Yes we may. I come from a writer parent and a writer I am not, but I do consider myself a grammar snob...oops, I mean a smart person. I too occasionally make mistakes and my dad will immediately email me to point out my mistake. Then I hang my head in shame and get to the computer as quickly as possible. I seriously do not understand why your/you're, their/there/they're, its/it's, our/are are so hard to differentiate. I don't expect everyone to be master etymologists, but I'm assuming if you have a blog that you at least made it through middle school so you should know better. I was also reading an article on Forbes the other day about the Google Reader demise and the author - FOR FORBES MAGAZINE - used the phrase "For all intensive purposes." He was called out repeatedly and quickly changed it. But seriously, how does that happen?

    Other peeves of mine: Don't use the word y'all if you can't spell it. Don't use the word "anyways" because it isn't a word. And please don't use the phrase "Alls you have to do." ALLS? Plural?!?!

    * Also, can you please email me the etsy listing? I have to see it with my own eyes!

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  9. This post made my day. As a freelance writer, I find it extremely sad that clients frequently comment on the fact that I have strong grammar skills. Seriously? I cringe thinking about all of the horrible grammar mistakes that they have to deal with every day. Grammar skills should be one of the most basic components of the job!

    I will unfollow blogs or click away from articles and other posts because of grammatical mistakes. I understand that little mistakes slip through, even for the best of us, but there are inexcusable errors.

    Also, I went through those teacher tests during undergrad and couldn't believe that multiple classmates did not pass them, even on multiple tries.

    I'm off to check out some of your links. Thanks again!

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    1. I'm glad you liked it! Yes, I agree- one thing here or there is no big deal, but repeated errors just hurt my head. I really am surprised, though, that in the writing field that there would be such a lack of good grammar. Isn't that half of the job?

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  10. Yes! This post is amazing! I know that I don't always use proper grammar as part of my writing style. I like short succinct sentences sometimes, and the way to get that effect is by breaking things up. However, that's about as far as I'll take things. I can't stand the "cray" fad. "Totes" is another one. Umm, you mean as in a tote that you are carrying things? Bwahahahahaha!

    Anyway, I had to say that this post is brilliant. :)

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    1. Thank you for saying "totes" because that was one I was thinking of and just could not come up with it. That one also drives me crazy. And yes, just like Amanda said, when you are doing things on purpose to make a point, it's totally different than just not knowing what you're doing.

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  11. Love this post Kristen,
    I too openly admit I am a grammar snob and I get very frustrated when the nursery my sons attend send home reports with spelling mistakes or incorrect usage of their and they're and there, it makes my blood boil as they are supposed to be teaching my boys!

    There is a big trend in the UK at the moment to shorten words like 'Well Jealous' becomes 'Welljell'. Both versions make me cringe as neither are correct!

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    1. LOL Sarah, I had to look that one up! (For anyone else reading and curious: http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Well%20Jel)

      I have definitely encountered teachers that have spelling and grammar difficulties, and it does get passed on to the students. I can imagine it would be incredibly frustrating to be a mom and having to deal with that!

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  12. I understand what you are saying when someone says "cray" and it drives you crazy, but it's not a mark of stupidity or ignorance. A lot of people very knowingly use those types of words- it's a type of slang and a way to identify yourself. Also, language is always evolving so if a new word is formed, for example cray is formed from crazy, it doesn't mean it shouldn't be used. Think about how many of the words we use now were evolved from others words, or how many shortened words used to be long words. Does it bother you when people say Vegas instead of Las Vegas? That's dropping a syllable just like crazy to cray is. I totally agree with you on the incorrect grammar thing- that drives me absolutely insane, but I think there should be some leeway on language evolving.

    Also, I hope you don't think I am attacking you at all. I adore English and words and reading. I'm kind of obsessed. So I love comments on this and this post made me really think which in my eyes makes for a great post. Thanks for the mind stimulation!

    Bonnie
    thelifeofbon.com

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    1. I don't think the people are stupid, as in they don't know what they're saying, but I guess I mean that to me, it makes them sound silly or immature, like something a middle- or high-schooler might say. "Totes" like Heidi suggested is another one. I get the Valley Girl voice in my head, and it makes me think of a teenager. I agree about the evolution of language and words and I think it's great that every year new words are added both to the dictionary and to everyday language. But maybe there is a time and a place for certain words, like when you're presenting yourself publicly.

      Thanks for the input!

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