Thursday, February 22, 2007

Grammar Terror!

We live in an era where the usage of slang, colloquialism, and profane language is not only considered intellectual but also a sign of eminence and modernism. The furor over sounding gibberish has grown out of proportions. It’s not limited to just that; people succumb to the peer pressure of using grammatically incorrect words and massacre punctuation.

Someone at work once said to me, ‘I could have went there.’ What is with us literate humans paying no heed to ‘tenses’? It is comparable to desecrating the shrine.

One fine evening, as I was waiting for a few of my friends, I could not help but overhear this delinquent conversation between three people with snazzy clothes on. The Armani-suit-wearing woman said, ‘Nicole should have came by now.’ I was so tempted to correct her but better sense prevented me from doing so.

I have had people send me emails with only abbreviations in it. I am not daft and yet it took me over seven minutes to comprehend the message. One of the emails went something like this - ‘at the party, BYOB (bring your own booze). OMG (Oh my god), KIH (Ken is here). He is 2G2BT (Too good to be true). TTYL (Talk to you later) LOL (Laugh out loud).’ I have explained all those abbreviations for your benefit; the email obviously did not contain any of that.

People blame the idiot box, SMS technology, instant messaging, and the new and social media for the manifestation of these malignant problems and our decomposing society.

For anyone who has studied the English language until high school level, there is no valid excuse for sounding incoherent! You do not have to swear by the thesaurus, be a writer, or quote Shakespeare, but you can at least make an effort to respect the language. Does it matter to most whether they write and spell with scrupulous care?

Moving on to punctuation now – do people understand the seriousness of a world devoid of punctuation? I have stated one of the famous examples below. Depending on how you punctuate it, it has a completely different meaning.

Woman: Without her, man is nothing
Woman, without her man, is nothing

When will we start taking responsibility for our lack of ability to think before we write? Will someone let the ‘voluntarily verbally challenged’ people know that it is not hip to have an erroneous vocabulary!

Copyright © 02.22.2007

"It is only by language that we rise above [the lower animals] — by language, which is the parent, not the child, of thought" — Oscar Wilde


Rishi said...

:))After reading your blogs, I have come to believe that we actually think alike. Usage of slang was one of the topic I chose to spoke to my juniors when I visited them 3 years after graduation. Basically, it sucks..and it sucks big time.

Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree more!! Please keep writing your thoughts... I love reading them.

opinionated said...

being improper is fun sometimes...:-)

deepa said...

A criminal was once summoned to a king and the king after listening to the charges against him, decided to spare him as he found the criminalinnocent.

So the king sends a pardon , Kill him not,SPARE him. But the minister , whose knowledge of English punctuation was limited writes the pardon note as, Kill him, NOT spare him. And the innocent man was hanged. So comma kills a man! And people are not even concerned ......
Its funny, when I ask people for the full forms of the abbreviations , they think I have committed some sin. They are like, oh my god, you don't know this.... How boring...And being boring is a death sentence. That's what peer pressure does to people.

ChezMoi said...

Do you truly believe that one has to pay so much attention to detail? I think some things in life should be taken a little lightly. Will it not be so much nicer if people would just 'understand' what is being said? My philosophy is - "Assume what is being said is being said with niceness in the heart." Everything will sound right then, punctuated properly, or not!

Veracity said...

Forget about grammar...English is a very strange and funny language...
e.g. TO is pronounced as "TU", DO is pronounced as "DU" so why is GO not pronounced as "GU". TO, TOO, TWO are pronounced the same. SET is pronounced "SET", BET is pronounced "BET" so why is "DET" spelt DEBT. Same word means different things such as BAT, HIT, DICE, FALL and so on. and many more oddities.

welsh said...

Veracity - here's some food for thought for you...

If we are to write words the way we pronounce them, then I propose that FISH, should be written as GHOTI! And why 'ghoti' you may ask... Well.. Look at it this way, When you say 'Enough' the GH goes to make the 'f' sound, and in 'Women', the O is actually said as a slight 'i', and finally in words like 'Action', or 'Declaration', TI makes the 'shh' sound.. putting them together, f-i-sh should be GH-O-TI !!

What do you say???

My two cents said...

Dear Chezmoi,

Thanks for writing in. I wish the world was as simple as that and people could really 'understand' what was being said. It's not lack of ability but paucity of time that inhibits the 'go figure' lifestyle.

I feel, in our over-communicated society, misunderstandings happen every moment. A month ago, one of the senators (his name eludes me now) said some things about Barack Obama's ethnicity and accomplishments; it was a big story. The senator later apologized saying that he didn't mean what his statements sounded like.

Seriously, do people really have the time to figure things out?

Veracity said...

John Gotti (slightly different spelling) would not have been too happy :)