Tuesday, January 02, 2007

generation M: stop being lazy b4 its 2 l8!

I don’t correspond with teenagers as much as most of you would like to think, and I am on MySpace about as often as I frequent Puerto Rican chatrooms, but in the limited correspondence I have had with people under 20 years old I have noticed a disturbing trend: Nobody writes anything out anymore. Those of you who troll the internet looking for underage tang may not find this to be a surprise, but I am rather concerned. Apparently the age of IM, Texts and MySpace messages has made for a new generation of extremely poor writers.

Is this how they are teaching it in the schools now? Gone are the days of diagramming sentences and extensive drilling on the proper use of “lay” and “lie” and in are the appropriate times to abbreviate the word “to?” Yes, kids, that is how it’s spelled. Also, not sure if you knew this, but the word “people” actually has six letters, and “your” has four. Are grammar classes now teaching that it is perfectly acceptable to replace a number for a letter as long as the sound the same? Some day, historians will look back and say “Sometime around the beginning of the 21st century, the great American empire began to crumble. This is evident as their writing became extremely lazy and unsophisticated, and rules began to be compromised in favor or convenience and speed.” Blame George Bush all you want, I blame the fucking kids.

Did everyone born after 1987 also forget that you are supposed to capitalize words at the beginning of sentences? Same thing with apostrophes. Do you just figure this minor little dot isn’t important as long as someone gets the general idea? I mean, I guess you might remember when writing a term paper, but habits form fast, and the more you use this careless grammar the more likely you are going to be to fail miserably on that lovely “analytical writing” section they have added to the SAT. Fuck that up, and your 4.3 GPA and 18 student activities are pretty much worthless.

Many may make the argument that this type of writing is only used for casual communication, and that when it comes to professionalism, generation “M” is perfectly capable of spelling words out. But this argument is full of holes. As we all know the more you do something, the more habitual it becomes, and it would only be a matter of time before we are reading sales presentations that begin “In order 4 ppl 2 be more xposed 2 ur product, u must 1st consider the gr8 # of consumers in ur area.” Yeah, real professional. See, because little abbreviations soon start to slip into “semi-formal” emails and letters, and then into legal briefs, and next thing you know into Newspaper headlines. And in a generation or two our written communication will not even resemble what we use today.

So generation M, I know you are all obese, internet addicted, emo-listening freaks who comprehend neither delayed communication nor proper grammar, but do try and follow the laws our forefathers laid out when they wrote the constitution and did not begin it with “We the ppl, in order 2 4m a more prfct union.” It’s not that hard, kids. We are becoming a nation who writes like we are trying to fit our words on the back of a license plate, and that only serves to degenerate our society. Rules are there for a reason, for without them we descend into chaos. This applies not only to behavior, but to all aspects of life, including communication. This may not be a lesson they have time to teach you in school now, but it is one you should take with you into the world. Until next time, CU l8r. I’ll brb.


At 3:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you. Thank you. This is one of my BIGGEST pet peeves. And no one really seems flustered by it...

As a Journalism - News Editorial major, seeing people spew this crap everywhere drives me up the fucking wall.

In fact, I get so distracted by the awful spelling and grammar, that I lose their point entirely because I can't see past the uncapitalized letters and omitted apostrophes.

Yeah, it's nitpicky. Whatevs.

At 4:16 PM, Anonymous cedar said...

Fabulous. Have you seen the movie "Idiocracy?" I think you would find it amusing. This dude is frozen until 2055 and when he emerges he finds that the world has gone totally stupid. Much of it is a jab at trends that are already ubiquitous now, but completely take over.

At 4:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The incorrect use of homophones drives me insane.
To, too, two or there, their and they're along with a plethora of additional words.
We used to have contests in school to come up with as many homophones as possible.
I think the winning team came up with over 400.

Although when people use cum instead of come it makes me giggle.

Dew ewe sea what eye am saying?

At 4:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


At 5:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


At 5:14 PM, Blogger grungedave said...

Of course, a post like this will attract a "grammar nazi" comment or 50, but -- fuck that. If you can't type, spell or structure a sentence, I declare the person to be a complete moron.

(though, I attribute partial blame to Prince)

Nonetheless... nitpick away, WD!

At 5:25 PM, Anonymous Johnson said...

I fucking can't stand it when people say "could care less" instead of the proper, "couldn't care less." I can understand abbreviating stuff sometimes but you're right, I think so many people nowadays use terrible grammar and it's nearly impossible to read a lot of shit on the internet now. Lol, ORLY, LMAO, Buttsecks, PWNED, OWNED etc. I fucking hate internet slang.

At 5:39 PM, Anonymous Joe said...

my biggest thing is when people write "alot." Message boards are great though because often the spelling nazi is guilty of the same thing. I know that my writing is often tough to read. I tend to jump around. It took me forever to figure out what rotflmao meant. See what I mean?

At 6:03 PM, Anonymous T9W said...

Does anyone else use the T9W function when sending text messages? It's really easy to use and it also means that u dont half 2 write like n idiot. In fact, it takes me longer to switch back to the alphabet mode then it does to type out words like you, for, and to, two, or too.

At 9:50 PM, Blogger Ashburnite said...

damn it! you beat me to this post!

I am so anal about using actual words- I just can't bring myself to abreviate- even in text messages. I mean really, how much more time does it take to type "be" instead of "b," or "to" instead of "2?"

At 10:48 PM, Blogger aikin said...

As one of my journalism professors (yeah, that was my major too) said, "These damn people just don't know the language." And he wasn't talking about foreigners.
I am among those who are driven absolutely bonkers by people whose written communications skills are so poor you cannot even figure out what they're trying to say.

Superbee, I don't think it's nitpicky. I think if people (like supervisors where I work) are going to send out instructional memos and e-mails, they should at least write them SO I CAN FRIGGIN' UNDERSTAND THEM!

At 8:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

so they named the new generation?

sometimes when i write IMs, i find myself leaving out apostrophys. (in 6th grade, i quit my spelling class hence why i can't spell words most people normally can.)

either way, you have a point. but you didn't touch on sTiCkY cApS lyke yeh white dade!
why do people write like that? it brings sadness to my heart. :(

At 9:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're normal. Really, really normal!!! I think I need a few days to process this.

I pretty much immediately decide a person who types like that is an idiot and don't communicate with him/her any further. Here's another grammatical pet peeve: the use of "them" instead of "him/her". "Him/her" is unwieldy, but "them" is plain wrong. Same for "their" instead of "his/her" and so on. I'd rather use the politically incorrect "him" all the time - as a female I'm not offended by it. If you had to pick one gender to use and flipped a coin to decide, it wouldn't be offensive. That's kind of how I see it - I ignore all the negative historical aspects that went along with it.

What scares me is not the disgusting shorthand but that people not in the high-tech field often end up thinking that this is the proper way to communicate in IM or over emails. I proofread my roommate's biology papers all the time, and she writes well, but when she emails me it's all like that. I've even gotten fragments of that shit in an email from one of the medical professionals I work with, and she's taught university classes in the past. Scary.

Anyways. I'm a fully-developed grammar bitch, and I'm proud of it. But this covers more than just the shorthand, it covers spelling and grammar as well (proper use of commas is a biggie), and also typos. Which brings me to my next point. I've politely mentioned typos to you once, and I think after that you've started spell-checking your posts or something. The typos decreased in number. But when I read your emails I often think you've typed them with your ass instead of fingers. Why is that? This is puzzlement rather than criticism - I've already decided you're not stupid, so I give you a pass on that. But still, why?

At 9:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmmm...perhaps this country's pathetic public education system is to blame?

There seems to be a movement away from the the "3 R's" and towards teaching "self-esteem."

At 9:50 AM, Blogger copyranter said...

you could have also wrote "b-n" instead of "being"

At 11:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I totally judge people on how they write over email, IM, or text messages. It's become plainly obvious that, unfortunately, America has become a nation of idiots. Thanks for the post.

At 12:49 PM, Blogger Tara said...

Happy New Year, Dade, and thanks so much for posting this! When I had a Yahoo IM, I'd get pop up messages loaded with appreviations from teens and, frighteningly enough, from people who claim to be in their 30s. Total turn-off. I also know a guy who will not capitalize his sentences, and he's 31. Ugh. I know some of it is because they want to make a statement, but they don't realize the statement we're reading into it (if you see the same comment on your previous post, just disregard it).

At 2:37 PM, Anonymous Chris said...

Amen to that. It's scary, and it's been going on for years. When I was a senior in college, freshmen honestly thought they could get away with abbreviations like "whatev" and "l8r." I don't know how they got through high school thinking that was acceptable, but if that was happening four years ago, I can't imagine what it's like now.

At 3:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought it was Generation IM...


At 5:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Two essential books for the language curmudeons among us:

"A Civil Tongue" and "Strictly Speaking", both by the old NBC newsman Edwin Newman.

He was funny on the old daytime Letterman show (G-d I'm old!) and he's hilarious in this book.

He once posted this sign over the entrance to his office:

"Abondon all Hopefully, Ye who Enter Here"

At 5:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


At 5:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"these books" Arrrrrrrgh!

At 7:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What about "Eats, Shoots & Leaves"?

Great book as well.

At 4:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Eats, Shoots and Leaves was one of the texts for a day-long writing workshop I took a couple of years ago.

Of course t.s. eliot made a good living off of little more than refusing to capitalize things.

At 10:58 PM, Anonymous dp said...

I hate people can't use "well" and "good" correctly. It is an overused complaint, but I can't stand it.

"What was that, Sally? You're not feeling good today? Go fucking shoot yourself."

One is an adjective, the other is an adverb - figure it the fuck out.

At 11:00 PM, Anonymous dp said...

"people who"...now I'm going to go shoot myself.

At 11:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

e.e. cummings, NOT T.S. Eliot.

I'm guessing that's why I only came in third on Jeopardy!


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