About five years ago, I found myself sitting in a third-year writing class with about fifty other students. One day, the professor – who was a reporter at the local newspaper – returned an assignment to us. A few minutes later, I almost lost my mind.
Not because I did poorly on the assignment; I didn’t.
I’m a genius. But because other people did poorly. As a result, the professor used the opportunity to teach us the difference between to, two, and too; there, their, and they’re; as well as effect and affect.
I wanted to scream, but that’s only acceptable in drama class.
So I sat there and suffered.
The professor went through each word and asked the class what they meant. I refused to raise my hand.
We made it through the first round of homophones, unscathed.
When we got to they’re, a guy raised his hand and said, “It’s possessive. Like, they’re ball.”
They are ball. Lord give me strength.
I haven’t told anyone this, but that was the cause of my death. I was dead as soon as his words hit my ears. Since that moment, I have been experiencing life as a ghost, like Casper. It’s not bad; a bit nippy in the winter, though.
When we got to affect and effect, a genius in the front row said that affect was the past tense of effect.
I couldn’t believe the stupidity. I still can’t.
This was a writing course, full of writers. That’s what I thought, at least. I thought if anyone in this class was going to be the village idiot, it would be me – the Sport Management major.
I didn’t know a single person in the room and never got the memo that told me I needed a specific haircut to match my fitted pants and “nice” shirt. I wore sweatpants and a t-shirt to every lecture. It was very clear, to me at least, that I didn’t belong.
And yet, I knew the difference between all of these words. I knew them about ten years prior, if not more. This class was bread and I was lathering it with butter for three hours, each week.
Which brings me to the purpose of this post.
Have people given up on words and their meanings? Do people even care about the words they write anymore?
When did it become cool to misspell words?
I received a text message the other night from a wrong number. This is what it said:
“Yo I’m headin home soontime u guna b there long cuz I can cop ur scarf.”
I threw up on my phone and needed to replace it.
Was it really that difficult to add a “g” to “headin”? How about an “e” to the “b”?
I just don’t get it. It bothers me.
I’ve been in text conversations and chats online like that before, where the person I’m talking to leaves letters out of words and makes some up along the way.
I used to face an internal struggle whenever I received messages like that. Do I text back using their lingo? Or do I text back and include every letter in every word. My default mode is to spell the words correctly, but sometimes I wouldn’t. I would dumb myself down to fit the conversation.
I don’t do that anymore. It’s too difficult for me to type out “u” instead of “you”.
The internet brought about internet-speak. I get it. But why do we need it? Are we really saving time by writing “ur” instead of “your”? What are we doing? Why can’t we all just type properly? As if we’re writing a book.
All throughout school, I thought that by the time I reached university I would be surrounded by people who knew how to write proper sentences. I wasn’t. I hated group projects, as a result, because I had to edit everyone else’s work.
Do people even care when they post a status, or caption, on social media and misspell words? It drives me nuts. I can’t take them seriously.
Yes, I’m happy you had a nice birthday but what is a “birtday”?
But I can’t say anything. I would sound like the crazy one. Picking on other people for using abbreviations and not spelling words correctly? How dare I? How dare I expect words to be used properly?
I’d be called a grammar nazi or a stickler, just because I want to see every letter accounted for in the word “your”.
And that’s the problem. No one cares.
I don’t mind some abbreviations like “cuz” and “tmrw”.
The internet is full of trolls who sit in front of a screen all day, fingers ready to pounce on the newest post they see.
I really don’t know which is worse – Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram – in regards to people leaving insulting comments on popular pages. I find myself questioning a stranger’s motive on an hourly basis.
Are people that desperate for attention, or think it doesn’t matter that they go on a celebrity’s page and call them a “fat pig”?
Who raised these people to be such losers?
They’re throwing insults around as frequently as coins getting tossed in the fountain at the mall.
Today I saw the words, “Om Telolet Om” all over social media. I looked up what it meant, but already forget. It doesn’t matter. What’s the point?
Do people think they’re funny? They’re not. And if people think they are, then I promise to never crack another joke ever again on this blog because clearly my kind of humour isn’t what gets a giggle anymore.
Moment of silence for all the laughs you and I may never share.
We’re in a world where pictures, videos, and senseless comments are taking over. Twitter has a character limit because people don’t want to read anything too long.
It feels like words are losing their place. As if reading something for ten minutes, on a screen, is too much of a hassle.
I hope this isn’t the case.
As a blogger, words are all I have. You can read any “Tips for a Successful Blog” article you want, they’ll all say the same things.
1. Have pictures, so your readers have something to look at.
2. Tell your readers what days you plan on posting, so they know to look for it.
3. Have a specific theme.
I don’t really follow any of these tips. The theme of this blog is me. I’ll write whenever I want. And I rarely put pictures on my blog.
I rarely use pictures because I don’t want to take away from the words I’m writing. If you’re looking at my photos, why should I bother writing anything? I want you to look at my words.
My high school English teacher always said, “let every word tell”. I think my writing style reflects that.
I’m not sitting here thinking of superfluous words to add to my post. I’m not trying to sound smart by adding big words,
except for “superfluous”. I’m just trying to let my thoughts come through as clearly as possible.
When you use a keyboard to communicate with someone “on the other end”, all you have are your words. You don’t have the benefit of hand gestures, facial expressions, or any other elements of body language.
There are just words. How you use those words should matter.
So when I see text messages that look like they’ve been chewed up by a dog, or meaningless and/or repulsive comments on social media, or even a society fascinated by bottle flip videos instead of thought-provoking articles, it kinda really irks me.
A lot of educated people have no clue how to write properly; they don’t even try. That’s a problem.
I’m not perfect. This blog post probably has more errors than I would’ve liked.
But I think words still matter. They have to.