March 4th is National Grammar Day… the perfect day to write a blogpost about my love of proper English and spelling. When I’m writing this blog, I think about the readers in the UK who follow me. I wonder if they know that I’m actually spelling things correctly in American English. It’s their language, but we hijacked it and changed a few things. I want them to know that I honor the English language, even if I don’t honour it.
When I think about all the strange rules of English and how they came to be, I picture men in white wigs sitting a large wooden table thinking up cockamamie ideas to confuse and distract us (much like the politicians of today).
I am thankful to have grown up speaking English because I could never have learned it as a second language. It’s difficult at best with all of it’s rules, exceptions to rules, and silent letters. How do you teach someone how to pronounce ‘ough’? There’s tough, though, through and thought. Four different pronunciations for the same group of letters. The exceptions to the “I before E except after C” rule are many… seize, vein, weird, their, heir, feisty, foreign, leisure, either, neither, heinous, heist, height. I could go on, but you get the point. Speaking of height… “heighth” is not a word. I’ve heard “heighth and width” more times than I’d like.
I’m convinced that good spellers are not allowed to make memes:
There’s no way, in one post, to write about all the ways that our language is being butchered on a daily basis. However, lately I have noticed an increase in a couple of misuses. One) I keep seeing “could of” and “would of,” instead of “could have” and “would have.” Maybe because “could of” sounds similar to the contraction “could’ve” but it’s still wrong. Two) suddenly people are confusing “a part” and “apart.” These are actually opposites. “I’d really like to be apart of that club” means you want to be separated from it. I think what you want is to be a part of it. This meme explains it in a much better way…
My not so “smart” phone thinks it should add an apostrophe to pluralize a last name. NO! They’re the Smiths, not the Smith’s. Unless the Smiths own something which would be the Smith’s thing. I want to send a Christmas card to the The Smiths, not to their possessions!
One of my biggest pet peeves is that the dictionary eventually gives up and adds non-words due to rampant misuse. I predict that it won’t be long before the contraction “you’re” completely dies and it replaced by “your” simply because so many people don’t use the correct word.
There was a time when you could convince someone that a word is not a word because it was not in the dictionary… “Ain’t ain’t a word because it ain’t in the dictionary.” Those days are gone. Not only can you find ain’t in the dictionary but also irregardless and orientate. Irregardless is a non-word that has been so overused that is now considered to be interchangeable with the correct word “regardless” according to the Oxford Dictionary.
To summarize: On National Grammar Day, I’d like to orient you to proper spelling regardless of the multiple misspelled posts that you’re going to see on social media. I want you to set yourself apart from those who could’ve learned proper grammar if only they had paid attention.