by Alexandria Echo Press
December 9, 2010 at 6:00 pm in Alexandria Echo Press
When will people learn that apostrophes are not salt-and-pepper?
These days, too many people sprinkle apostrophes willy-nilly to “season” their sentences. Continue Reading
Tags: columns, dalman, Dennis Dalman, Opinion 5 Comments »
Three cheers for you, Mr. Dalman. I have been the gatekeeper for letters that leave my department at a mid-sized insurance company in St. Paul for many years now. I have noticed a steady decline in proper punctuation, spelling, capitalization, usage and grammar for several years now. I became so frustrated that I wrote an internal e-mail about two years ago very similar to the column you wrote today. You’re exactly right; people use apostrophes when they shouldn’t and omit them when they’re needed. They seem to be guessing.
My biggest challenge was to teach them the difference between “it’s” and “its.”
It’s an uphill battle, but it has its rewards if you keep fighting for the sake of the language. Sometimes it seems as though there are only about five of us left who really care about any of this anymore.
Thank you a lot for your column, but not “alot.”
Like or Dislike: 4 0
I agree with the English teachers correcting themselves when it comes to teaching in a school, but not everyone is perfect.
When it comes to others, the only thing that bothers me is the short hand words, like U, Da (the), or R, etc., used for talking online, or in text now a days. But, other than that, I don’t think people should be correcting grammar so much. I enjoy writing as well, but I know life is too short to worry about being perfect. I sometimes put “its” from typing too fast and not caring about what some people think.
There is so much going on in people’s lives , why nic-pick on something that really doesn’t matter too much compared to losing your job, losing your home, losing your car, losing a loved one… etc. I mean.. what is more important?
That’s just my opinion though.
Like or Dislike: 0 2
No one is perfect. I sometimes look at e-mails I’ve written and am literally shocked at mistakes I’ve made out of haste. That’s not the point.
The point is that too many people are completely unable to construct a proper English sentence and commit grammatical errors with such frequency that one has to wonder if they have ever been educated in how to write and speak the English language at all.
And it is important. English is the language we speak. It is how we communicate. I read letters and e-mails that are almost unintelligible, because the writer has no earthly idea how to translate an idea into a coherent English sentence. The problem seems to be most acute among management-types in big companies. I read some of these missives and am left absolutely dumb-founded as to what they are trying to say.
It is absolutely critical that this language of ours be preserved and that people communicate properly and with clarity. If we can’t communicate, we’re doomed to a life of ignorance.
Like or Dislike: 2 1
I applaud your comments, Mr. Dalman. I too have noticed the steady decline in the quality of punctuation and spelling in the written word and I get frustrated by the practice or lack thereof. I believe much of it is a carry-over from emailing, instant messaging, and texting. My kids give me a hard time because I use capital letters, contractions, punctuation, and complete sentences when I send text messages and I insist they do the same when writing to me. Iâ€™ll often ask them to correct and resend their message so I can understand it. I donâ€™t do this because I donâ€™t understand the acronyms and abbreviations but because I think it is important for their professional careers to learn and practice good writing skills.
Anyone that thinks it isnâ€™t important in the grand scheme of things I think is sadly mistaken. I can tell you from personal experience on a professional level that my impression and respect of a writer is very much influenced by this. The first impression I get from a written message is even more influential than when meeting face-to-face. I suppose it could be because the written word lacks emotion, conjecture, and body language. Also, a face-to-face first impression begins with a view from a distance – before one opens his/her mouth.
I don’t think perfection is expected but I think we should at least try our best. When we repeatedly skirt the use of good writing skills we learn bad habits that infiltrate every written document we author including those in our professional careers where what we write can make or break a decision.
One of my worst writing peeves is a message containing no capital letters and no punctuation at all. It’s just one endless line of words without meaning. My brother and I once did that for fun while I was in college but it has not purpose in business relationships.
By the way, I noticed Mr. Dalman used the word, â€œsuperduper.â€ My first thought was that it should be a hyphenated word and my research indicates that super-duper should be hyphenated. Is it also acceptable to omit the hyphen?
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I see I had a misspelled word in my reply. See, perfection is not demanded.
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