Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Yes, I know, I'm a grammar nerd.....

....but honestly, why can't your average internet user write their own language correctly these days? Did they spend their entire school career smoking behind the bike sheds? (Actually that sounds so last century. No one cycles to school any more, they get driven by mummy in the Chelsea Tractor in case they get abducted on the way in). Did they decide that as they could get their entire GSCE coursework done by copying and pasting Wikipedia there was no need to learn any tedious spelling and grammar rules?

As my regular readers know, I spend entirely too much time on the internet. I run a equine forum and its associated Facebook page and Twitter feed. (And yes, I have obviously only included those links so you go and like/follow us). I spend a lot of time reading blogs and websites, articles, forum posts and playing online Scrabble. Why? Well, (apart from arguing with people I have never met about a whole host of subjects, looking at cute pictures of cats, reading inane tweets from fictional characters and being rude to or about people I have met) because I like words and language and the way people use them interests me.

Sadly though, as time goes on (and people's teenage kids get online and start spouting rubbish) the general standard of English language I see (not to mention the French, some of my daughter's friends have a seemingly tenuous grasp of their mother tongue's grammatical structure that could be easily outclassed by any of my former French A level students and quite a fair number of the GCSE students too) is slipping alarmingly.

Now the spelling isn't the biggest annoyance, actually. I mean there's the American Influence everywhere of course, spoiling things with their insistence on losing the u and changing an s to a z. (Which they then tell me is pronounced "zee" instead of "zed"). My American friend (yes, I do have one, but he's one of the few Americans I have met who isn't an irritating self-obsessed tosser, it has to be said) claims that they are merely helping us to simplify the language. Check is easier to spell than cheque, after all. But I really don't like jewelry, it just looks wrong. As does maneuver.....

No, what really annoys me is the bad grammar. It would seem that an awful lot of people don't know the difference between they're, their and there. Or where and wear. Or even bear and bare ("bare with me" is something I have seen on more than one occasion. What does that mean? Get naked with me?!!). But the one that is top of my hit list is incorrect use of the conditional perfect. Replacing the "have" with "of". I would of done.....is totally wrong. If you want to sound stupid enough to have been in Set 4 for French at my old school, then that's the best way to do it.

A close second is the wandering apostrophe. Plurals do not need apostrophes (unless it's a possessive of a plural noun) so stop putting them in ("here are some photo's" is a phrase that seems to appear a lot on Facebook). It's only needs an apostrophe if it's short for it is. Not if it's a possessive. Easy enough to remember, no?

But I suppose I am in the minority these days. Judging by the things I read online, I certainly am. I managed to get full marks in this test for a start: http://www.guardian.co.uk/teacher-network/teacher-blog/quiz/2013/feb/04/grammar-punctuation-quiz-test

How about you?

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