The standard of written English seems to have taken a radical nosedive in the last few years. So much so that I begin to feel like written English is almost a second language to many on the internet.
So many times I see ANGRY SHOUTY PEOPLE who haven’t discovered that you can turn off the caps lock key. Others who write in lowercase and forget that occasionally the beginning of a sentance and people’s names might like the odd capital at the front. Then there’s tHe onEs WhO wRiTE liKe TheY ArE ransoming a Teddy. Yet more treat punctuation like a game of pin the tail on the Donkey. And a little grammatical note: there should not be a space between the word and the question/exclamation mark. I’ve also seen those who have heard about punctuation, but haven’t worked out that commas and full stops don’t like to be out on their own, but prefer to tag on the end of a word.
Then there’s the semi colon and the apostrophe – don’t get me started on them! The apostrophe denotes the possessive as well as standing in for missing words in contractions. Only a small number of unusual plurals might need them (like date numbers: 1980’s because there are ten of those pesky little years in there). The semi colon actually has some quite important uses. Remember kids: it isn’t just one half of a smily face 😉 Two halves of a sentance that are losely connected but not directly connected are seperated by one instead of a comma: “The man picked up his umbrella; it was a rainy day outside”. Then there is seperation of list items: Like this; from this. Actually, a semi colon should appear far more often than a colon does in written English; rarely it does these days.
Other pet gripes include mixing up of there, their, and they’re. Remember: ‘there’ does not cover all three, no matter how often people try to shoe-horn it in. Then of course there is also the rise of the evil of html emails. Really, I don’t think that an email message that flashes in red and green on a glitter background adds anything to the message. If you can’t say it in ASCII, then really it wasn’t worth saying at all.
I learnt all of the above at school. I remember being there, and remember a lot of other people being there. Have many people at large really forgotten how to communicate in writing?