Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Why-yi-yi-yi-yi Don't You Use It...Correctly?

As you all know by now, I am a social networking junkie. I'm not nearly as bad as I used to be, but I rarely start a day without at least checking in to see what the rest of you people are doing (because I really do have to live my life vicariously through other people).

I frequently go throughout my day thinking about what to put as my status for the day, and I love to post pictures of random little things while I'm out and about. I love reading everyone's articles and looking at their pictures and re-posting their clever little pictures and links so that people think I'm clever too. Because isn't social networking just a giant exercise in narcissism? We all just want to throw our lives up on the screen for other people to see, Like, comment on, and secretly be jealous of. And I love that.

(This is primarily referring to Facebook, by the way...I neglect my poor little blog so terribly.)

But there is one thing I really DON'T love about social networking (okay, there are actually at least three, but I'll stick to the topic as best I can): Lack. Of. Style.

And no, I am not referring to fashion. Not at all, although there are some cases where I definitely should be. What I'm referring to is the blatant disregard for the rules of basic grammar, spelling, punctuation, and usage.

I am, on a daily basis, appalled by how lazy people can be when they're typing. And yeah, I's just supposed to be for fun and we're not being graded and blah, blah, blah. But if you really think about it, you ARE being graded--this is how you present yourself to the world, and I guarantee it has an effect on how people see and think of you. And, dammit, people I bother to friend (yes, it's a verb now) are not unintelligent people (I think I got rid of all those)--most of them should know better.

But, you know, the saddest part about the whole thing is how widely accepted poor grammar and usage is becoming. It's sneaking into books and style guides (there actually IS an Internet style guide, which is the best contradiction in terms I've ever heard) and dictionaries, because we'd rather just accept the error instead of learning the mechanics.

Because we can remember passwords for twenty different online accounts, we can remember to water our virtual farm crops, we can remember to post the photos of what we had for lunch yesterday, but we can't remember when to use a possessive and when to use a contraction (if your brain isn't getting what this means, you're one of the people I'm talking about).

I'm SO glad I bothered to get a Master's degree in this shit.

I know I've posted repeatedly on the common things that go on online. I've ranted about their/there/they're, I've gone on about when to use I and when to use me, and I've definitely gone on about how to spell DEFINITELY. Those things, I hope, will always be incorrect and will never be accepted. They never will by me, anyway.

So I think today I'll dig a little deeper and direct this rant toward words that probably 99% of people (or 75% of people on my page) don't know they're using incorrectly--and some of these have wormed their way so deeply into common usage that they're even used in dictionaries, despite my jumping up and down in protest. So, without further ado, I will present the:

Top 5 Words I Swear to God You Use Incorrectly

5) Nauseous. If you're trying to get out of work early to go see a Cubs game, and you tell your boss, "I need to go home because I'm nauseous," you've basically just told him or her that you need to go home because you are making other people feel ill. In which case, you should stay the hell away from Wrigley unless you have a seat directly behind the opposing team's dugout. What you should say is that you feel nauseated. Nauseous means "causing nausea," nauseated means "suffering from nausea." You're welcome, Jane.

4) Literally. I was behind the most annoying couple in the entire world at the bookshop the other day, and the girl said to her boyfriend, "Ohmigod, it was SO funny! I literally died laughing!" And I literally had to bite my tongue to keep from screaming, "Ohmigod! A zombie!" Because I'm pretty sure she wouldn't have understood what I was talking about.

So I'll say this to her now: If something literally happened, dumbass, it means it really, truly, actually happened. And, as much as I wish it were true so that you were on your way to becoming worm food and your douchebag Sagger (Google it) boyfriend was hitting on your BFF at your so-sad funeral instead of you both being all up in my personal space with your bad Britney perfume, lowering my IQ by the millisecond, it really just didn't. Damn.

(Whew! Can you tell I've been holding on to that one for awhile?)

3) Snuck. Honestly, I don't know where we get this one. The past tense of sneak is sneaked. And I don't give a blessed damn what the dictionary is accepting these days. I hate it so much when people say this--it makes grown-ups sound like 5-year-olds.

2) Further. This word does not...I repeat, does NOT...mean "even farther." Farther refers to distance. Further refers to time, concepts...things that aren't physical. I'd explain it further, but I find myself getting farther away from my point.

1) (And oh my god, you're going to hate me for this one) Hopefully. Hopefully is an adverb. Dammit. It is not supposed to be used to say that you hope something is going to happen ("Hopefully, I'll get a pony for my birthday!"), but EVERYONE DOES IT! What you should be saying is hopeful. "I am hopeful that I'm going to get a pony for my birthday" (or, even easier "I hope I..."). "I asked my parents hopefully, but they still won't let me have one."


So, there...I said it. And no, poor grammar and misused words are not going to keep me from my online addiction. But it will always give me something to write and rant about.



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