Sunday, 31 August 2008

The Democratization of Illiteracy


Reading around on the internet is depressing, when one encounters chronic misspellings by native English-speakers with college degrees. They are not typographical errors, but purposeful ones wrought by ignorance. This applies to those living in two-million dollar mansions as well as to denizens of the double-wide. Today's movers and shakers have the same literacy-level as yesterday's movers and drivers.

Seen lately on a clothing forum:

"I just drape them over a chair or put them on a hangar." That one is spreading far and wide like a plague. Whatever that fellow is putting on a "hangar" must be huge! Judging by the context of his paragraph, he must have meant "hanger". Another fellow wrote that he needed a source of good "hangars" for his clothes. Either he has too many clothes, or he's a giant.

Burgandy instead of burgundy is incorrect, but very popular nonetheless. Even ebay gets that one wrong in their listing templates.
If I were to list all of the chronic mistakes on that site, I'd be writing for days.
Seen Everywhere:
Seperate instead of separate
Definate instead of definite
Your instead of you're
Loose instead of lose
Verbage instead of verbiage
Lavendar instead of lavender
Sirname for surname
Punctuation, or Lack of It:
It's claimed that dropping the punctuation is done to save time and keypad tapping.
Why, then, do people add apostrophes on plural words, when they belong on possessives and contractions? They'll erroneously add the apostrophe to its, while omitting it on the contraction of "it is". The possessive apostrophe is nowhere to be found (especially in Great Britain), but misuses of it on plural words abound!
How in the world are people from other countries supposed to learn English, when North Americans and the English cannot?