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Sometimes I really dislike using the internet. Why? Because people seem to think that being on the internet gives them a legitimate reason to sound like undereducated morons. “IM speak” and “internet shorthand” have taken over, and people can’t even form coherent sentences anymore. It’s sad , and there’s not actually any real excuse for it.
Now, I may not be the most grammatically perfect person in the world, but at least I try. I proofread everything I write online before hitting the post button. Whether it’s my blog or FaceBook or wherever, I try to make sure that I’m presenting the best of myself with everything that I do online. I actually hate Twitter because it’s nearly impossible to express coherent thoughts without being forced to butcher them to fit in the allotted space.
What gets me even more than the bad spelling and grammar is the fact that pretty much every word processing program, email client and browser have built-in spell checkers. You can’t tell me that they never warn people about the mistakes that they’re making. Occasional typos are one thing, but the way people communicate online these days is just embarrassing. Unfortunately, people just don’t seem to care.
I think that whenever you’re communicating, even online, you should always try to have proper spelling and grammar. You should want to sound like you’re an intelligent human being. You shouldn’t allow yourself to sound like you barely passed 3rd grade in some hillbilly ghetto. I give a certain amount of leeway to non-native speakers, but people who have English as a first language or have lived in an English-speaking country for more than 5 years have no excuse.
The graphic at the beginning of this post is just one example of the stupidity so prevalent on the internet now. There is a difference between your, you’re and yore. You should know them and get them right. They’re, there and their too. If you’re posting something to be publicly viewed, it shouldn’t be something that makes them shake their heads in despair over your word use, or makes them spend 5 minutes trying to figure out what the hell you said.
Unfortunately, the education system isn’t helping with any of this. Even back when I was in school kids were able to graduate without being able to speak or write coherent English, and not all of those kids were foreign. Some of them were born and raised right here in the USA. I know more than a few adult Americans who can’t spell properly, have pathetically small vocabularies, and think punctuation is like salt: it makes things nice, but you can go without it. The invention of internet shorthand and text-speak have only made things worse.
Slang is also ruining the way people communicate. Many people will type (and say) things like “thurr”, “brah”, “yer”, “waddup” and the like as if they’re totally acceptable. People are getting just as lazy with their speaking as they are with their writing, and modern culture is allowing it to happen. Many chalk it up no the natural evolution of language and just let it go. They shouldn’t. Preserving communication, both written and spoken is important. Allowing the way we interact with each other to degrade because of bad elements in society and lack of education isn’t natural, it’s sad. Maintaining intelligence and eloquence should be of higher importance.
I think everyone should try to be as well-spoken and well-written as possible. It shouldn’t matter whether you’re trying to write a novel or a social status about your cat. Whether it’s 10 words or 10,000, you should always put your best foot (or words) forward. Learn new words. Learn how to properly punctuate and spell. Type as if every word you place in the public eye is an extension of your personal self. It actually is. When you write online, you’re presenting what kind of person you are. When you have horrible spelling and grammar, you’re presenting an impression that you’re uneducated and/or lazy. If that’s not who you are, you might want to rethink how you communicate on the internet. You don’t have to become a grammar Nazi, but you should at least care about how you represent yourself and try to make it a good representation.
If you want to be amused and learn at the same time, check out the Grammarly Blog. They have fun images and entries that help you learn to communicate better and give you a laugh at the same time.