Thursday, October 6, 2011

Grammar Grumbles

Has anybody else noticed that grammar and spelling have pretty much been flushed down the toilet in our country? People can't spell anymore. And that's pretty sad considering there are computer programs that will correct spelling mistakes for you. Even my iPhone (RIP, Steve Jobs) corrects, though sometimes incorrectly, my spelling and word choice. Still, I cannot go a single day without reading at least a few misspelled words.

Even in the newspaper.

Yesterday I read an article in the online version of a local newspaper regarding the state department of education giving Louisiana schools grades based on the overall education their students are receiving in the classroom. The second sentence in the article was written as follows: " Schools are recieving..."

Seriously? Ummm... I remember the "I before E, except after C" rule, even though I learned it in the 4th grade over 30 years ago. C'mon, people, that's an easy one! The worst part is that if a misspelled word is published in the newspaper, it got through at least two sets of eyes before being printed. If the writer missed it, it should have been caught by the editor. I don't know if there are online editors, but many times I have caught misspelled words in printed newspapers.

One reason spelling is falling by the wayside, I think, is because we are always in a hurry. The texting language differs greatly from proper spelling and grammar, so the younger generations are actually learning to spell incorrectly because the speed of their text is more important than the spelling. My daughter can send and receive texts at the speed of light. (For example, 7 days into our billing cycle she already has 1000 texts associated with her phone. Thank goodness we have unlimited texting.) But she can't spell worth a flip. And her grammar isn't too good, either.

I consider myself a bit of a grammar fanatic. I write a lot for my job - website updates, marketing materials, ads. I also write most of the correspondence sent from the business, even if it is signed by another staff member. So I have to be careful with wording, spelling and grammar. Do I make mistakes? Yes, occasionally I do. But I always proofread things before I send them out, and sometimes even have someone else look it over, since I can read right over a mistake if I've been looking at the document for too long. Also, of course, I don't remember every single little grammar rule I learned in elementary, middle and high school.

But there are some really simple rules that people frequently botch. The one that bugs me the most is "between you and I." That is oh so WRONG!

Please allow me to explain. "Between" is a preposition that begins a prepositional phrase. At the end of the phrase you need an object of the preposition. "Me" is an object pronoun. "I" is a subject, not an object, pronoun. Therefore, the proper phrase is "between you and ME," and not "between you and I." Subject pronouns are he, she and I, and object pronouns are him, her and me. Between (him, her, you) and (him, her, you, me) are correct. Using she, he or I in that phrase is incorrect because they are all subject pronouns.

Get it? If not, just trust me on this one.

I've heard very intelligent people mess this up... in person, on the phone, even in TV news interviews. And it jumps right on my last nerve.

Here's something else that crawls all over me, and it's fairly new. For some unknown reason, some folks have decided that the "H" at the beginning of words should be silent.

What the.... ell?

I've got no stinking idea where this came from. Instead of Houston, they're saying "Yoo-ston." Instead of humble, they're saying "umble." Instead of humid, they're saying "yoo-mid."

I really don't understand this. Not even a little.

The reason for my soapbox on this today is that one of the solos in our choir Christmas production is written to be pronounced that way. Here's the sentence as written: "He came to be so meek and mild... a savior, yet AN humble child." Grammar rules tell us that before a consonant sound, you use "A" and before a vowel sound you use "AN." On the recorded version of this song, the soloist sings "...a savior.... yet an UMBLE child."

Ugh.

I'll tell you one thing... if I am assigned that particular solo I will sing it properly. Am I being a bit anal? Yes. Yes I am. But I know it's going to take some champions of the cause to turn the literacy of our nation around. And for goodness sake, I'm going to do my tiny little part to help. Even if that simply means using our language correctly in a song and writing about it on a silly little blog.

These are just a few grammar grumbles. I added pictures to show others. Can you find the mistakes in the pictures? (I really, really hope so!)

 

1 comment:

g2taylor said...

And yet I misspelled OAKLEY "OAKELY" then at least four people worked with the sign and it ran two shows before anyone told us.