It’s time to get back to basics with the English language

Published Jan 8, 2014 at 6:17 am (Updated Jan 7, 2014 at 9:57 am)

The English language is constantly evolving, with new words added to the Oxford Dictionary each year. A sample of 2013 entries includes iOS, frack, hackable, appletini, flexitarian and house-made.

What seems to be devolving is the grasp that seemingly educated people have on the English language. A quick glance at a Facebook or Twitter feed reveals grammar mistakes that should not have been made past elementary school – not knowing the difference between your and you’re; the difference between two, too and to; saying anyways as opposed to anyway. The list could go on and on.

But the infractions to the English language do not stop at social media, where often, when people are called out, their (not there or they’re) excuse is that it’s just social media, ergo they can be lazy – abbreviating you down to “u” in order to fit a statement into 140 characters is acceptable, not knowing the difference between are and our is not. No, the butchering of the English language can be seen on signage in doctors’ offices: “If you are more then 15 minutes late...” We’ve also spotted this atrocity at a local car wash: “No toe hitches.”

There is also the all too (not two or to) common “I seen something.” How about, “I saw something” or “I have seen something?” If one is unsure, a quick test is to just listen to how it sounds.

There is no doubt that English is one of the most confusing and difficult languages to learn, with tricky spellings, synonyms, conjugations of verbs, and so on. However, these are basic language concepts that are taught in school. It is painful, to say the least, to see people with high school and college educations making such rudimentary mistakes.

Perhaps it’s (not its) time to open up an elementary English textbook and get back to basics. We’re (not were) not suggesting that people begin diagraming sentences, but we do hope that they will stop being so apathetic and lazy, begin putting a little more thought into what they speak and type.

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