Crimes against Language

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This image has some relevance, I promise.

We’ve all seen bad grammar. We’ve all seen bad spelling. We’ve all seen improper word usage.

And yes, we’re all guilty of it at some point. Typos happen, we get tired, we’re in a rush, we have that moment when we have to stop and think which there/their/they’re to use. It happens and it doesn’t mean we are less intelligent than the next person. But there are some people who don’t get it or just don’t care enough to use correct grammar, punctuation or spelling and it’s ANNOYING!

Why? Incorrect usage can change the entire meaning of your sentence!

Example:

Let’s go and eat Dad vs. Let’s go and eat, Dad.

The first sentence means you are about to become a patricidal cannibal. The second means you would like to have a meal with your father. Huge difference.

Incorrect spelling usually goes one of three ways. You either misspell a word and come up with something that is just not a word at all, you use a similar looking, yet totally different, word or (and this a personal favourite of mine) you use a word that doesn’t even exist so therefore HAS no correct spelling. I don’t even know if that is a spelling error. Or is it a grammatical error? What IS it?

Don’t even start me on the chronic abusers of the humble apostrophe. This type of abuse is very real and very prevalent. Please, spread the word.

Then there is text speak, that insidious beast spawned from character limited text messages that has attached its abbreviated and sometimes indecipherable tentacles onto our everyday written communications and even our vernacular. Yes, some people, upon hearing an amusing story, respond by saying “LOL” which, to the uninitiated, stands for laugh out loud. It seems we are now abbreviating laughter instead of just, you know, laughing.

Text speak as written communication drives me up the wall. It’s no longer used to get a message across in a concise manner. The point of it has been lost. It’s so overused as to have become nonsensical.

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“Great seeing you!”

(Laughs out loud) “Was great to see you too, but oh my God, got to go, talk to you later!!”

Who speaks like this? What was funny about someone saying it was great to see you?

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“Hi! What are you doing tonight?”

“Sitting on the sofa!” (Laughs out loud)

(Laughs out loud) “Have fun! See you tomorrow!”

An example of two people that apparently find hilarity in sitting on a sofa.

I recently conducted extensive scientific research* into spelling and grammatical errors to determine what was most common, what was most annoying and what was the most amusing. I have a serious love/hate relationship with bad spelling. I find it simultaneously hilarious and frustrating. Frustrating because I have to try to figure out what it was supposed to say. Hilarious because, well, read these and you’ll see. Some of these are common, some of them just ridiculous, but all of them have happened!

Here they are, in no particular order, an inglorious jumble of spelling/grammar/usage errors.

Weird/Wierd

That party was so wierd – No! That party was so weird!

Definitely/Defiantly/Definately

“I am defiantly coming to your party.”

This means you are coming to my party, but in a rebellious manner. That would be weird. What I think you meant to say is that you are definitely coming to my party, as in, you will be there for sure, so I’d better make sure there are enough sausages to go around.

Definately- just no. There is no a in definitely.

Regardless/Irregardless

“The party will go on, irregardless of whether it rains.”

That right there, folks, is a made up word. The actual word is regardless, the party will go on regardless of whether it rains. See?

Supposedly/Supposably

As I understand it, supposably IS a word…sort of. Supposable is a word that means capable of being supposed or conceivable. But no one ever uses it correctly. It is NOT a substitute for supposedly, which means according to what is generally assumed or believed. Inigo Montoya puts it best:

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Your/You’re

Your car is on fire. Yes, your car that you own. Your denotes ownership.

You’re really pissed about car being burnt out. Because you’re is a shortened form of ‘you are’.

So when writing ‘your’ or ‘you’re’, an easy way to tell is to replace it with ‘you are’. If that fits, then ‘you’re’ is your word. Get it?

There/Their/They’re

There is a giant turtle.

‘There’ names a place or a thing or the existence of something.

Their turtle is humongous.

‘Their’ denotes ownership.

They’re hugging the enormous turtle. ‘They’re’ is a shortened form of ‘they are’. So if you can replace they’re with they are, you’ve nailed it.

Loose/Lose

Not the same word, guys. Not even close. Loose means the opposite of tight. Lose means you didn’t win. Lose also means to get rid of something, either intentionally like “I’m going to lose weight!” or by accident, like “How on earth did you lose your giant turtle?”

Where/Wear/We’re

The first is location related- “Where is the party?”

The second is usually clothing related- “What should I wear to the party?”

The third is the shortened form of we are– “We’re wearing giant turtle suits to the party.”

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Allowed/Aloud

The first means you had permission to do whatever it was you did. The second means you said something audibly. Totally different words and not interchangeable in the slightest!

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Cologne/Colon

Cologne is the city in Germany where a type of perfume was first formulated. It has since become a generic term for perfume. The colon, on the other hand, is a body part in one’s nether regions, responsible for part of the digestive processes. The aroma is far less pleasant.

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Bawled/Balled

When you are describing the way you cried, you bawled your eyes out. I sincerely hope you did not ball your eyes out, because that would mean squeezing them into a rounded shape.

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Ganache/Gnash/Ganash/Ganesh

Ganache is generally a chocolate and cream concoction slathered over something delicious, like cake.

Gnash means to grind together. It’s what often happens with my teeth when perusing text full of errors. Also, the ‘g’ is silent in gnash.

Ganash is phonetically correct- but that is where the correctness ends.

Ganesh is a Hindu deity that, as far as I am aware, has nothing to do with tasty desserts.

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Divine/Devine

Divine is either god like or very pleasing. Devine was very pleasing to Hugh Grant, I imagine, before they got caught.

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Yous/Use

This one is particularly maddening. It is the substitution of a word for another word that isn’t even a bloody word!

“Yous are always eating cake.”

Unless this is a phonetic spelling and refers to more than one female sheep continually eating cake, there is nothing right about this sentence. It would be correct to say something like

“You guys are always eating cake.”

This refers to the group is that is always eating cake.

Replacing Yous with Use is just adding insult to injury. Use means to utilise something. It makes no sense!

He’s/His

Again, two words which are not interchangeable! He’s is a shortened form of he is. His means it belongs to him.

“He’s a great guy. Have you met his giant turtle?”

Patients/Patience

One refers to unwell people needing care. The other is the state of forbearance under difficult circumstance. Not interchangeable.

Other special mentions go to:

  • The florist selling bokays.
  • All those out there who are discusted by anything.
  • Those in the habit of smileing.
  • All who have payed their bills.
  • The café I saw offering a side of mass potatoes.
  • The mothers discussing the influence of their husband’s jeans on their children.
  • Anyone suffering boardem.
  • The classic seekers of pacific information.
  • The party store I visited offering badges to wear on ones 2th and 3th birthdays.
  • The person using ignorent as an insult, completely oblivious to the irony that turned their attempted jibe into a cause for hysterical laughter.

This list is by no means a comprehensive one. It’s just stuff that irritates me. It could be so much worse.

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*I use the term scientific research loosely here- I asked my Facebook friends. That’s scientific, right?

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