Bill and I had a wonderful night at Jumeirah Hotel in Frankfurt, where we also had a very good dinner. This morning, as I was waking up on exquisite sheets in the very fancy skyline room I booked on account of our anniversary, I read an interesting thread in the Duggar Family News Facebook Group. Someone shared a photo of a post made by Carlin Bates… okay, she probably has a new last name, but I don’t follow the Bates family. To be honest, I quit reading after the third word of Carlin’s post because it was very poorly written. Here’s a screenshot.
I initially only read the first three words of this post, but I noticed that it was about pregnant women holding their bellies. I mention that I do that too, only I have a beer gut. I thought that would be the end of it, until I happened to read a rather contentious altercation that erupted when someone dared to correct a person who wrote “Duggar’s” when they really meant “Duggars”. Here are some screenshots of the epic debate.
I was obviously late to the party, because I was celebrating my wedding anniversary. Still, I was a bit shocked that one poster thinks that someone who corrects another person’s grammar is “classist”. You know, I get why it would be annoying to have to deal with grammar snobs, and I can sorta see the argument in the whole “you had access to better schools than I did”, thing. On the other hand, I have heard and known of many people who rose above poverty and made it their mission to learn how to speak and write properly in their own native language. The stuff I typically complain about, and what the people in that thread were upset about, are things most folks learn in early childhood. We’re talking first, second, and third grade language arts! I know not all schools are created equally, but this is elementary school we’re discussing.
I get that people get screwed up by the auto-correct on their phones. It annoys the hell out of me, too. The problem is, when you post something like “my sister’s and I”, other people think it’s correct and follow suit. Before you know it, you have dozens or people writing “The Smith’s” because they’ve seen others do it, and can’t be bothered to find out if that’s right. You only need to use an apostrophe in certain situations. You don’t need it if you simply wish to make a plural, and that includes last names. Don’t sign your Christmas card, “The Smith’s” or whatever, unless you are intending to show possession. Pointing this out doesn’t make someone “classist”. That’s ridiculous.
I also think that browbeating a perfect stranger on the Internet for correcting another person’s spelling or grammar, especially when you don’t know them from Adam and are accusing them of being “condescending”, is a prime example of pot meeting kettle. For some of us, reading poorly written stuff is highly annoying and a huge waste of time. If you can’t form basic sentences with proper grammar and spelling, why would I want to know what you think? You could be brilliant, but if I have to work super hard to understand you, I probably won’t make the effort. Is it potentially my loss? Maybe. But I would submit that putting that poorly written crap out for the masses is a waste of your time and energy, particularly when it’s so easy NOT to make these basic mistakes.
It may make me look like a “condescending asshole” to correct your grammar and spelling, but putting poorly written posts riddled with elementary mistakes makes you look ignorant and lazy. And if you are writing with the aid of a computer, smart phone or tablet with Internet access, you have even less of an excuse. You don’t even have to haul out the dictionary to get the proper spelling or usage. Just visit http://www.dictionary.com. I do it all the time. I also use grammar sites when I need a refresher on things… you know, because one too many people have written “sister’s and me” when they really mean “sisters and I”.
I may be a grammar snob, but I’m certainly not classist. It doesn’t take a lot of money to avoid these basic mistakes, particularly if English is your native language. Honestly… if the worst you can say about me is that I’m a grammar snob, I think I’m doing alright. By the way, my guess is that most people who are guilty of making these mistakes DO know better. They just can’t be arsed to fix their mistakes.