Tuesday, 17 April 2012

A Hypocritical Rant about Falling Grammar Standards

OK folks I’ve bit my tongue long enough, but now I’m going to have to raise the issue of modern day grammar. Or more correctly the falling standards of grammar. 

Firstly let me say that I speak with absolutely no authority on the subject as I TWICE failed my English exams at school. Although the school were kind enough to appeal on my behalf and I got a nice letter telling me that I’d been granted my ‘O’ level English.  

I’m also as guilty as the next person with regards to typos. In my mind these are forgivable. What is not forgivable are the fuckups where there is written instead of their or even they’re. Come on, for fucks sake. They mean three totally different things.

My own failings have over time weighed upon me and have turned me into a grammar demon. I work hard to get things right for others when writing and I expect the same courtesy back. 

In my professional life I frequently get E-mails and Facebook messages which look as if a child of two has been bouncing a ball on a keyboard before accidentally hitting send. One Facebook message had nineteen (YES 19!) grammar mistakes in a four line paragraph. The content was based on sensible questions so the writer was obviously in possession of some functioning intelligence. Nineteen mistakes were there though!  

Being the calm and reasonable person that I am, I spent twenty minutes decrying falling education standards and then went for a smoke before replying. This muppet had just wasted half an hour of my precious time just because they either couldn’t write properly or didn’t care enough to make a tiny effort. 

Little shortcuts like writing U instead of you I can almost tolerate because of text speak which is a whole new lazy language. American English with its different spelling of certain words gets automatically translated without any internal ire, but show me repeated incidents of some fuckwit getting were, where and we’re all mixed up and I get so wound up my teeth start to itch.

As for the great apostrophe debate don’t get me started… 

Please comment below on what annoys you about other peoples’ grammar.


  1. I am so with you on this one Graham. I did a piece on my blog about this very subject. The Kindle forums are full of posts about writers getting this wrong.

    Carol x

  2. I hate text speech. I never use it because I think it only promotes laziness. A smart phone gives you a full keyboard. Use it.

    I am also less forgiving of mistakes made in short posts and emails. Mistakes in a book can be counted as an oversight. I write, so I understand how something can be missed in a larger work. But in posts and emails it is a sign of sheer laziness.

    But I almost always forgive comma abuse. I hate those little bastards, abuse those all you want.

  3. LMFAO! Whats' yer prob, m8, innit. Text speek is the future wear the cool kids hang n speek proper englund... blah di blah... bollox!!!

    Graham, it drives me bonkers, bud. With you all the way. Well said.


    1. Col,
      Their is no were safe for you to hide from me.

      Cheers mate

  4. Thanks for your support ladies. It's nice to know that I'm not the only one complaining about grammar.

    Lanie, the comma is the lowest of the punctation marks and regularly gets beaten up by the hyphens and forward slashes who are natural bullies.

  5. The errant apostrophe has me, by turns, bemused and frustrated....

    I also hate malapropisms, especially when the work is not designed to be humorous in the first place.

    Pet hate - people who say things like...'I pacifically said..' when they mean 'specific'. I had a former work colleague who used to do things like this all the time; it drove me mental, especially as we worked in a library and you'd expect a certain level of language-proficiency there!

  6. Hi Graham. I can lay a lot of the errors you mention not on "Text Speak," but on an error of judgment: Trusting Spell Check. In myself for that misplaced trust I lay the blame on that old, deadline-approaching-like-a-fast-freight-train-I-gotta-get-this-bastard-done-hit-the-send-button-and-be-done-with-it, syndrome . . . or just plain laziness. That said, I agree with you completely about the common errors you cite.

  7. You know you've made several gramatical errors in this post whinging about other people's shortcomings, don't you?

  8. Grammar errors irritate the hell out of me ... BUT I notice, with trembling fear that I am, in my, er, maturer years making errors I would never have done a few years ago. So yes I do try and check but ...