Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A Spelling Lesson

The spelling and grammar here on the web is deplorable, making me shudder so much that I'm probably about to develop a muscle condition. Doesn't anyone take English in school anymore? Have English teachers given up on teaching? Or do people just glory in looking stupid? Here are a few of my biggest pet peeves:

"ur" - Apparently, this cringe-worthy invention is supposed to be "your." If pronounced phonetically, "ur" would be pronounced rather like a growl. Since "your" is such an easy word to spell, I am unable to comprehend why anyone would deliberately spell it in this new fashion. Is it just a pitiful attempt to join the mindless masses of illiterates that pollute our nation? Certain new "internet generation words" serve the purpose of saving time in a typed conversation (such as "lol" instead of "laughing out loud"). Does shaving off the first two letters of the word "your" save a considerable amount of time? I guess it might, if your typing speed is two wpm ("words per minute" - see, another abbreviation that actually makes sense and saves time)!

"definately" - This is how most of America likes to spell the word "definitely." Not only is it wrong, but once again, if you pronounce this misspelled word the way it is spelled, you have something different from the intended word. "Definitely," when properly spelled, has the word "finite" in it. "Finite" means "having bounds or limits" - remarkably similar to the definition of "definitely."

"rediculous" and "rediculously" - These are supposed to be "ridiculous" and "ridiculously." Once again, the misspelling leads to the mispronunciation of the words. "Ridiculous" is an adjective which comes from the verb "ridicule." When in doubt as to how to spell something, try to think of another form of the word and see if that helps (i.e. If the word you want to spell is an adjective, see if it has a verb form that you know how to spell).

"random" - This word is spelled perfectly, but the overuse of it is starting to become reminiscent of that old favorite, "like," which filled in half the words of most teenage girls' conversations during the 1990s (and, sadly, even since then). Everything today is "random." I have seen so many "random" photo albums posted on Facebook that I am starting to randomly foam at my random mouth every time I randomly see one. Here, for the benefit of all, are some other words you might like to try: designless, aimless, slapdash, purposeless, desultory, haphazard, chance, indiscriminate. More often than not, when people use "random," they really mean "miscellaneous." In that case, why not try these words: assorted, diverse, heterogenous, jumbled, sundry. Stop sounding exactly like everyone else and be your own person! Enrich your vocabulary and rise above the huddled masses of blubbering imbeciles!

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"Passage—immediate passage! the blood burns in my veins! Away, O soul! hoist instantly the anchor!
Cut the hawsers—haul out—shake out every sail!
Have we not stood here like trees in the ground long enough?
Have we not grovell’d here long enough, eating and drinking like mere brutes?
Have we not darken’d and dazed ourselves with books long enough?

Sail forth! steer for the deep waters only!
Reckless, O soul, exploring, I with thee, and thou with me;
For we are bound where mariner has not yet dared to go, And we will risk the ship, ourselves and all.

O my brave soul!
O farther, farther sail!
O daring joy, but safe! Are they not all the seas of God?
O farther, farther, farther sail!"

~Walt Whitman, "Passage to India"