Sunday, June 11, 2006

linguish @ work

[last related post]

10 flagrant grammar mistakes that make you look stupid looks at 10 (a favourite number for countdowns, short lists and the like) common gaffes in emails floating about in corporate e-space (although I'm sure you can extend this to the general email ecosystem without loss of relevance). The usual suspects abound (the misplaced apostrophe, their instead of there, the extra 'o' that loosens lose). The problem is that people, in general, have adapted to this painful devolution of usage on both sides of the war. Those who are inflicted with grammatically incorect detritus end up dealing with it (when in Rome, get done by the Romans). Those who commit such sins on a regular basis have an infallible argument: as long as the listener has understood what they were saying (despite the torture he/she goes through trying to do so), how does all this matter?

Eats, Shoots and Leaves by Lynn Truss encourages a zero tolerance approach. Just like language compilers. The sufferers of linguistic abuse need to reminded of just how much their brain suffers. It's time for the tables to be turned on those who employ language carelessly. Language was supposed to facilitate communication, wasn't it?

This does not cover things like the complex prolix of legalese -- the entities producing such corpora derive a lot of benefit from your inability to understand them.

A ton of examples of apostrophe abuse may be found on the Apostrophe Abuse blog; and if you're looking for rules, the Apostrophe Protecion Society is glad to help.

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