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Column: Facebook and the written word

TNH Columnist

Published: Thursday, April 12, 2012

Updated: Thursday, April 12, 2012 23:04

Scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed, it is so painfully obvious that people our age can’t construct a proper sentence. If you’re over the age of at least seven or eight, you should know the difference between “your” and “you’re.” If you don’t, you probably should go back to the third grade. No offense. But really. As I’ve been noticing this though, I began to wonder why the lack of grammatical competency in our generation is so high. I began to wonder if this has anything to do with our generation’s increased use of technology.

People could have problems with spelling, punctuation and grammar for many reasons. I think that our constant use of technology may be partially to blame, though. I know that people shorten words to save time or space all the time, but I’m talking about when I see people completely butchering the simplest of words. As we constantly type and text everything, we move so quickly that we forget to take time to actually check if our sentences make sense. As time goes on, some people forget the proper way certain sentence structures even work.

I’m not suggesting that our generation is dumb, but I’m thinking more along the lines of lazy. We think spellcheck will catch all of our mistakes. Well, it doesn’t. It just sets up this mindset in people that they can be sloppy with spelling and grammar and the computer will just fix it for you. I feel like if most people our age and those still in high school had to sit down with a pen and paper to write, it would be alarming. People have stopped taking the time to actually learn and care about how to write properly. If you can’t construct a proper sentence, you probably won’t do very well in a professional career.

Another thing I’ve wondered, though, is whether or not it’s real. Can people actually write well, but choose not to do so online? I see people’s Facebook statuses and it looks like lyrics from a rap song or something. I know they don’t talk like that, so why write like that? Is their incorrect spelling and grammar an attempt to prove something, or come off a certain way? Last time I checked, spelling “that” as “dat” was not cool. Just stop. You’re embarrassing yourself. Imagine a potential employer looking at your Facebook profile. “Oh, she’s the perfect candidate! Too bad it looks like her statuses were updated by a 5-year-old.”

I think people need to slow down on the Internet and actually take time to think about how they’re writing something before they hit the share button. Why wouldn’t you want to know how to properly write your own language? It’s embarrassing that a lot of people can’t. I think if we all stopped relying so heavily on spellcheck and autocorrect, then we could actually write as if we knew a thing or two about our own language. People should also care a little more because I know most don’t mind that their spelling is so awful. I think they would care though if they found out how unintelligent everyone thinks they are.

As said by George Bernard Shaw in the play Pygmalion, “Remember that you are a human being with a soul and the divine gift of articulate speech: that your native language is the language of Shakespeare.” Shakespeare didn’t need spellcheck for Hamlet, so why does our generation need one for status updates?

Katherine Gardner is a sophomore who will be writing about technology.

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Mon Apr 16 2012 20:49
Oh please tell me this a joke.
Mon Apr 16 2012 20:47
Ironic that this is so poorly written.

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