I Can Haz Grammar Back?

On Monday I talked about words that are worth saving. Today I’m thinking of the exact opposite. No, I do not mean to remove words from the English language. As you all know, I am a lover of words. What I do want to remove – banish forever and ever – are the non-words that seem to have been embedded in the way we now speak. I’m talking about Twitter-speak, YA-speak, and the like. Then I saw this brief article yesterday that raised the question of where the “future of English” is headed. The fact that this question had to be raised made me consider all of the misspellings and fake words I see all the time in the online world that are used by adults in the name of brevity, irony, or both.

I understand that there is a need for abbrev. certain words to keep your tweets under 140 characters. Even so, I implore you to dial down the intentional misspellings and the I Can Haz Cheezburger-ness of your writing. Maybe I’m being schoolmarm-esque about this, and usually I’m a huge proponent of “once you know the rules, you can break them.” (I mean, look how many sentences I begin with conjunctions and how many infinitives I split!) Still, this is just getting out of hand. Like my ongoing “Please Stop Misusing & Overusing Literally, Random, and Awkward” campaign, I must share this recent grievance with you all as well.

To anyone who has written “kittehs,” “teh,” “sekrit,” or “haz,” or have even just intentionally used child-level grammar in a blog post or tweet, I ask you – please stop. What was once cute or ironic or done in the name of fun has now gotten to the point where it’s infiltrating actual speech. People with higher education degrees and knowledge of the written word have regressed to the intellectual capacity of a first grader, and for what? To sound adorable? It’s not adorable. It is the linguistic equivalent of using Comic Sans in a business email. Put another way, it’s like dating someone who insists on using baby talk. No one wants to be likened to an infant and no one should want to come across as one either. We are all adults here, and apparently we’re still responsible for setting the standard in this “next wave” of the English language. So, let’s keep it alive, well, and as correct as it can be when used in informal places.

What’s on your list of words that need to go away? Share your grammar-related complaints and begin your weekends free of annoyance!

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24 thoughts on “I Can Haz Grammar Back?

  1. I'm inclined to think that there is more passion and creativity for language in people who coin phrases like 'I can haz cheezeburger' than there is in most of the linguistic stuckists. I think Shakespeare would have approved of the extreme playfulness with language that is evident online – he mangled the language more than most and as a result, coined more words than most.

    You might not want to use the freshly minted phrases and bastardisations in a business letter – but I can't see any language-loving reason that in casual online conversation one cannot be full of win, or boarding the failboat, keeping sekrits or announcing “cheeseburger? I haz one!”

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  2. As a current novelist and an ex-radio air talent, it breaks my heart to hear current radio DJ's use not only non-words but incorrect grammar so casually that I can only shake my head. If I hear “I HAD WENT” once more I may scream! It seems to me that both Internet shorthand and the culture of devolving language are combining to create future generations who will lack most communications skills–they're already losing the ability to write longhand–which is where thoughts become language–N'est-ce pas vrai?
    Just sayin'…

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  3. The thing that drives me crazy is something that has become the norm even by people with college degrees; newscasters, writers of commercials, and more (even Presidents): THERE'S. Often correct? Of course. Just as often incorrect? Agghhhh, yes! Harvard graduates saying things like, “There's dozens of reasons why …” whatever. There IS dozens of reasons? IS? Really? Sure you don't mean there ARE dozens? Sigh. It's everywhere.

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