Prior to the 20th century, people spoke and wrote English very eloquently. I don’t understand what happened after 1899. Today even people who have graduated from an “institute of higher learning” speak about as eloquently as high school dropouts.
For instance, when I watch meteorologists on TV, all university graduates, and hear them say, “…it depends on where you’re at.” I cringe. Oh, my God. And they graduated from a university? Don’t universities make English a required course?
That is just egregious English grammar! Never, never end a sentence with the word “at”. It is just godawful! “Where are you at?” and “Where are you?” both say the same thing, but “at” is a preposition and is redundant. “At” refers to a location. So does “where”. All that needs to be said is, “Where are you?” or “It depends on where you are.” You would figure someone with a Bachelor’s degree would know that.
TV people, especially journalists (who call themselves “wordsmiths” [HA!]), should be able to speak their native tongue (English) without such horrendous grammatical errors. By murdering the language and broadcasting it to the public, they are only endorsing such bad grammar usage to young people who are still in school. College graduates, especially those on TV, need to be aware of their inexcusable errors. Their “editors”, their producers even, should point out such terrible usage.
I am a former print journalist, and what is ironic is that when I was in high school I hated English grammar. But after going to college and studying both Journalism and English Composition, I developed an appreciation for English grammar. I had to make it a point to speak and write English correctly, if I was going to be a writer and call myself a “wordsmith”.
Another misuse of an English word that aggravates me, as well, even if it is “accepted usage”, is using “over” instead of using “more than”.
For instance, “more than” refers to a quantity, while “over” refers to a physical place, mostly. It is incorrect to say, “There are over 50 people here.” It is correct to say, “There are more than 50 people here.” Do you see the difference? You would use “over” like this: “The Municipal Bridge goes over the river,” but not like this: “The Municipal Bridge is over 1,000 feet long.” No, the Municipal Bridge is “more than” 1,000 feet long. “More than” is referring to a measurement; a quantity. “Over” is referring to something that is physically “over” something else.
“There are clouds over the park.” Correct. “Pearl Harbor happened over 70 years ago.” WRONG! “Pearl Harbor happened more than 70 years ago.” CORRECT!
I wish people would stop using “over” when they mean “more than”. It just bugs me to no end when people misuse “over”.
“I waited over four hours.” Wrong. “I waited more than four hours.” Correct.
I know there are people who will make some snide comments about English grammar and about me concerning this, but I make it a point to speak and write my native tongue as correctly as I know how. I make a concerted effort to not end a sentence in a preposition like “with” or “at”. It is just grammatically wrong. There is nothing wrong with wanting to speak and write correctly—and even eloquently. However, I am not always right. I do make mistakes, but the point is that I try to avoid making egregious grammar errors.
Other errors you will find all across the Internet:
- your instead of you’re “Your driving too fast.” That sentence makes no sense.
- to instead of too “You’re driving to fast.” Driving to where? To fast? Where is “fast”? Is that like a town or something? You are driving to fast?
- Loose instead of Lose “If you are not careful, you will loose it.” Loose it? You mean like you need a wrench to tighten it? If you drop it, will you “loose” it? I know you wouldn’t want to “loose” your life, right? You could keep from “loosing” your life if you carry a wrench and a pair of pliers with you. (Idiots!) So, if you might “loose” your life, if you don’t make sure a screw is tight, will that make something “lose”? OMG! And the people who write like that actually GRADUATED from high school? How the hell did that happen?
Also, many people do not use spell check or ignore the little red squiggly lines under words when they write. Usually, there is no excuse for incorrectly spelled words when spell check and the red lines are available. It is just laziness.
My respect for someone who says, “Where are you at?” drops down a notch as soon as I hear that.
If someone is seeking a job where one or more of the duties requires writing reports, using “your” instead of “you’re” or “to” instead of “too” or vice versa on the application could blow their application and resume right out of the water. If I was doing the hiring or interviews, mistakes like that would make me put the applications on the “reject” pile right away. Instant reject.
Again, there is nothing wrong with wanting to speak and write your native language correctly. It is humiliating to hear a foreigner speak English better than an American citizen, and it happens all too often.
In conclusion, as much as you might dislike this, it is a fact:
People are going to judge you all your life on your appearance, the way you speak and the way you write.
I wish people would still write and speak as they did 200 years ago. English can be a beautiful language–if people made the effort to make it so, again.
- It’s Not You, It’s Your Grammar (spectacularlyfamous.wordpress.com)
- Perpetuating grammar myths (michcommunication.wordpress.com)
- Grammar! (lulzyreviews.wordpress.com)
- Don’t Forget: Bad Writing Reflects Poorly on Your Brand Too (blogs.constantcontact.com)