The Use of Language – Do We Dare to Care?

PP for blogI saw this comment on social media  last week and it made me realise that the use of basic English is something we can no longer take for granted.

Have we forgotten how to use the apostrophe or did some of us never learn in the first place?  Either way, it seems that your in place of you’re is becoming acceptable.

I attended a talk recently when the speaker said anythink in the first sentence.  I’ve no idea of the subsequent material, as I was preoccupied trying to convince myself I’d misheard but she said it again, twice!  The person in question was a teacher.  For the sake of her students, I hope her aptitude for spelling and punctuation outshines her problem with pronunciation when she performs her day job.

So how much do we care?

Do we correct mispronunciation or allow words such as  anythink to slip into the language by default?  Criteria for inclusion in the Oxford English Dictionary requires several independent examples of a word being used over a reasonable period of time.  They also look for a word to reach a level of general currency where it is unselfconsciously used with the expectation its meaning will be understood.  All good so far.

Alternatively, do words such as anything and everything become two words, giving us any think and every think as the writer of the social media message believes?

Of course grammar and spelling can be complicated and everyone makes mistakes.  How many of us would know what a split infinitive was if we’d never heard the phrase: ‘to boldly go’ from a well-known futuristic space series?  So I’m not being pedantic about the whole concept, just the everyday stuff.

I started to wonder what happens if English is your second language and you’re studying for a degree or other qualification? Thankfully there’s professional help available and this site may help anyone who falls into that category.  I understand their services have recently been extended after enquires from students with English as their first language.

But what about the rest of us?  Don’t we have a duty to use prose correctly?  Not only to stop ourselves looking silly but for future generations so that they aren’t denied the opportunity to experience the English language in all its glory.

Egg-on-face if there’s a mistake in this post …


About jhbooksblog

Hello - I'm Julie Haiselden, an occasional NHS med sec/practice administrator. Mother of three, wife of one, a chaotic cook and published crime/thriller novelist who blogs a bit about books, life and food. School alumna. Occasional am-dram actress/director. I enjoy walking and photography (although my enthusiasm outweighs my skill set). I've recently joined the reviewing team at Whispering Stories and can be found via the following social media sites: I also accept a few hard copy novels to review.
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One Response to The Use of Language – Do We Dare to Care?

  1. Terry Tyler says:

    It DOES matter, massively, and there are many, many of us who still know how to use the language properly – ‘your’ instead of ‘you’re’ will not become standard in my lifetime!!! I do find youngsters who still care about it, too – but, to be honest, the standard of written English amongst the people who comunicate mostly via Facebook is pretty dire – I find it depressing at best, so rarely go on there!

    What doesn’t help is when people over 50 think they have to start using the ghastly ‘lol’, or saying things like ‘uni’ instead of ‘university’ – that’s an Australian abbreviation for it, didn’t become popular in this country until the late 80s, so why would anyone over 40 use it??!! Moron speak is creeping in everywhere, alas – I’ve even heard a couple of ‘deteriates’ by BBC presenters.

    I agree so much with everything you say in this – you’re right, and keep it up! Sorry… I mean ‘your rite hunni xox’… my sister and I (I’m a writer, she’s a proofreader) often communicate in moron speak just for a laugh – it’s surprising how hard it is not to automatically put the punctuation in!!!

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