Perchance, as many things are of this Internet thing, last week I alighted upon the “10 Writing Mistakes Smart Bloggers Make.” It made me think of two things: a graduate school classmate with the writing skills of a concussed ferret, and the end of writing as we know it.
First, the fellow scribe. Among the many lowlights of my graduate program in creative writing was the first fiction workshop. It was a complete catastrophe, as I was the only first-year student and perhaps the only student who wasn’t partially or completely insane.
The first inkling of trouble was “Jennifer.” In the very first class, she presented a novel excerpt about a farm family growing up in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, and I can objectively say that the result was appalling. Not simply the plot, characterizations, or even the writing itself, but the grammar, spelling and punctuation.
Here’s an action-packed sample:
She said You want to see a man? Ill show you aman.”
We walkd to the creek which I new from swimming in first grad. “Yousee that overthere Thats Fred. He aint got no close on Hes a man”
I said I dont know what your talking about”, but I kept watching
At first, I wanted to give Jennifer the benefit of the doubt and thought she was trying some Joycean experiment with form. When I asked about it in workshop—”Is there any reason there’s a lot of punctuation missing?” was how I put it—she simply said no thats a roughdraft and sorry if theres mistakes”.
I don’t know what was more appalling: Jennifer’s apparently inability to spell or use proper punctuation, or the fact the rest of the class didn’t think it was a big deal.
Pitt of anachronisms
When I protested that the least a writer should do was turn in a manuscript relatively free of errors one might associate more with a second-grader than a 26-year-0ld graduate student, I was hooted down (though it was a learning experience. So to speak).
So when I saw “10 Writing Mistakes Smart Bloggers Make,” I could only think of Jennifer. That, and the end of civilization.
For these “mistakes” are not those of logic, style, length, design, or any other intellectual or aesthetic considerations, but largely of basic grammar:
- Confusing You’re and Your
- Using could of and would of
- Abusing the word ‘literally’
- Confusing their, they’re and there
- Confusing affect and effect
- Confusing to and too
- Confusing lose and loose
- Abusing “unique”
- Text speak (“LOL,” “OMG,” etc.)
Your literally making me piss my pants, because I could of known their effecting blog’s effectiveness too loose the most unique badness of writing. STFU.
Oh, I’ve been guilty of all of these errors save for the last, but not out of ignorance. (Mostly because I was too lazy to check my work). What makes me believe that the end of civilization is nigh is that we even need a list like this in the first place. If “smart” bloggers need to be told that there’s a difference between “their” and “there,” it’s just a matter of time before the video gamers, illiterates, brain-dead jocks and the Jennifers of this earth simply swoop in and take over.
A failure within an epic fail(ure)
The fact is that soon, not only will “smart” people routinely make these mistakes, but nobody’s going to correct them. Improper usage will be considered correct.
And there’s not a damn thing I can do about it except whine. Which I am known to do on occasion, and do quite well. Literally.