13 August 2007

Clearly, this has gone too far...

I wonder how all this LOLthings business works out for people for whom English is not a native language? Granted, it started out by making fun of poor translations. But will this impact English grammar for a certain segment of the population? Or does the affected segment not care about their grammar anyway? I cringe at the number of mistakes I see almost daily--things which ought to have been sorted out in *ahem* grammar school. Isn't grammar the first thing you learn in a language? I understand that everybody makes mistakes. Nevertheless, everyone should have a basic grasp of their language's grammar and spelling (I wonder if European countries have the same problems, or whether it's just a combination of the subpar American education system and the relative flexibility of the English language). For no reason other than I can, here are my top grammar pet peeves:
  1. Loose, lose. The first is an adjective; the second is a verb. Here's a happy helpful sentence: "Shelly had loose lips; Sam was happy to lose her because she said he was a loser."
  2. there, their, they're. Location, 3rd person plural possessive, contraction of "they are." "Are the Smiths in Austria yet? No, they're on their way there."
  3. don't get me started on apostrophes. I'd still be ranting about the proper use of them tomorrow.
All right, class, here's your homework: buy a copy of Elements of Style. Read it; cherish it; keep it with you always until you have memorized the knowledge within its well-worn pages. Pray I never decide to go for my English PhD after all and become your English professor. I'll make the legendary Doctors Gossett look like pushovers. But, by damn, you'll know how to write!

Reading my blog makes you smarter. And it shows you have good taste. These things are true.

No comments: