Monday, 22 October 2007

Snark

I'm not normally the type to complain, but I do get upset when people use incorrect grammar or spelling. It's involuntary, I can't help it, and it often gets me into trouble. There is no nice way to correct people's grammar or spelling; no matter how much you smile you're still saying "you suck at your native language".

Worst offence? "Hope your well". It's "you're", people!

Anyway, I was pleased to see that grammar and spelling nazis have their place on the interwebs. I love this blog, which highlights the "unnecessary" use of "quotation marks" (especially as they accepted my humble submission), and also this one which, literally, tracks abuse of incorrect use of the word literally. Thank you.

And now I've declared my dislike of these errors, I'm sure someone will find such an error somewhere on my blog. I offer a prize to the first person to find one, and a prize-and-a-pint if you happen to find one in this article. Good luck.

PS While I'm on the subject of pet peeves, can we please extend the national curriculum so the next generation don't get Big Ben mixed up with the Palace of Westminster Clock Tower (also sometimes called St.Stephen's Tower)? Even the mighty Beeb have got this wrong today. Grr.

14 comments:

Craig Cook said...

I could be pedantic and say that postscript should be 'P.S.' and not 'PS', but I do agree with you :).
There's no harm in trying to be grammatically correct, I think that some people think that just because they're on-line they no longer speak English.

bethany said...

All these years I thought Big Ben was the name of the clock. I even have like 5 pictures of it from my visit to London. Thanks for that bit of information!

Phil Whitehouse said...

Craig, you're absolutely right. I owe you a beer. The prize is recognition for spotting the "deliberate" mistake.

Bethany, glad I could be of assistance. But given the topic of this blog posting, I will have to pull you up over the unnecessary addition of the word "like" in your comment.... ;-)

Kerry Buckley said...

In a similar vein to The “Blog” of “Unnecessary” Quotation Marks are Apostrophe Abuse and Apostrophism.

There's also a FaceBook group called I Judge You When You Use Poor Grammar.

Incidentally, Hart's Rules says ‘As a general rule, abbreviations and contractions should be followed by a full point unless the shortened form consists of upper-case initials or is a recognized acronym pronounced as a single word: thus print BBC, HMS…’, so I reckon ‘PS’ is correct.

FND said...

I admit it, I'm a grammar nazi too, and I'm glad I'm not the only one...
(The abuse of quotation marks was new to me - and, oh boy, that's just wrong!)

As for post scriptum, I personally think there should be a colon after that - but I guess that's a different issue...

Phil Whitehouse said...

Hmmm....maybe that pint is in danger, Craig!

FND said...

There's another error in your TiddlyWiki in BT posting:
bundled with it's own equivalent

PS: I donate any pints you might owe me to the National Children's Homes charity...

Phil Whitehouse said...

OK, reeling from the horror of having my grammar corrected by a German bloke, but you're absolutely right. I always mess up "it's" and "its". I'm fairly sure that one of my teachers gave me bad advice when I was younger, because I remain convinced (incorrectly) that "it's" is a "belonging word"; that is to say, my sentence is correct (which it isn't).

I'm not giving a pint of lager to children, though; you can't give a baby booze. But I'm open to alternatives.

FND said...

To be fair, it's often easier for us ESL people to spot such errors; we usually start with the written language, which makes confusing homophones (e.g. its/it's, there/their/they're) less of an issue.

FND said...

As for the baby booze, don't be such a killjoy...
Also, our resident medic suggested that wasn't such a bad idea, actually - and he should know.

[sorry for double-posting; combine the two comments if you can]

Chelle said...

I am not a grammar nazi so there will undoubtably be errors in my comment. Apologies in advance. Is it possible that "have got this wrong...", should actually read "have gotten this wrong"?

Phil Whitehouse said...

Well, Chelle, the great thing about snarking is that there are plenty of people doing it! A quick Google search for 'gotten' reveals the likely truth; it's a word still used in the States (although sometimes in the wrong context), and has dropped out of common parlance in the UK (where I'm from). "Got" is fine in both countries, so no beer for you I'm afraid.

http://www-personal.umich.edu/~jlawler/aue/gotten.html

http://www.wsu.edu:8080/~brians/errors/got.html

Often in these cases there is no right or wrong, just a matter of opinion. Although, being a Brit, I think that, in any dispute between British English and American English, the mother country should prevail.

However it is interesting to see language evolving (especially as it spreads around the globe).

FND said...

So the real question is, are we prescriptive or are we descriptive linguists...
(I vote for the prescriptive route, with severe punishment for any repeat offenders - eventually resulting in a ban from the interwebs.)

Chelle said...

That's very interesting. I wouldn't have thought that Brit English would have forgotten gotten. It seems as though it happenned there ahead of the US. We Aussies are keeping it I think.