Thursday, October 3, 2013

I put a spell on you

In the course of writing my daily blatherings, I often go to the Merriam-Webster website to check on spelling, word usage and etymology.  I love words and use thousands of them in daily speech and writing, and yet I don't find that same love in a lot of other people who commit sins against the language.

Nothing to do with the story, but I have
friends who like to see pictures of a
weepy John Boehner.
The amount of people who write "I should of known better" stuns me, but when this error is pointed out, the bad writer will reply with "Your a looser."  Looser than what? comes the question, and what is there to say to that?

Even professional writers, people who get paid to compose articles, commit atrocities such as "At the age of eleven, his mother died."

I tend not to correct other people's errors unless they ask me to vet their résumés, love letters or grocery lists.  But, while I don't say a person is of less value because his or her grammar and spelling are on the low side of proficiency, I can't help but shake my head when I see "your to dumb to even no it" as someone's reply online.  Conversely, I knew a man who had a radiator shop, and he was perfectly correct in his language skills, which allowed me to reckon that his skills in re-coring radiators would be similarly stellar.  And they were.

I revere Keith Olbermann
But it turns out I'm not alone in hoping for better English for a better America ( and all other English-speaking nations.) Beside the ever-vigilant Keith Olbermann, it turns out that Samuel L. Jackson is One Of Us.  This appeared on the Merriam-Webster website: 
Sam'l. L. Jackson

In an interview, Samuel L. Jackson responded to being called the "grammar police" on Twitter for correcting other people's English: "I'll take that. Somebody needs to be. I mean, we have newscasters who don't even know how to conjugate verbs."

Conjugate means "to list the different forms of a verb that show number, person, tense, etc."

Mr. Jackson was probably referring to instances in which newscasters have said things like, "he had went" instead of "he had gone."

We do not know how widespread the problem of newscasters using incorrect verb forms actually is, but Mr. Jackson was arguing that grammatical sloppiness is symptomatic of "a society where mediocrity is acceptable."

Mediocrity is a stranger in the house in which pride dwells.

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