Sunday, February 20, 2011


Maybe you haven't noticed, but I am quite the spelling and grammar policewoman. I read and reread everything I write to ensure that my speedy fingers haven't let anything slip. I try to fix all typos. I carefully consider my commas. I rarely, if ever, use any shorthand.

I participate in several message board communities: One is for parents of kids with autism (because the only board for adults with autism... well, I've talked about that before, but I can't stand it, to sum things up) and the other is for adult collectors of American Girl dolls. On the AG board, there is a rule that members must use good spelling and grammar to the best of their abilities. No shorthand nonsense or anything like that.

But the other board... sigh. One member to my knowledge has never used any puncuation of any kind can you imagine I do not read these posts I simply can't make sense of them. Other people Randomly capitalize What they think is Important and leave out any question Marks do you know what I Mean. CANT FORGET THE SHOUTING POSTS EITHER. Others include so much shorthand (u got 2 no wat i mean wit dis 1) that it looks like a 12-year-old wrote it via text message.

I have nothing against people who struggle with spelling or have limited English. It's sheer laziness that drives me nuts. If you would like us to take the time and consideration to answer your question, then please, give the rest of us the consideration of your best composition, or at least a readable one.

Anyway, I would greatly love to complain about this on the board, but... I won't. So I'm complaining about it in my domain where I can kind of say whatever I want. If I don't complain somewhere, I'm going to burst.

I'm thinking that this makes me a bit of a snob; as in, I'm better than you because I attempt to type like an educated human being (which I'm fairly certain that you are one, as well, and thus have generally the same capabilities to use a keyboard and synthesize a post as I do). To be clear, I'm not asking for college-level composition, here, but rather... about 3rd grade would do. Honest mistakes? Typos? A rogue apostrophe? One or to their/there/they're or your/you're (do people even know that "you're" exists?) errors? I don't mind a bit. Just put a little effort into it, and we can be great friends.

Now, if you can use "your" and "you're" or "its" and "it's" correctly in one or two sentences (up to you), you may ask me ANYTHING you want (I mean, adhering to generally accepted social guidelines), and I'll answer. Or if you can think of a better prize (because I can't right now), then sure, that too. Just please, redeem my hope in the future of grammar?


  1. I think you are making a wise decision not to bring this up on the message board as you would most likely be the one to suffer for it. I do think one of the contributors to this problem now is that so many people use their cell phones to answer emails and such, and they don't worry as much about proper grammar and spelling then.

    I was recently told by my husband that I had a typo in one of my posts. I could hardly believe it, but I had not done a thorough check of the post before I hit publish. I was a lot less upset about than I would have been a few years ago, though, so maybe I'm getting more mellow with age!

  2. I agree that bad spelling and grammar, shorthand etc. tend to make a writer look less intelligent than he/she perhaps is. Well-written remarks, even if we're talking about a Facebook status or tweet, denote wit and wisdom. In this age of online communication, perhaps good writing will come back into fashion!