Now then: I have a busy day with errands in town and responses to write to several bids for work, one of which may have me traveling again; more on that later. So today’s post will just be a little musing. On what topic, you ask? Well, I’m going to tell you a few of the reasons I weep for the death of written English.
First: What has happened to the question mark? I’m seeing more and more people write what appears to be a query, but framing it thus: “Why would anyone want to ride a bicycle in a big city.”
That’s wrong, of course. The correct punctuation would be “Why would anyone want to ride a bicycle in a big city?” But for some reason the question marks is going away. I’m seeing this more and more, including by some folks who should know better.
Second: “On accident.” No! This is wrong! Stop doing it! It should be “by accident.”
Third: ALL CAPS. It just makes the writer look like a strident asshole. I’ve long had a rule here on this blog, which I hasten to note is my personal property, that people who comment in ALL CAPS will have their comments edited to remove the ALL CAPS. I won’t change their wording, but I hate ALL CAPS and will remove them. So there. And what bugs me almost as much are people who can’t be arsed to use caps at all, even where it’s proper to do so.
Capital letters should be used appropriately. Doing so makes the difference between helping your Uncle Jack off a horse and helping your uncle jack off a horse.
Fourth: Apostrophes. Here’s a guide to using them correctly:
Fifth: Stupid use of single letters. I’m talking about “u” for “you” or “r” for “are.” It’s two furshlugginer keystrokes. Type it out, so you don’t look like a moron.
I suppose I’m more persnickety about this stuff than a lot of folks. Being a writer who is married to an editor and publisher has something to do with that, I’m sure. But think on it: Here in the virtual world, the only thing we have to judge one another on is the skill with which we employ the written word. It’s in our best interest, if we want to be taken seriously, to do a good job of it.