Far be it from me to come across as some sort of literary snob. Having said that, I find that there is a growing trend in our culture for people to be completely over the top lazy when it comes to punctuation and grammar. This may be a direct result of texting and auto-correct etc., (did you notice that? The comma after the period following etc? THAT is how that is done! Just sayin’.) but I find that when it gets pointed out that there is an error in grammar or punctuation, people get all huffy and insulted and accuse me of being snobbish. Little do they know that in that very moment they are proving that they are not only uneducated and lazy but assholes as well. When I correct something, it is not to make someone look or feel bad and I never do it in such a way as to promote that. I correct something so that a person can improve on their skills and become better at what they are doing. I like when others help me out that way as well. What would the world be like if our driving errors went unchecked by our instructors? Pandemonium is what it would be!
Can you imagine if anyone was super self-conscious about correcting someone who is making an obvious mistake while building the engine on an airplane? Total disaster would ensue! Yes, I know that this sort of disaster would never happen just because of a spelling error or an error in grammar. Right? Well, imagine now that the instructions for building a car engine was written by someone who neither knew how to spell or punctuate. Suddenly, because the person reading the instructions interpreted them incorrectly because of such a literary error, someone could find the piston of their engine firing through the hood of the vehicle into the air and landing through the roof onto the back seat, where the baby seat is located. This has been known to happen, so please don’t accuse me of being overly dramatic here. It actually happens.
I look at it this way. As a person with dyslexia, I have been able to learn to read and play music as well as play music by ear. I have learned to read books and to write. I have been able to apply these skills to a University degree in English. ENGLISH! Have you ever taken an inter-session or summer-session in NOVELS? I have! And I am dyslexic! It was hell, but I was able to get through. I have also run my own business for the last 30 some years, and I am the editor of an online newsletter, AND I am the author of this blog. So if, with dyslexia, I can do ALL THAT, then you, Joe Blow on the street, had better bloody well get off your lazy ass and learn a thing or two about grammar, punctuation, spelling, sentence structure etc or get off the attitude when I correct you or ask for clarification.
Here is an interesting example. I was contacted by someone who emailed me from their phone a very long (I think 3 page) novella describing some stuff that he was going through and asking if I knew if I would be able to help him with some of it. There was not one mark of punctuation. There were no upper case letters to indicate pronouns or the beginning of sentences. There weren’t even any spaces between paragraphs. I looked at this and it all just scrambled into a mass of letters that made no sense whatsoever. It would do that for others who do not have dyslexia. I showed it to a trusted friend and they said, “WTF is this person trying to say?” to which I had to reply, “I have no goddamn clue.”
So I emailed back, explaining to this person that I could not read what was sent to me with lack of punctuation, grammar, sentence structure, or upper and lower case letters to indicate the end of one thought and the beginning of another thought. I requested that he connect with me on the phone so that I could discern what it is he was trying to describe and then be able to know if I could be of any assistance to him. He contacted me on the phone, but did not speak directly with me. Instead of leaving a number for me to call back, he left a message (almost 5 minutes in length) describing his dilemma. At the end of his rather long message he said, in an incredibly sarcastic tone, that he hoped that now I could understand what he was saying even though I could not SEE any punctuation, grammar, sentence structure or upper and lower case letters. Needless to say, I did not call this asshole back. And if he does contact me again, he will be hearing about exactly why it is that I am not working with him.
So now I will invite you to read this:
farbeitfrommetocomeacrossassomesortofliterarysnobhavingsaidthatifindthatthereisa growingtrendinourcultureforpeopletobecompletelyoverthetoplazywhenitcomesto punctuationandgrammarthismaybeadirectresultoftextingandautocorrectetcdidyounotice thatthecommaaftertheperiodfollowingetcthatishowthatisdonejustsayinbutifindthatwhenit getspointedoutthatthereisanerroringrammarorpunctuationpeoplegetallhuffyandinsulted andaccusemeofbeingsnobbishlittledotheyknowthatinthatverymomenttheyareprovingthat theyarenotonlyuneducatedandlazybutassholesaswellwhenicorrectsomethingitisnottomake someonelookorfeelbadandineverdoitinsuchawayastopromotethaticorrectsomethingsothat apersoncanimproveontheirskillsandbecomebetteratwhattheyaredoingilikewhenotherpeoplehelpmeoutwiththatas wellwhatwouldtheworld belikeifourdrivingerrorswentuncheckedbyourinstructorspandemoniumiswhatitwouldbe
Now imagine THREE PAGES OF THIS GARBAGE. Needless to say I had to just give up. By the way, here’s a clue….it’s the first paragraph of this blog. You’re welcome. I had to really work at creating that paragraph in that manner, so please do NOT tell me that it is the EASY way to write anything.
Then there are stupid “trendy” terms, such as “literally”, which no longer means literal, or even actual, but instead has been defined as meaning “Similarly”, “Like” or “Almost”, which is part of why I hate modern dictionaries and the stupid people who assemble them. Those folks should have their sorry butts kicked to the curb. Literally means LITERALLY folks!
In a world where we are so used to texting instead of speaking to someone, I feel that it becomes even MORE important to use proper sentence structure and grammar. We all have seen how things can go sideways because of how a person hears the written word in their own head, when the actual meaning of the written word was nowhere NEAR what the person heard in their head. So why not spend a bit of time getting to know the difference between “there”, “their” and “they’re” so that you will not confuse anyone you are texting? And, by the way, “its” is a completely different word and meaning from the word “it’s”. This is where the English language could have been designed in a much less confusing way. “It’s” is not a possessive. It means “it is”. And in this particular case, “its” is the possessive, which makes no sense to regular folks because most only got to the point of putting an apostrophe between the last letter and the “s” to create a possessive. Nope. Not when it comes to the word “its” and the word “it’s”. They are totally backwards to the regular rule of thumb. “Yes,” you may say, “but people will know what it is I mean.” May I refer you to that ridiculously scrambled paragraph 3 paragraphs back?! People will NOT know what you mean and the only way to guarantee that they will have even a sniff of comprehension is IF YOU USE PUNCUTATION, PROPER GRAMMAR, AND CORRECT SENTENCE STRUCTURE. Do you have any idea how many people’s lives would be screwed up if a LEGAL document were written in the trashy lowest common denomonator way that so many people use to write/text these days? Pretty much EVERYONE’S life would get screwed up somewhere along the way, and that I can guarantee.
A dear friend of mine also has a blog site where he talks about his professional gardening practice. I commented recently on one of his blogs about how refreshing it is to read something that is so elloquently written and that he could always, after retiring from gardening, just write books and stuff and he would make a killing at it. When writing is done well, it makes the brain not have to work so hard and it becomes something that is relaxing to read. The complete opposite is true of literature that is steeped in sentences that have been ended with a preposition.
I was explaining to my partner the difference between using the word “I” and the word “me”. He was fascinated by how simple it became once it was explained so clearly. I suppose the education system fails people on this front on a regular basis. So here is how I explained it.
If you were to say, “Me and Jason went to the store” it would be wrong. Take the words “and Jason” out of the sentence. What you are left with is, “Me went to the store”. Now you sound like a three year old. But if you were to say,”Jason and I went to the store” it would be correct. Take the words “Jason and” out of the sentence and you are left with, “I went to the store.” BAM! That is a perfect sentence!
If you were to say that, “Susan gave Jason and I some coffee” it would be wrong. “Susan gave Jason and me some coffee” would be correct. Again, take the “Jason and” out of the sentence. No one would say, “Susan gave I a coffee.” Likewise, you would not say, “You and me need to go.” Take “you and” out of it and it would sound like, “Me need to go.” Again, are we three years old here? “I need to go” would be correct, therefore, “You and I need to go” would be correct.
This is apparently stuff that they no longer teach in any level of education anymore, so now your literary and texting life is much richer. You are welcome!
- Again the entire purpose of this blog was to put forth some teachings, and it did that. You are welcome.
- Communication is so incredibly important. It is something that can build a relationship or tear down a nation. So let’s not be lazy about it.
- If you think that you feel silly not knowing some of the things that I described in terms of the perfect sentence, imagine how silly I have felt in having to write that stuff out. And imagine how silly one sounds when using the incorrect terminologies. It is very sad.