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This is the face I make when you say something stupid.

This is the face I make when you say something stupid.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve noticed things. These things that I notice are things that make you appear stupid.  There are many categories of “things that make you appear stupid,” but today we’re going to focus on the improper use of the English language.

I am not talking about typos.  Typos are acceptable in informal arenas (your Facebook wall, texts, an email to your Dad).  Yes I can tell the difference between a typo and ignorance.  Typos are things like teh-the, from-form…you know what I mean: you really do know how to use the word/punctuation correctly, you just type too fast and overlook the mistake.  However, when I notice that a person frequently says “your” instead of “you’re,” or “to” where they should have used “too…” I start to lose faith in their intelligence and really do treat them differently.

Here’s the deal: at first I see/hear the infraction and I think “wait, what?” and then I make sure I don’t misunderstand, then I realize that I am not misunderstanding, you are being confusing.  Then I get irritated and lose a little bit of respect for you.

Some people say I’m judgmental;  I say that these people are usually the people who can’t use the English language properly, which means that we are brought back to our initial conclusion that these people are stupid.

It is one thing to be uninformed.  It is quite another to be obtuse and uninterested in writing and speaking correctly.  Look, how much effort does it take to PAY ATTENTION to what you’re reading or listening to, and to apply what you see and hear to things that you usually say?  Do you honestly see the word “could’ve” and not connect that to yourself saying “could of?”  This means that you also do not understand the concept of a contraction being the junction of two words by use of an apostrophe.  This means that you do not understand that COULD’VE = COULD + HAVE, and not COULD + OF.  Are you starting to see why I think you’re stupid?

You probably should just be using “had” anyway…

As long as we’re talking about the effect that paying attention could have on your ability to communicate, let’s look at an epidemic of punctuation horror that has been plaguing the interwebs as of late.  THE APOSTROPHE.  Wow, this sucker is being used a LOT!  Guess what?  An apostrophe is not used to make something plural.  There is kind of an understood acceptance that it helps when pluralizing single letters or acronyms, but that’s pretty much the only exception.  Wait, do you even know what “plural” means?  Anyway, if I see PILLOW’S OR CAT’S one more time without ownership of something I’m going to shoot myself.  The pillow’s what?  What could a pillow possibly have??  A case?  A stain?

Before you pluralize something, maybe you should do some research!

Offenses that quickly downgrade my opinion of you:

You say: FOR ALL INTENSIVE PURPOSES, but it’s really: FOR ALL INTENTS AND PURPOSES.

You say: HAND AND HAND but it’s really: HAND IN HAND.

You say: JUST ASSUME but it’s really: JUST AS SOON.

You say: NOW AND DAYS but it’s really NOWADAYS.

You say: TOOKEN but it’s really: TAKEN.  (Tooken is not even a word!)

You write: RIGHT OF PASSAGE but it’s really: RITE OF PASSAGE (there’s no spoken difference, it can only be seen when written).

You say: SUPPOSABLY but it’s really: SUPPOSEDLY.

You write: YEA, but it’s really: YEAH (YEA is a vote opposite of nay).

You say: UNCHARTERED, but it’s really: UNCHARTED.

You say: AWE, but it’s really: AW (As in how cute.  They’re two completely different words.)

OK, I could go on forever.  I swear, nothing disappoints me more than to be talking to someone, or listening to a speaker or trainer and they misuse a common saying or word.  It’s just such a letdown.  Hey, I get it, the English language is tough and people speak funny and it’s  hard to understand some things.  But there comes a point in time where you have to expand your horizons and pay attention to more than what’s right in front of you.

There are hundreds more examples here: http://www.wsu.edu/~brians/errors/errors.html

If you aren’t interested in reading those…for God’s sake read a F-ing book.

Much thanks to Rob and Emmett for your suggestions!
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