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A Rant

It seems that over the last few years the quality of people’s spelling and grammar is getting worse rather than improving.


Poor grammar: particularly by designers and signwriters who can’t spell or punctuate…

Apologies in advance for being a pedant, but I just have to get this off my chest. It’s about time I had a little rant – my therapist says it’s good to release anger in an effective and constructive way. So here goes…

It seems that over the last few years the quality of people’s spelling and grammar is getting worse rather than improving. One reason for this could be a lowering of standards in our education system. Perhaps teachers are not making students aware of their spelling and grammatical errors, perhaps they are not even teaching pupils the fundamental rules anymore?

One thing is for sure and that is there are more and more examples of poor spelling and grammar leaking into public view each day. The problem is, that with typographic errors in greater prominence throughout our everyday lives, there becomes an acceptance for it and it becomes the norm. For those of us that can spell and have a love of language, this can be quite upsetting and, for me personally being in the communication business, all the more so. It drives me demented :)) .

So who is really to blame for these typographic catastrophes in public view? Sadly, it is the graphic designers, website designers and signwriters who print, publish and display their mistakes and thus add to the global dumbing down. It’s shocking really to think that in these days of businesses attempting to meet certified levels of quality control, with food and hygiene standards having to be met and website designers themselves hoping to achieve W3C accessibility and usability standards… that there are so many in the communication business that are unable to actually communicate properly.

My top 4 (yes, four!) gripes, grumbles and irks…

Misuse of the Apostrophe

The picture (top of page) is a shocking abomination by a local signwriter. Frankly the proprietor of Kitchens & Wardrobes should sue the signwriter, but I doubt s/he can even see the problem in their sign. This is a perfect example of misusing an apostrophe. The word “wardrobes” is a plural, it does not need an apostrophe to signify ownership or a contraction… Every time I pass their showroom my pedantic and irritated brain is thinking “Kitchens and Wardrobe’s what?”. Get it right!

Idiots’ Gallery

Stationery object

It amazes me to see the amount of graphic designers who profess to designing “stationary” in their printed materials and website biographies. I’ve even seen stationers advertising their “stationary” items… Again, my pedantic and irritated brain is wondering if any of these items will ever move or are they destined to remain in the stationer’s shop forever? The correct word is “stationery”, now get it right!

You’re or your?

It saddens me to think that the word “you’re” (contraction of “you are”) is disappearing from everyday written language. It has been usurped by its similar-sounding and easier to type relative, “your”. This is wrong, now stop using “your” when you mean “you’re”. Get it right! But, if you want to keep being misunderstood and misinterpreted by those of us who can read, well, that’s you’re prerogative.

Oh… shit!

txt spk

Need I say any more about the abomination that is texting language? I feel I have to, sorry!

I used to have a webmaster role for a forum here in Ireland for a number of years and I had to moderate the posts as part of my role. Which, unfortunately, meant I had to read a lot of threads. There were many that could use our language proficiently and their posts were a pleasure to read, yet, there were those who insisted on communicating in “txt spk” even though they had a beautiful full ‘qwerty’ keyboard sat in front of them to communicate with. So I was subjected to reading posts that contained abbreviations such as “de” and “da” replacing the perfectly correct and only ONE letter extra, “the”, and then the wonderful “der”, which I discovered means either “there”, or “they’re” and even “their”. Now, if I was talking to you face-to-face, would you punctuate your sentences with “dis”, “dat”, “de” and “der”?

No, you wouldn’t.

Would you?

Now breathe… and relax!


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