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English

In the past few weeks, I have gotten into following the Whirlpool forums. Other than getting myself into a couple of flame wars, I have gotten some very helpful advice, and my first proper forum participation has been a quite enjoyable experience. Added to that, the forum is an excellent custom-built (from scratch!) forum engine which has a fantastic interface and an overall practicality and usability about it.

Anyway, back to topic. As with any forum, or public internet posting place (eg. forums, blogs, message/bulletin boards, chat rooms, etc. etc.) the use of the English language is of a pretty poor quality.

Now I admit that my English is far from flawless, and my typing is probably even worse, but i've noticed that a lot of people don't even know the basics of the written language, especially in terms of words that sound the same, but are actually different words in different contexts.

Now i'm not talking about the text/internet shorthand that is used by teeny-boppers who will probably not ever get a job where they need to read and write (see here for an example), which by the way is the lowest of the low. i'm talking about people who are trying to write proper English but still get it wrong.

Among the most common misuses on message boards and forums are people confusing the their/there/they're. I can understand this being highly confusing for people which are new to English, but most people (especially on Whirlpool) have been raised in the Australian education system and should know the differences between these basic and frequently used English words.

So I noticed on Whirlpool an 'English' thread that started off with the following post, which amusingly demonstrates the proper use of commonly misused words in the English language:

"""""
Their:
That is their dead monkey.

There:
The dead monkey is over there.

They're:
They are eating a dead monkey.
They're eating a dead monkey.

Your:
Your car is a piece of crap.

You're:
You are an idiot.
You're an idiot.

Its:
The Monkey is eating its banana!

It's:
It is a bird, it is a plane!
It's a bird, it's a plane!

His:
That is his car.

He's
He is going to the toilet.
He's going to the toilet.

Bear:
I can't bear it anymore!
That's a friggin huge bear!
Bear in mind, you are a tool.

Bare:
My arse is bare for the world to see!

Weather:
The weather is nice today!

Whether:
I don't know whether or not I should bitch slap you for being so stupid!

Witch:
The evil witch put a curse on my family.

Which:
Which handbag do you think goes best with this g-string?

Were:
Where were you yesterday?

We're:
We are going to see the Monkey!
We're going to see the Monkey!

Write:
I'm going to write a book.

Right:
Take a right turn here.
That's right!

Copyright (not copywrite...)

This list will be added to as random bits of stupidity come to my attention

Edit:
As per The Librarians response, the Wiki!

index.cfm?a=wiki&tag=English

With regard to using slang and contractions in posts, I see that as different to using poor grammar. If you are on IRC, ICQ, MSN, whatever; typing poorly is excusable. When you are on a forum like this however, trying to argue your point on the 'In The News' forum, that is another matter. If you can't put in the effort to write in plain English and actually proofread your post, why waste other peoples time with it?

If you really want to post "wow i 1$ scuaskl a 13377 ahj3476f' for some strange reason when ranting about how great you are at CS, sure, go ahead, no one cares. My problem is when someone is trying to be taken seriously in a discussion about politics and they asked witch person your going to vote for. I'm sorry, my going is voting for a witch? What the hell are we talking about?

Using proper English is neither difficult, nor time consuming and it makes comprehension far easier. At least to those who speak the same language...
""""

See the original post (and the super-long thread) here.

5 thoughts on “English

  1. usually i'm a bit of an english nazi (er, so to speak), but the word/contraction combining the letters 'i', 't' and 's' has always given me a bit of trouble. specifically, i was under the impression that "it's" was able to be used as a possessive, not unlike "john's website". any ideas?

  2. Lucas, you're right - in most other cases, the apostrophe 's' indicates possession, except in the case of 'its', where an apostrophe is only used to indicate the contraction of 'it is'.

    Gee, can you tell I'm a writer?:D I can't...

    Anywho, you must be getting excited - not long now!! Hopefully my pressie will arrive intact...

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