General discussion



By rlutes ·
I have taken a great interest in a few of the threads. What I find to be profoundly interesting is the apparent disregard to the English language with its rules of grammar and spelling.

Is it me or is grammar and spelling becoming passe?

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Incorrect grammar; how ironic.

by CharlieSpencer In reply to Spelling...

" grammar and spelling..."

No, the proper phrasing is "...are grammar and spelling...". The subject is plural ("grammar and spelling", two things) so the verb must also be plural ("are", not "is").

I'm also not sure about "disregard to the English language". I'm reasonably certain it should be "disregard for the English language", but not certain enough to mark it wrong.

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by BFilmFan In reply to Incorrect grammar; how ir ...

You are correct that it should be "disregard for" a subject, as "to" implies an action.

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U r rite!!!

by stress junkie In reply to Incorrect grammar; how ir ...

Yes Palmetto you are correct in both cases.

I agree with the original poster's implication that regard for grammar and spelling is in a sorry state. Many people who post here are functionally illiterate. Others don't care enough to proof read and edit their posts. I often reread and correct my posts about ten times after I submit the first draft. I look words up when I'm not sure of the spelling.

I think that a lot of the people who say that grammar and spelling aren't that important are actually exposing a general lack of interest in the quality of their work. That stinks.

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Spelling, Grammar and Meaning

by JamesRL In reply to U r rite!!!

As a decade long poster to alt.folklore.urban, I still hold that a spelling flame is a lame flame. I am not above ignoring the odd typo, as I make a few of my own. And I don't think one needs to go back to our grammer primers and memorise all the rules before posting here.

On the other hand, there are too many examples in public forums of situations where the meaning of a posting is obscured or lost because of excessive errors in spelling and grammar.

Frankly some of the "battle royale" type flame wars occur because of an imprecise use of the langauge and are exacerbated by poor spelling and grammar.

If you care about what you are posting, you should care enough to try to write in a manner that will accurately convey your meaning.


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That's exactly the point

by stress junkie In reply to Spelling, Grammar and Mea ...

I agree with you completely. A typo or two here and there can slip into any post. The whole point of spelling and grammar is to accurately communicate. We don't have to write in perfect formal English. Conversational English, with its dangling participles, is more appealing. Some people's complete lack of punctuation and other clues to show the beginning and end of a sentence detracts from our ability to understand what they have written. Other people's poor spelling and grammar completely obfuscate their message.

I blame the schools for not insisting on proper spelling and grammar in all written school work. If people develop the habit of writing a certain way then they will continue to write that way. But, as I said in my first post, I think it is also a lack of interest in the quality of workmanship that people do. That interest or lack of interest in one's own quality of workmanship extends into everything that the person does. I'm inclined to think that the people who consistently show poor grammar in their posts probably also do poor quality work in all other areas of their lives.

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More to it

by amcol In reply to That's exactly the point

James and stress junkie, I agree with everything you've both said...although I'm not entirely ready to blame the educational system. There has definitely been a lowering of the bar over the years as we continue to dumb down to the lowest common denominator, but whether or not the curricula demands the correct use of the English language the fact is these skills are taught. What's being sent isn't being received.

Frankly, I think it's a combination of disrespect and laziness. James talked about caring enough about the message to state it clearly...I'd expand on that by saying people who chronically violate the rules of proper sentence construction, grammar, word usage, verb conjugation, etc., are sending the not so subtle message that they really don't care very much about their audience. Those are typically the folks I don't pay a lot of attention to, myself. If you don't respect me, don't expect any in return.

It's also a matter of pure laziness. OK, so not everyone out there is William Shakespeare. Does it take so much extra time and trouble to compose your posts, especially the lengthy ones, in something like MS/Word, do a spell and grammar check, and then cut and paste them here? What you get may not be perfect, but it'll at least make sense and you may even learn something and improve your written communication skills at the same time.

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Effective Use of Time

by Wayne M. In reply to More to it

As with any task, one must balance cost and benefit when writing to a discussion list.

Yes, it is possible for most posters to write their text in Word, spell and grammar check it, correct the issues flagged, and then paste the result back into the reply window, but is it worth the time and effort? Should the same be done with the Title, which gets more visibility than the text body?

In an informal discussion list, such as this, I am more than willing to forgive mistypings, misspellings, poor grammar, and poor phrasing; things that I would not find acceptable in formal documents. I realize that I have no control over other posters' writing styles, and the posters are unlikely to have the available resources to improve.

In an informal forum, variation will run rampant; there is no mechanism in place to reduce the variation. Unless one has the interest and ability to address the problem, tirades and rants concerning spelling and grammar serve no value beyond entertainment.

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Oh, come on

by amcol In reply to Effective Use of Time

What does it take to do as I suggested, an extra minute? If you don't have the natural or learned spelling and grammar skills, do your audience a favor and use the tools. If not, run the risk that your message will be incomprehensible enough to be ignored. Why bother taking the time to write it in the first place?

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Grammar Does Not Equal Clarity

by Wayne M. In reply to Effective Use of Time

In response to amcol's query, spelling and grammar do not imply clarity. Ideas can be communicated despite numerous spelling and grammar mistakes and, likewise, a message that passes a Microsoft Word Spelling and Grammar checks may fail to be understandable.

Spelling and grammar are largely presentation issues. The effort one applies to presentation needs to be based on the audience and how one expects to be viewed by that audience.

This environment is informal and the tools contain no embedded spelling or grammar checking support. This defines the standard. It is certainly acceptable to set a higher personal standard, but it is not reasonable to expect the world at large to adopt that personal standard. Spelling errors and grammar errors will run amok in this environment.

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by amcol In reply to Effective Use of Time

Clarity of message is the overall theme here, but we've been talking specifically about grammar and spelling. I agree those are only two components of a clearly articulated communication, but they're two pretty big ones...and the easiest to control, if one is willing to take the trouble to do so.

To your point, if one is unwilling to devote effort to one's presentation then one should expect to be viewed by one's audience as illiterate, inarticulate, lazy, or disrespectful. You obviously don't want to be taken that way, since your own communications have been well written and clear. Why would anyone? What's the point in formulating a communication, targeted by definition to an audience, if one knows in advance that by virtue of poor communication skills (for whatever reason) one will be largely ignored? Why bother in the first place?

It is absolutely, positively reasonable to expect a certain minimum level of communication skill. Whatever my own personal standards, I don't expect anyone other than me to rise to that level and am always delighted when someone does. However, I do expect that anyone who wants me to receive their message, let alone respond to it, craft their message in such a way that they respect me as their intended target by following a few simple rules of grammar and spelling. I really don't think that's too much to ask.

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