LOVING WORDS AND KNOWING HOW TO USE THEM – Marilyn Armstrong

Fandango’s Provocative Question #51


If people find typos or grammatical, punctuation, spelling, or usage errors in your posts, do you welcome having them pointed out to you, or do you resent it.

As a blogger do you let people know about such mistakes or do you just let them go?


There was a time when I was the aggravated editor at large. However, in recent months, my typo count has risen so high that there are often more typos, missed words, wrong parts of sentences which belong elsewhere, I do not feel I have any authority to speak on the subject.

I was never a good proofreader, even when I was much younger, but now it’s wildly out of control. If I change keyboards? I go from bad to “What IS that word?” I make typos so bad the spellchecker doesn’t recognize the word at all.

I admit that I go and change really badly typoed words in comments because WordPress doesn’t even give us 10 seconds to go back and change it. I read through typos. Of course, I do. I am the typo queen.

I do NOT have the same attitude towards poor grammar, though. The inability of even adults to recognize the difference between shorthand for Facebook or whatever they are using these days and language. Or, for that matter, the difference between an adjective and an adverb because they don’t know the difference between a verb and a noun. If you listen to sportscasters, you’ll know why. They don’t use adverbs. Ever. It isn’t stylistic. It’s pure ignorance.

It isn’t necessarily their fault. Our educational system is sorely lacking. They don’t teach grammar in public schools. If you don’t pick it up by reading book, how COULD you learn it?

And oh lord, PUNCTUATION. I swear everyone makes it up as they go along. My personal favorite is the    ,,,.    between what might be clauses, but isn’t a clause the guy who drops down the chimney with toys? No? 

People our age often leave out the subject of the sentence because we forgot to type it. But the younger ones? What’s their excuse? A good friend is (actually, now WAS) a college English professor. Every once in awhile, he’d show us what students turn in as essays. They truly do not know the difference between LOLWFOMA, TY, BRB, and what we used to call English. I don’t think we are setting a good example, either.

The other thing is that many young people have never read a book. Personally, I listen to audiobooks rather than reading, but I did read thousands of books before I moved to audio. So if my eyes are tired, they earned it.

One busy wall

Neither parents nor teachers forced them to read. Anyway, what with owning every electronic device ever made, what motivation do they have to read? You have to get them reading when they are young before they get hooked in electronics.

We spend millions on electronic devices that are outdated in six months — and don’t put any effort into convincing kids to read. Owen’s deal (from ME) when he was young was before he got an allowance or his bicycle, he had to turn in a book report — to me — every week. I didn’t care what he read, whether it was easy or difficult, but it had to be a BOOK.

Vineyard art – the second painting is the one from the book I gave to Owen.

Thus he fell in love with Stephen King, a love that still lingers, TinTin, Hardy Boys, and all of Robert Louis Stevenson’s adventures. He also loved anything with great illustrations and can take very excellent pictures when he remembers to have a camera — which is rare and rather frustrating. He has talent, but he works 50 hours a week or more, so I suppose that’s a bit limiting.

“How to Live With a Conniving Cat” was a favorite. When we summered on the Vineyard, we bought one of the original paintings done for that book. It was a piece of luck because the painter died while the exhibit was up. His family came and took all his paintings home. They refused to sell any of them. We have the only one that isn’t family-owned.

That was back “in the day” when we went to galleries and bought stuff! You know. Two salaries? Those WERE the days.

I gave the painting to Owen for his birthday. He really, really wanted it. Turns out, he also likes art. Kids like what they learn to like. If you don’t teach them, they don’t get it. Schools are only a piece of education. The rest comes from their home environment.

And yes, there still ARE libraries and they are still FREE. What’s more, there are art galleries in all kinds of places. You don’t have to buy things to go and look. And, oh yes. Museums!


P.S. I don’t have a problem with typos being pointed out, or for that matter, entirely missing words or pieces of paragraphs, or duplicated words. I have always worked best with an editor! I’d correct them myself if I noticed them.



Categories: #FPQ, Blogging, Books, Education, language, Marilyn Armstrong, Photography, Provocative Questions

Tags: , , , , , ,

20 replies

  1. I now reread things many times There’s the problem, and the solution. So many are in such a rush to dash off their 140 characters, that they only look forward, never back, to check. I quietly edit errors in comments on my site, but usually just shudder, and ignore mistakes in others’ posts, unless I am sure that English is their first language. I recently called a writer on, I patrolled the entire parameter of my property, and, It should illicit a response. It is difficult to take a debater seriously, when he can’t even frame his position correctly. 🙄

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  2. When I was first here, you fixed a lot of my errors. I think I have been more careful since. I now reread things many times after they are “finished.” Those finished weeks in advance get more readings than I care to admit. I would actually like to know about errors rather than let them stay up. I think most readers are too polite to point them out.

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  3. “I don’t have a problem with typos being pointed out….” Good, because in your first paragraph you wrote “…wrong pasts of sentence pieces….” I think you meant “wrong PARTS of sentence pieces,” right? 😉

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  4. All I know is that people are getting rid of their books. At the Op Shop, we would receive so many boxes of books when people moved or cleared out a deceased estate. We never had room for them in the tiny book room. I kind of understand that for older people it may be that like you, they have switched to audiobooks or eBooks. They take up less space and are easier if you have issues with eyesight. If you only listen though you don’t learn spelling or punctuation and I guess that’s the problem for younger people. They don’t know how the words are supposed to look. There are still people who read books thank goodness. There are regular customers who come to the shop to buy books and some of them often enough that we got to know their favourite authors and could tell them when we had fresh ones in. I was also encouraged when parents would come in to buy books for their kids. One of the last things I did before leaving the shop was to pack up two boxes of good quality used books for the local fire brigade who run the Christmas parade to give as gifts to local children. They have been doing that for about three years and the shop always supplies the books free of charge. I’ve also noticed a rise in the “Little Library” boxes you see around some neighbourhoods. There is one here in Sisters Beach so when I unpack my books I will go and donate a few.

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  5. So what IS: LOLWFOMA, TY, BRB….?
    I’m the same but I’ll always remember that one of my genuine questions to a dear friend of yours was received very badly. I never intend to hurt anybody but since I love any linguistic challenge and live with a man with a different mother tongue than me I know a bit about the problems arising… I do agree with you on the loss of proper knowledge of one’s language, its rules and laws, we speak of it often and many we encounter don’t even SPEAK their own language properly. They can’t…. and their writing is truly appalling.

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  6. There’s a lot of accommodation that goes on and that is probably why we let slip the occasional error. I keep filling in with my mind before I type so often leave out words etc.
    Leslie

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  7. amen!

    At work, we’ve been doing renovations and the kiddos who come in for help have been extra patient. Some were getting tired of legos and coloring pages for a while, so I went out and got a tote full of kids books and a small holder for them (so I could rotate books every few weeks), a bunch of pillows and a few blankets to make a reading corner.

    I find it funny how the kids sometimes hate to read and don’t want to, but it’s more they don’t want to read for school. They don’t like required reading. you throw a few different books in a carrier and let them browse through them themselves, suddenly they’re good with it (or they’ll pick one out for you to read to them, or sometimes even let you pick the book). That corner gets a bit less use just because of Thanksgiving and Christmas lunchbag puppet projects, but when they get bored of those, they go back to the books. But you gotta make it accessible, because you’re right–they’ll figure out what they like. They need the tools to make good choices.

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    • You’ve got to make it accessible — I used to take Owen to Barnes and Noble back when they actually were a bookstore — and he loved it. There was a children’s reading area and a woman who would show them books and sometimes read to them.

      Our local library has and had reading days. By the time we moved here, my son already was married with his own child — and HIS wife has never read a book. I don’t even think she reads magazines unless it’s a menu or an advertisement. When Kaity lived here, I read to her and that’s how she eventually learned to read. One day she took the book from my hands and said, “Now I’m going to read to YOU.” And she did.

      That was a GREAT moment.

      But no one took her to the library and other than Garry and me read to her. Her mother was so insecure that she was afraid of letting anyone get close to her daughter. After I taught her to read, my role very suddenly ended.

      At least we got to take her to the ballet, the symphony, and a couple of museums — so she got a peek at a bigger world.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Great post. I fully agree with you.

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