I have to admit that sometimes I don’t speak properly and there are times when my spelling, grammar and punctuation need editing (Just read any blog post). But I am aghast at how awful some people’s use of the English language has become. Too often I find myself silently correcting another’s speech. And sometimes not so silently – Rosko! It has become such a distraction that I find it hard at times to be in meetings with (allegedly) well-educated, professional people. I am afraid that this grammar (or lack thereof) problem has become nearly epidemic.
Let me give you some examples:
I have a customer who says “irregardless”. Irregardless? Really??? It’s not even a word! I have a work associate that routinely uses the word “exasperate” when he means to say “exacerbate”. Which I must admit, I find completely exasperating! And don’t get me started on using “I” or “myself” incorrectly instead of “me”. I guess some people think that they sound fancy when they say “I” instead of “me”. News flash: you only sound stupid when you use it incorrectly.
Being this correct all alone is exhausting. I need your help because this is not just limited to my circle of friends and acquaintances (although there is some serious verbal abuse – not that kind – going on with my work associates and family members). Recently at a family gathering someone commented that our two-year old granddaughter “Sure does talk good, don’t she?” We tried to shield the child.
Please share the load. Start correcting poor speakers. We owe to our children and our grandchildren. This problem is nationwide – worldwide and it’s time to right this wrong. I promise that tonight when you turn on the news you will hear folks butchering the English language. Especially some of those yokels who want to mandate that ‘English only’ is taught and spoken in our schools. I have a challenge for those people: start speaking English yourselves. And it’s pervasive. Even our past President couldn’t pronounce “nuclear”. This is a far-reaching and overwhelming issue. Celebrities, politicians, clergy, business leaders – all guilty of massacring our language.
Don’t get me wrong. I love regional dialects and accents and colloquialisms. I think that they are charming. My friends from Boston move their ‘R’s’ around – like taking the ‘R’ out of chowder (chowda) and placing it in ‘idea’ (idea-r). And my friends in Wisconsin routinely say things like, “Hit it once with a hammer a couple of times” or “Throw me down the steps a pack of cigarettes”. And my friends from the South will welcome “All y’all”. Even here in Saint Louis some folks make ‘O’s” sound like ‘A’s’, for example: horse is pronounced “harse” and corn is often called “carn”. And this can sometimes lead to humorous statements, like when our Deacon invites us to “Pray to the Lard”. I chuckle every time (Lard please forgive me).
I haven’t even taken the time to discuss poor writing skills. I’ll save that for later. Suffice to say, I receive e-mails that are so poorly written I sometimes feel that I need a ‘decoder’ to make sense of them. And don’t get me started on text messaging. It is truly the decline of our entire civilization. R U kiddin’ me?
So I’m calling all grammarians. Step it up! Do your part. Stop the abuse. Our precious language is counting on you.
P.S. Feel free to correct my grammar, spelling or punctuation in this post.