grammer error’s


One of the difficulties of hosting a blog is dealing with some of the comments I get. I’m sorry to admit how thin-skinned I am, but I cannot help but be dismayed at the deteriorating state of grammar in our country. It seems it’s endemic to the whole society. I’m certain I even screw up at times.

If I am particularly fond of certain responders, sometimes I correct grammatical errors that would embarrass me were I to make them; but in most cases, I just let comments run as submitted. They represent authentic voices, I say. Yet comments on the blog are just the tip of the iceberg.

The other day, the weather outside was particularly noisy, so I turned on the closed-caption function on my television. Boy, was I ever surprised at the literacy level (or should I say illiteracy level) of the people the studios hire to write the captions! You would think that the studios would submit their employees’ work to proofreading, but I’d guess this would be expensive and that audiences for closed-captioning are deemed not worth the effort.

I was watching a Bill Maher stand-up concert, and these are but a few of the errors I saw: “pee tree” instead of “petri;” “dilution” instead of “delusion;” “prekian” instead of “Puerto Rican;” “man kin” instead of “mannequin;” “affliction” instead of “asphyxiation;” “I’d logical” instead of “ideological;” “hon rarey” instead of “honorary.” Bill Maher is an intelligent comic, and presumably his audience considers itself a cut above the “goober nation” Maher relishes in ridiculing; such ignorant captioning which is clueless of the syntax and context of Maher’s jokes seriously undercuts the (wink-wink) understanding that Maher shares with his audience. I am surprised he would stand for it if he knew how poorly he is being served.

This is an issue that should concern us all. In business, knowing how to fashion an interesting and intelligent sentence is essential to communicating effectively, winning business, and setting one’s self apart. More than two-thirds of salaried jobs require a significant amount of writing, yet top organizations are spending $3 billion per year on remedial training for employees to bring their writing ability up to even a baseline standard. Clear writing means clear thinking.

Good grammar may make the difference between making it or not in the business world. Says John Challenger, the CEO of an outplacement consulting firm: “One of the easiest, quickest and most widely used indicators of a candidate’s worth is his or her grammar. Misspellings, poor syntax and grammatical mistakes typically result in a swift relegation to the ‘no’ pile; the decision makers reason that the errors disclose either poor communication skills or an indifference toward details.”

Lynne Truss, author of Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation, argues: “[Students in public schools] are largely taught that grammar is unimportant compared with ‘expressing yourself.’ This makes me crazy. Imagine it’s the piano we are talking about. Which would be better: a) to express yourself freely on it; or b) first learn to play the thing? Of course, the difference is that people are not judged every day on their ability to play the piano. Kyle Wiens is right to point out that when young people are taught to undervalue literacy as a life skill, they are being cruelly misled.”

According to grammarly.com (a really entertaining website) the five most common grammar mistakes are: it’s and its; there, their, and they’re; subject-verb agreement; comma slices; and apostrophes. Yet grammar errors do lead to some particularly amusing results.

I hope you are entertained by these examples.











drop your pants.











Weather Report

79° Cloudy and Rain, Clearing in Afternoon


11 Responses to “grammer error’s”

  1. 1 anonymouse
    September 24, 2015 at 12:17 pm

    I love the title, a pet peeve of mine as well. Did you know that as long as you get the first and last letter correct (and have most or all of the letters included), most people will read right over common spelling errors? Psychologists say that this is because our minds cease to spell out the words and actually start to recognize the words by sight, making the arrangements of the internal letters of less significance.

    As for the rules of grammar, do they even teach that anymore? Sometimes I wonder! When I read the words of others, I try to remember that not everyone is a professional writer, and so I try to give consideration for variations in education level, native language, and the modern tendency to abbreviate or make an acronym of just about anything. I’m very happy to note that of the young men I regularly correspond with because of RP, I have generally been very impressed by the maturity of their expression, as well as their grammar and spelling. The same can be said for the majority of WD blog posters.

  2. September 24, 2015 at 12:20 pm

    The situation is not typically American. She’s also common in other countries, as I saw by myself.

    You just forget to mention another form of illiteracy: the “phonetical language” used by SMS senders. The (too common) use of this mode of expression by kids, while they should learn to master their maternal language, let not augur any improvement of the situation for the future.

  3. 5 Frank Manning
    September 24, 2015 at 3:10 pm

    As a retired editor and writer I could go on and on about this plague and the semi-illiteracy of most people under 40. But you and anonymouse covered most of the points I would have made.

    The examples you gave from the Bill Maher stand up show lead me to believe that those were not human errors. Those zingers look very much like they were generated by some voice recognition software. Unless you have the diction of a Walter Cronkite those apps will be tripped up every time!

    • September 24, 2015 at 5:25 pm

      That’s what I thought at first until I consulted a Wikipedia article about closed-captioning wherein it was claimed that it is a human process. But whether voice recognition/autocorrect is used or not, in the end it is a human error. Idiocy, as well as intelligence, can be automated.

  4. 8 matt
    September 24, 2015 at 6:25 pm

    Okay, stupid auto-correct cell phone &$%#@^. I meant to say, “Do you remember Baba Wawa on SNL?” How embarrassing, given the topic of conversation.

    • September 24, 2015 at 6:35 pm

      Just for fun, turn your cell phone’s autocorrect back on and see what it does with “&$%#@.” And yes, I do remember Baba Wawa.

      • 10 matt
        September 25, 2015 at 5:31 am

        Oddly, the first option was “Comcast”, but hey, that’s not even my provider! The other day, I was texting someone “smoke pit” and it was changed to “smoke pot”, so we’ve got a good idea of who writes this stuff.

  5. 11 Erik Roth
    September 24, 2015 at 10:51 pm

    Alas, I suspect that “grammar schools” are going out of favor along with “liberal arts” in our degenerating educational system and regressing social order. The arrogantly ignorant cannot consider that another Dark Ages could occur, and likely have no clue even to what the former one pitifully entailed.

    Note Garry Trudeau’s comment on one evident aspect:


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