About six weeks ago I wrote a blog post where I outlined some of the most annoying grammar and spelling errors that I see and hear every single day. These things make me cringe every time I hear or see them, because the culprits usually know the difference but don’t care enough to do things properly.
Ever since writing that post, and even for years before, I’ve been wrestling with this “way of life.” Scrutinizing everything that everybody says on the radio, television, and in print can be exhausting, and knowing the difference can make me really angry sometimes. I can’t help it, I grew up reading a lot and my mother was an English teacher. I’m wired to scrutinize my work and correct my own mistakes, and since I can do it why can’t others?
One time in the ninth grade, at the height of MSN Messenger and the adoption of “IM abbreviations,” I was handwriting an English essay in class and accidentally wrote “you” as “u.” I caught myself, stopped, corrected, and vowed to never do it again. And I haven’t since.
I text in proper English (and the occasional emoji), I contact websites when I notice errors in their copy (only the really bad ones), friends have actually called me a robot because of my word choice, and other friendships have ended because people thought I was pretentious. I don’t like being hated on for doing things correctly.
Recently, the Oxford English Dictionary announced their pick for 2015 “Word of the Year”…
Oxford’s “Word of the Year” is this emoji https://t.co/JxTDhIYtVE
— TIME.com (@TIME) November 17, 2015
This is extremely interesting, and sums up a culture shift that we’ve experience over the past year. Why do I bring this up? Because of this tweet by one of my idols, Gary Vaynerchuk:
Times change … U can cry about it or adjust to it .. You choose … https://t.co/JFA1UTArBm — Gary Vaynerchuk (@garyvee) November 17, 2015
I’ve thought about this a lot recently. Should I, or even can I, suppress my affinity for maintaining the English language’s integrity? Should I, or even can I, accept the fact that everyone is going to to continue to say “There is a lot of things…” or confusing “there / they’re / their,” or overusing the word “literally”?
I obviously can’t fight it, because whenever anyone uses grammar incorrectly, they’re teaching everyone else to do it incorrectly as well. But how do I turn off that switch in my brain and practice ignorance about these things?
I’m genuinely asking. Please tell me what I’m supposed to do.
I guess I’ll end this by poking a little fun at myself. I definitely have more tact than this, though…