So I had an interesting thread on Facebook. Improper use of language irritates me. Most things are not that difficult and I don't understand why people write so abysmally. I'm not referring to complicated things, just simple things that anyone who went to school should know.
Blatant errors bother me even more when they are committed by people who should strive to do better. For instance, anyone who teaches a child should know the basics. Or care enough to learn them. People who are arrogant about their intelligence should know how to use words properly. Anyone who cares about getting the true meaning of something written should understand that word choice matters. And, for crying out loud, if you are promoting yourself as an editor/proofreader, your business advertisement should be free of errors.
Last night I couldn't stop myself from posting about a new trend I've seen. I'll save the specifics for a later post. But it has cropped up in so many places that I had to inquire of my editor/English major husband if I had been wrong all these years. He, and a few others, assured me I hadn't.
So when I saw it in an ad for editing services, I had to comment. Yes, on Facebook. I got an interesting reply. Someone said that while rewording would make it clearer, it was still understandable as it was. Dialect was also mentioned as an excuse.
This started me thinking. Do things like grammar, punctuation and word choice really matter? I believe they do. Here are a few reasons why.
1) Understanding great written works. I'm not talking about the latest romance novel or thriller, although it is possible that those authors also use deliberate language. I'm referring to books that are crafted. Where the writer knows exactly what he is intending to say. (I am using the grammatically correct "he" to avoid the incorrect "they" or the cumbersome "s/he." It is not meant to imply that only men can write well.) For those wondering, this includes the Bible. A change of one word can alter the meaning. Example: A lord versus the Lord. So can any number of "little" things that are often dismissed as inconsequential. For a crude example on capitalization I offer this sentence from a friend's wall: