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Old 02-13-2020, 05:51 PM
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A quick little English grammar lesson...


I see more often than not, people who don't know how to use proper terminology or spelling when trying to get a type-written message to be understood.

Granted, I know that when I went to school, spelling was a big thing and we always got marked on our good spelling and grammar, and if you spelled something wrong or used incorrect grammar, you were punished or received bad marks. It seems that today, it doesn't matter how you spell something, just as long as you make it sound like the way it's supposed to, you'll still get a good grade.

Teachers are our greatest resources when it comes to teaching kids how to properly spell at an early age, but it seems that some teachers today don't even care about how something is spelled or the correct use of grammar.

For example, your test might have you correct the following sentences:

Incorrect: Jane is going too the supermarket
Correct: Jane is going to the supermarket (not "to, two or too")

Incorrect: Michael through the ball (or "thru")
Correct: Michael threw the ball

Incorrect: David has offered to look after are dog while we are on vacation.
Correct: David has offered to look after our dog while we are on vacation.

My partner is a high school teacher and says as long as the kid gets the point across, it really doesn't matter how something is spelled and the kid will get a good grade.

Is there anyone out there that is bothered by reading comments on resources like Facebook and YouTube where some of the spelling is so abhorrent that we choose not to read comments anymore?
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Old 02-13-2020, 06:04 PM
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Some people can't spell, that's a given. You can blame the school system or the parents or whomever you want to blame. If I read a post on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram, and the poster uses "there' instead of "they're", it really doesn't bother me that much. It's not being graded and people are typing with their fingers or using the auto guess feature. If a teacher lets it slide on an English test I think I would take that up with the principal.
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Old 02-13-2020, 06:08 PM
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Some people can't spell, that's a given.
Do you think maybe some people choose not to spell correctly simply because they don't care? Would this be apathy?
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Old 02-13-2020, 06:10 PM
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Incorrect: Jane is going too the supermarket
Correct: Jane is going to the supermarket (not "to, two or too")
I think you have a typo there. Bad if it's in a thread about grammar or punctuation.
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Old 02-13-2020, 06:11 PM
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Your title doesn't match your OP. Are you giving a grammar lesson, or complaining about people who don't spell correctly?


I'm all for correct spelling, too. It bothers me when people use "are" for "our," or "fare" for "fair," or "it's" for "its," etc. But my theory is that some people, because of how their brains are wired, think of words first as combinations of sounds, while others think of words first as combinations of letters.
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Old 02-13-2020, 06:15 PM
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I think you have a typo there. Bad if it's in a thread about grammar or punctuation.
Yup, you're correct, but someone replied and I could no longer edit the message. I did catch it though!
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Old 02-13-2020, 06:17 PM
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That was the hot new pedagogical trend in the 1990s when my children went to grade school. When the teacher laid that on us at the first parent-teacher meeting I was, if not horrified, deeply dismayed. What was wrong with phonics? I was brought up on phonics in the 1960s and look how well I turned out. Even though it's necessary to eventually break the paradigm of phonics to progress in English, phonics has proved to be the best method for beginning literacy. My kids were deliberately kept disadvantaged in spelling and they had to work extra hard to overcome that. If they hadn't had my example to learn from, they might still be as semi-literate as the Facebook crowd. ::shudder::
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Old 02-13-2020, 06:18 PM
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Your title doesn't match your OP. Are you giving a grammar lesson, or complaining about people who don't spell correctly?
It kind of does, but I think I got my concern across. I'm not an eloquent speaker, but I know how to spell. LOL!
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Old 02-13-2020, 06:21 PM
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I too have a double standard. I have a nephew who frequently posts on FB and his spiling an grammer ar atroshus, but it is not for me to correct him and I think doing so would be akin to bullying.

Many people on forums, even, believe it or not, on this forum, make mistakes but it is generally considered bad form to correct them. In any case, one can be sure that Muphry's law will come into effect if one does. In these cases, pointing out errors is almost required.

When I read a business letter or email, spelling and grammar errors will colour my opinion of the sender's competence.

Last edited by bob++; 02-13-2020 at 06:21 PM.
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Old 02-13-2020, 06:21 PM
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Spoken language is a different creature than written language. In spoken language to, too, and two are the same sound and so are they're, their, and there.

Most online communication tends to mimic spoken English rather than written English. It's put onto the keyboard by sounds. (It's and its are also the same sounds.) People are essentially hearing themselves talk to others.

This may be bothersome to those of us who grew up in a world when all writing needed more or less formal, standard English. You'll notice , however, that when formal writing is called for, which is almost all cases other than social media, regular, standard written English dominates. Younger people will have no difficulty moving among what will be three varieties of English: spoken, written, and social.
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Old 02-13-2020, 06:24 PM
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Going by the long-term trend of thread titles in GQ mentioning "grammar" and then asking about spelling, punctuation, or stylistics, for many folks "grammar" is a catchall for English class in general.

In linguistics, "grammar" is defined as a combination of two things: morphology and syntax, each of which is a field of study in itself.
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Old 02-13-2020, 06:36 PM
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In spoken language to, too, and two are the same sound and so are they're, their, and there.
Not always; depends on the dialect and whether the word is stressed or unstressed.
Quote:
Most online communication tends to mimic spoken English rather than written English. It's put onto the keyboard by sounds. (It's and its are also the same sounds.) People are essentially hearing themselves talk to others.

This may be bothersome to those of us who grew up in a world when all writing needed more or less formal, standard English. You'll notice , however, that when formal writing is called for, which is almost all cases other than social media, regular, standard written English dominates. Younger people will have no difficulty moving among what will be three varieties of English: spoken, written, and social.
The informal communications I receive do not at all tend to be spelled badly, though they do seem to contain a larger proportion of smilies and emoticons.

ETA at one point it was important(?) to use SMS-speak to minimise one's character count and maximise typing speed.

Last edited by DPRK; 02-13-2020 at 06:37 PM.
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Old 02-13-2020, 06:36 PM
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I don't care if people misspell words in Facebook comments - I know that when I do it, it's more a typing mistake than a spelling mistake and there's only so much effort that I will put into a Facebook comment. I wouldn't expect an fifth grade English teacher to let it slide on a test - but I'm also not in love with the idea of giving a paper with "A"-quality content a "B" because of spelling and other errors that don't interfere with getting the point across. The idea of a test or paper is to determine how well someone understands the subject - so yes, for a spelling test, spelling counts. Not so much for a biology test. Making note of the errors or annotating the test/paper with corrections is one thing- lowering the mark is another. It's not like the paper with "B"-quality content gets an "A" because the spelling and grammar is perfect.
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Old 02-13-2020, 06:42 PM
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I don't care if people misspell words in Facebook comments - I know that when I do it, it's more a typing mistake than a spelling mistake and there's only so much effort that I will put into a Facebook comment. I wouldn't expect an fifth grade English teacher to let it slide on a test - but I'm also not in love with the idea of giving a paper with "A"-quality content a "B" because of spelling and other errors that don't interfere with getting the point across. The idea of a test or paper is to determine how well someone understands the subject - so yes, for a spelling test, spelling counts. Not so much for a biology test. Making note of the errors or annotating the test/paper with corrections is one thing- lowering the mark is another. It's not like the paper with "B"-quality content gets an "A" because the spelling and grammar is perfect.
Taking points off an assignment because of bad spelling and/or grammar is lame; if it's unreadable, I want to assume standard procedure is to have the student revise it.
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Old 02-13-2020, 06:43 PM
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[Moderating]

I don't see any factual questions here. Moving to MPSIMS.
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Old 02-13-2020, 07:38 PM
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[Moderating]

I don't see any factual questions here. Moving to MPSIMS.
Than queue.
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Old 02-13-2020, 08:18 PM
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Originally Posted by dan39 View Post
I see more often than not, people who don't know how to use proper terminology or spelling when trying to get a type-written message to be understood.

Granted, I know that when I went to school, spelling was a big thing and we always got marked on our good spelling and grammar, and if you spelled something wrong or used incorrect grammar, you were punished or received bad marks. It seems that today, it doesn't matter how you spell something, just as long as you make it sound like the way it's supposed to, you'll still get a good grade.

Teachers are our greatest resources when it comes to teaching kids how to properly spell at an early age, but it seems that some teachers today don't even care about how something is spelled or the correct use of grammar.

For example, your test might have you correct the following sentences:

Incorrect: Jane is going too the supermarket
Correct: Jane is going to the supermarket (not "to, two or too")

Incorrect: Michael through the ball (or "thru")
Correct: Michael threw the ball

Incorrect: David has offered to look after are dog while we are on vacation.
Correct: David has offered to look after our dog while we are on vacation.

My partner is a high school teacher and says as long as the kid gets the point across, it really doesn't matter how something is spelled and the kid will get a good grade.

Is there anyone out there that is bothered by reading comments on resources like Facebook and YouTube where some of the spelling is so abhorrent that we choose not to read comments anymore?
What subject does your partner teach? There are teachers in certain content areas who believe students' grades should reflect their performance on the standards in that area, not spelling, grammar, mechanics, syntax, etc.. I taught English and social studies, and while I see that point, if student can't express their ideas without requiring extra work on the part of the reader, it's hard to argue writing skills don't matter. Also, if those skills are required for other classes, students are more likely to learn and use them universally.

I do believe some people have a terrible time spelling. For essays that are word-processed, spelling is less of an issue. For other work, I corrected spelling errors but didn't count off for them. High school students have had enough writing experience, however, that they shouldn't be writing in fragments and run-ons in their junior year. One or two such errors in a history essay wouldn't have affected the grade--though I'd correct them and suggest working on them in my comments; more than one or two, and that's an issue. I did have students spend time on revisions and peer-editing and offered help for those deficient in those skills.

Today's students get so much "bad practice" in writing via tweets, posts, and texts, it's getting harder and harder to build strong writing skills.
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Old 02-13-2020, 08:56 PM
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Teachers are our greatest resources when it comes to teaching kids how to properly spell at an early age, but it seems that some teachers today don't even care about how something is spelled or the correct use of grammar.
I have a spreadsheet on which I enter student assessments twice yearly, tracking their use of 78 (I think) different spelling patterns, from initial /b/ through "tion" for /shun/, from doubling consonants when adding vowel suffixes to monosyllabic words with short vowels and single terminal consonants through using the "ize" suffix to change adjectives into verbs. Based on these assessments, I work with three other teachers to put students in eight different spelling groups working on different topics. Some kids are still working on silent e words with single syllables; others are using Greek and Latin roots to determine meanings of polysyllabic words like polysyllabic. We meet with our groups 1-3 times weekly to introduce and review patterns, test them weekly, and move students from group to group as necessary.


#notallteachers
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Old 02-13-2020, 10:14 PM
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Not always; depends on the dialect and whether the word is stressed or unstressed.
I'd be curious to find examples of dialects that differentiate to, too, and two and their, they're, and there. Can you give me examples?
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Old 02-13-2020, 11:23 PM
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I'd be curious to find examples of dialects that differentiate to, too, and two and their, they're, and there. Can you give me examples?
"They're", at least, is sometimes pronounced with an /eɪ/ "ay" sound, so that can differentiate it from "their" and "there." I'm not sure about distinguishing the other ones. There is an obsolete pronunciation of "two" that includes the "w", and Scots has "twa," but that one is spelled differently.
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Old 02-14-2020, 12:46 AM
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My pet peef is the people who use "staunch" and "stanch" interchangeably. I see this is news articles or op-eds a lot.
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Old 02-14-2020, 01:56 AM
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I'd be curious to find examples of dialects that differentiate to, too, and two and their, they're, and there. Can you give me examples?
Furthermore, you have probably heard "to" pronounced with a schwa or an ʊ, or even "ter", not just on Talk Like a Pirate Day. I admit "two" and "too" are usually pretty homophonic, except for the aforementioned Scots and similar dialects.

"They're" is pronounced "šeɪɚ" by some Americans according to Wiktionary; I want to say I've heard it, but cannot name the place off the top of my head. That leaves "their" vs "there"; again I want to say I've heard "there" sometimes pronounced with a short vowel ("šə")
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Old 02-14-2020, 02:47 AM
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Is there anyone out there that is bothered by...
Don't you mean, "Is there anyone out there WHO is bothered by..."?
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Old 02-14-2020, 03:13 AM
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I'd be curious to find examples of dialects that differentiate to, too, and two and their, they're, and there. Can you give me examples?
Where I come from in the north-east of England it is common enough for "to" to be merely a short "tuh" sound, i.e. "I'm off t'school". The ending sound of the number "two" is much closer too an "ow" sound (as in the expression of pain).
In the same area "there" becomes something more akin thee-er" and "their" is pretty much indistinguisable from the word "the".
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Old 02-14-2020, 03:59 AM
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Where I come from in the north-east of England
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Furthermore, you have probably heard "to" pronounced with a schwa or an ʊ, or even "ter", not just on Talk Like a Pirate Day. . . .
Not "probably" and not just in the north-east of English -- but rather, most of the time, in general. In standard English, to is mostly not pronounced the same as two or too, because it's seldom stressed.
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Old 02-14-2020, 04:16 AM
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It seems that today, it doesn't matter how you spell something, just as long as you make it sound like the way it's supposed to, you'll still get a good grade.
Do you have ANY data at all to support this assertion?

Specifically, do you have ANY data at all which show that "today" people do not spell as well as they did "before," or that spelling is not taught as much as "before today"?

I think instead of a "little English grammar lesson" (and, no, spelling is not grammar) what we might need here is a "big lesson" in how to avoid baseless and unsubstantiated assertions comparing "nowadays" and the "good old days."
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Old 02-14-2020, 07:31 AM
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I think you have a typo there. Bad if it's in a thread about grammar or punctuation.
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Yup, you're correct, but someone replied and I could no longer edit the message. I did catch it though!
For the life of me, I don't see it in this sentence. What is the typo? I only see "too" but that is intentionally misspelled.
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Old 02-14-2020, 07:37 AM
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For the life of me, I don't see it in this sentence. What is the typo? I only see "too" but that is intentionally misspelled.
(not "to, two or too")
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Old 02-14-2020, 07:49 AM
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(not "to, two or too")
Ha! Wow, good catch.

As for the OP, those seem to be the classic misspellings. Even in school, teachers try to stress the differences among the various homophones such as: there, their, they're; through, thru, threw; to, too, two; hour, are, our; weak, week; knew, new; peace, piece, weather, whether, etc. I think that's been a battle since the beginning of English. But the one that I've been seeing recently has been blowing my mind. I see it mostly on Facebook and it drives me crazy. I have to skip reading the rest of the post when I see it. It's mostly found in the For Sale type group pages.

Sell vs. Sale

When the fuck did this ever become an issue? It seems like everyone is getting this wrong all of a sudden. Am I crazy, or has this always been a problem? Has anyone else noticed this?

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For Sell:
I moved into a smaller apartment, so I need to sale this couch fast
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Old 02-14-2020, 08:14 AM
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Ha! Wow, good catch.
And it really should be:

(not "two" or "too").
or
(not two or too).

At any rate, the "or" should be set off from the words being discussed.
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Old 02-14-2020, 08:14 AM
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Yup, you're correct, but someone replied and I could no longer edit the message. I did catch it though!
The edit window closes after five minutes, not after the first response. Your edit window closed before the first reply.
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Old 02-14-2020, 08:18 AM
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I too have a double standard. I have a nephew who frequently posts on FB and his spiling an grammer ar atroshus, but it is not for me to correct him and I think doing so would be akin to bullying.

Many people on forums, even, believe it or not, on this forum, make mistakes but it is generally considered bad form to correct them. In any case, one can be sure that Muphry's law will come into effect if one does.
You misspelled “Murphy’s” (although I suspect that was done deliberately, for humorous effect). More to the point, you misspelled “Gaudere’s.”
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Old 02-14-2020, 09:40 AM
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You misspelled “Murphy’s” (although I suspect that was done deliberately, for humorous effect). More to the point, you misspelled “Gaudere’s.”
“Muphry’s Law” is another name for “Gaudere’s Law.” Outside the Dope, I believe it is the more common usage.

Last edited by pulykamell; 02-14-2020 at 09:44 AM.
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Old 02-14-2020, 12:10 PM
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"They're", at least, is sometimes pronounced with an /eɪ/ "ay" sound, so that can differentiate it from "their" and "there." I'm not sure about distinguishing the other ones. There is an obsolete pronunciation of "two" that includes the "w", and Scots has "twa," but that one is spelled differently.
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Furthermore, you have probably heard "to" pronounced with a schwa or an ʊ, or even "ter", not just on Talk Like a Pirate Day. I admit "two" and "too" are usually pretty homophonic, except for the aforementioned Scots and similar dialects.

"They're" is pronounced "šeɪɚ" by some Americans according to Wiktionary; I want to say I've heard it, but cannot name the place off the top of my head. That leaves "their" vs "there"; again I want to say I've heard "there" sometimes pronounced with a short vowel ("šə")
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Where I come from in the north-east of England it is common enough for "to" to be merely a short "tuh" sound, i.e. "I'm off t'school". The ending sound of the number "two" is much closer too an "ow" sound (as in the expression of pain).
In the same area "there" becomes something more akin thee-er" and "their" is pretty much indistinguisable from the word "the".
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Not "probably" and not just in the north-east of English -- but rather, most of the time, in general. In standard English, to is mostly not pronounced the same as two or too, because it's seldom stressed.
I think guizot said it best. The lack of stress (or suppression of endings) in certain words is not technically the same as a dialectal variant, since it is practiced across dialects. It's possible that someone might write "I gonna t'da'store" to save a few keystrokes but that's obviously a deliberate move.

Wikitionary states that they're, their, and there are homophones. You might find individual variations but no body of speakers as large as a dialect differentiates them in America.

Nitpicking aside, my point was that people will often write the first word that represents a sound used in everyday speech. Whether this is consistent across all users or even consistent from day to day in one person's usage is irrelevant if it explains a large portion of solecisms.
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Old 02-14-2020, 01:04 PM
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You misspelled “Murphy’s” (although I suspect that was done deliberately, for humorous effect). More to the point, you misspelled “Gaudere’s.”
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“Muphry’s Law” is another name for “Gaudere’s Law.” Outside the Dope, I believe it is the more common usage.
Huh. TIL, I guess. Ta.

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Old 02-14-2020, 02:07 PM
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Wikitionary states that they're, their, and there are homophones. You might find individual variations but no body of speakers as large as a dialect differentiates them in America.
They can be homophones, but you can alternatively pronounce "they're" as rhyming with "layer", which you can't really do with there or their.
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Old 02-14-2020, 02:47 PM
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It kind of does, but I think I got my concern across. I'm not an eloquent speaker, but I know how to spell. LOL!
So you’re bothered because Kids Today are confusing or deliberately misusing their/there, it’s/its, passed/past, etc. Your partner who is a teacher says that as long as the point is made, the student gets a good grade, but you are bothered by this idea.

YET, right here in the thread YOU started, someone points out a couple of errors (one grammatical, one typo/not paying attention) and YOU say “oh, well, you know what I mean.” Tsk, tsk, tsk.

In other words, you’re bothered by errors you notice, but not your own since you are, after all, able to communicate your point.

Pot, meet Kettle; Kettle, Pot.
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Old 02-14-2020, 03:09 PM
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My daughter is 34. When she was in first grade and they were starting to write, I asked her teacher about correcting her spelling. The teacher said they taught "Whole Language" with an emphasis on "say what they wanted to say." Spelling and such would come later. Sadly, I listened to her. My daughter can't spell worth a darn.

Written communication not only tells what you want to say, but it tells something about you by the way you express yourself. It may not be fair, but when I read something that's full of misspellings or atrocious grammar (not just the stray goof) it makes me wonder about the value of what the writer is trying to convey.
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Old 02-14-2020, 04:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Exapno Mapcase View Post
Spoken language is a different creature than written language. In spoken language to, too, and two are the same sound and so are they're, their, and there.

Most online communication tends to mimic spoken English rather than written English. It's put onto the keyboard by sounds. (It's and its are also the same sounds.) People are essentially hearing themselves talk to others.

This may be bothersome to those of us who grew up in a world when all writing needed more or less formal, standard English. You'll notice , however, that when formal writing is called for, which is almost all cases other than social media, regular, standard written English dominates. Younger people will have no difficulty moving among what will be three varieties of English: spoken, written, and social.
I disagree with the last paragraph. The difference between formal writing (as in a formal letter, or a book or academic paper) and informal writing as in social media or casual emails is a matter of style (register). That includes some types of contractions and colloquialisms that one wouldn't use in more formal contexts, but otherwise spelling is spelling and bad spelling is bad writing in any context. The use of the wrong homophone (especially simple stupid things like "to" vs. "too") really pisses me off. "Its" vs. "it's" is also very common. I can overlook the misspelling of a complex word, but homophone misuse is just laziness. And the fact that we see expressions like "should of" and "would of" is evidence that some people -- young or otherwise -- do in fact have difficulty moving between spoken and written language. And I've seen examples of unintentionally hilarious business letters that prove that same point.

Grammar is a whole other issue. I've become much less rigorous over the years about prescriptive grammar rules and I agree that some of the arbitrary prescriptive rules that are presumably still taught in schools are stupid. But bad grammar is still a thing, and the internet abounds in it, to the point of some postings being nearly or entirely incomprehensible. When I see truly atrocious writing I generally don't even bother trying to decipher it, on the basis that the writer probably had nothing worthwhile to say anyway.

This is not about how some people are better writers than others; it's about the fact that any native English speaker is capable of writing comprehensibly if they just make the effort to do so. Some people actually claim to be proud of the fact that they don't give a damn about their writing or what anyone else thinks of it. I think most of that is just an excuse for laziness.
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Old 02-14-2020, 04:06 PM
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FairyChatMom, thanks for returning this to the issue posed in the OP. I thought it was a good topic for discussion I hope the posts taking the OP to task for writing errors will stop now, especially since the OP acknowledged the error way back. Ironically, they're making the OP's point: they focused on his spelling, not his message.

FCM raises a good point about the manner in which children are taught to read and its impact on spelling. I'm not an elementary teacher, but I do think the phonetic approach to reading (as opposed to whole language) tends to produce better spellers. Some people are poor spellers no matter which approach is used. I think we're still trying to figure out why that is.

When it comes to communication, clarity is crucial. FCM isn't alone in finding that errors weaken the writer's authority. Also, when readers have to decipher writing errors, it forces them to shift their focus away from the ideas the writer is trying to express.
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Old 02-14-2020, 04:12 PM
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It is a narrow minded person who thinks there is only one way to spell a word.
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Old 02-14-2020, 04:17 PM
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My grammar gripe is folks who don't know the objective from subjective pronouns. Specifically when it comes to prepositional phrases! My GAWD, the years I spent diagramming sentences!

"Between you and I" is so commonplace, I guess square pegs are being pounded into round holes.

And I have been known to uncontrollably weep at the dreadful word "alright."

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Old 02-14-2020, 04:39 PM
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Eh, grammar is still important but spelling is nowhere near as important as it used to be.

Spellcheck has done to spelling that calculators have done to math.

I know that statement ruffles the feathers of old people, but it is what it is.
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Old 02-14-2020, 06:25 PM
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Originally Posted by FairyChatMom View Post
My daughter is 34. When she was in first grade and they were starting to write, I asked her teacher about correcting her spelling. The teacher said they taught "Whole Language" with an emphasis on "say what they wanted to say." Spelling and such would come later. Sadly, I listened to her. My daughter can't spell worth a darn.

Written communication not only tells what you want to say, but it tells something about you by the way you express yourself. It may not be fair, but when I read something that's full of misspellings or atrocious grammar (not just the stray goof) it makes me wonder about the value of what the writer is trying to convey.
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Originally Posted by Johanna View Post
That was the hot new pedagogical trend in the 1990s when my children went to grade school. When the teacher laid that on us at the first parent-teacher meeting I was, if not horrified, deeply dismayed. What was wrong with phonics? I was brought up on phonics in the 1960s and look how well I turned out. Even though it's necessary to eventually break the paradigm of phonics to progress in English, phonics has proved to be the best method for beginning literacy. My kids were deliberately kept disadvantaged in spelling and they had to work extra hard to overcome that. If they hadn't had my example to learn from, they might still be as semi-literate as the Facebook crowd. ::shudder::
Thankfully, the reading wars seem to be over. For now. Who knows when someone will create a fabulous, new method to teach literacy that isn't about teaching but making the authors and publisher money.

But the whole language vs. pure phonics seems to be over. Phonics is taught in primary grades, but vocabulary must be taught right alongside it. Being able to pronounce words is useless if you don't know what the word means. Conversely, children just can't memorize every word in the English language and need to be able to decode them.
Spelling is not the most important aspect of writing in the younger grades, because if a child cannot spell the simplest words, they can never get any ideas on paper. So let them use invented spelling, and then teach them how to spell the words. Same with grammar. Tell me your ideas, and let me help you turn them into sentences that other people can understand.
Our 2nd grade spelling lists are based on phonics. All the words of the week have the same vowel sound. Students need to memorize which spelling of that sound for each word.
For older students, they should be corrected but not penalized unless that is the lesson. Is the class English or History?
For Internet posts, unless the writing is illegible it can be an annoyance but not world-ending. Except for the ones who have glaring errors while telling everyone how much smarter they are.
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Old 02-14-2020, 06:37 PM
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Do you think maybe some people choose not to spell correctly simply because they don't care? Would this be apathy?
Not always. My PhD thesis advisor was a notoriously bad speller. In his specialty (homological algebra, if you care), the word kernel came up all the time. And every time, every time, he would write on the blackboard k-e-r-n, long hesitation, then a-l. He knew that he always misspelled it and seemed to go through something like, "Well, I think it is an e but I always do it wrong, so I'll try an a." Did I mention he did this every time.

Once he wrote, "Having choosen [whatever]", titter in the classroom; finally someone corrects him and he continues, "we now chose..." Once he wrote "devision". But he was a fine mathematician who just could not spell.

I am generally a decent speller, not as good as my wife, but decent. Still I consider it a relatively minor ability. Like good handwriting. Mainly it marks how poorly English spelling represents the pronunciation.
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Old 02-14-2020, 07:18 PM
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Being able to pronounce words is useless if you don't know what the word means.
Well, the whole point of phonics is that the learner already knows a word--already knows how to pronounce it. The word is part of the child's spoken vocabulary already, and that previous knowledge is used to facilitate learning how the word is represented in print.

I've noticed that many people don't seem to understand that. They think that the learner is somehow acquiring new vocabulary with phonics, by simply making sounds with her mouth. By extension, then, they assume that reading is simply the process of figuring out the "sounds" represented on a page or screen. Research on the cognition of reading showed long ago that proficient reading is much more than that, and that phonics alone can only be an initial bridge which gets the learner just so far.
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Old 02-17-2020, 11:12 AM
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Originally Posted by FairyChatMom View Post
My daughter is 34. When she was in first grade and they were starting to write, I asked her teacher about correcting her spelling. The teacher said they taught "Whole Language" with an emphasis on "say what they wanted to say." Spelling and such would come later. Sadly, I listened to her. My daughter can't spell worth a darn.

Written communication not only tells what you want to say, but it tells something about you by the way you express yourself. It may not be fair, but when I read something that's full of misspellings or atrocious grammar (not just the stray goof) it makes me wonder about the value of what the writer is trying to convey.
I was just going to post this. My son would be the same age as your daughter. In first grade, he was in the class that was experimenting with Whole Language. First grade is when you learn the foundation for reading and writing. Whole language lets the kids spell words however they wanted. The parents were told how wonderful it was going to be. The kids could be creative without fearing a bad grade. The kids had to keep a daily journal in class. He would bring them home every month or so. I could barely pick out a word or two on each page that I recognized! It was the worst year - just wasted. How I wish I would have pulled him out of there. For the next few years he had to go to special classes to catch up on reading and spelling. We had to practice at home every evening. After all of that, he hated reading. He never read a book for enjoyment. That hurt my heart - I've always loved reading. Not liking to read affects everything else you do.

That was the first and last year the school used that method of teaching.
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Old 02-17-2020, 12:14 PM
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Facebook, Reddit, Twitter, even StraightDope? Yes, I might judge somebody a bit when they write something incorrectly. But I'm not going to worry about it too much.

Coworker using "u" in Instant Message? Yep, my opinion of them is going down the tubes. It's only 2 more letters.

For non-native speakers, flexible spelling and word choice makes it more difficult for the reader to understand the message. Google translate is able to compensate for a lot of writing errors, but it takes time.

My favorites at this point in time?
googles instead of goggles
scrapping instead of scraping

Many people won't even notice the errors. But it certainly makes translation difficult.
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Old 02-17-2020, 01:54 PM
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"The sun is shinning"—ah, so that's how it climbs up the sky.
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Old 02-17-2020, 03:53 PM
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There's nothing new about spelling errors, and people don't spell any worse than they have done throughout history. This is a myth.

I'm sure the main reason threads like this constantly come up (which inevitably devolve into random pet peeves) is that with digital communications people are putting informal language increasingly into text, and those communications are more readily shared. You know those letters in you see in Civil War documentaries? They're props, with the spelling errors corrected. Actual unpublished (non-professional) written communications in the past were no different from what we're seeing today.

It has nothing to do with teaching methodologies, either. The fact has always been that standard writing is highly conventionalized--it's a long process of gradual socialization (extending well beyond phonics or whole language, or even high school), and historically most people haven't had the need to go through that. Those who have gone through that socialization forget how long it takes, and that they, too, made errors at one time. Unlike speech, writing is artificial--no one is born with a natural ability to become an accurate writer.

Elizabeth Wardle in the Chronicle of Higher Education ("What Critics of Student Writing Get Wrong," Aug 30, 2019--sorry, paywall) points out the "students-today-can't-write-like-they-used-to" myth:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Elizabeth Wardle
In the late 1800s, Harvard sounded an alarm about the "illiteracy of American youth" due to the fact that, when suddenly presented with the need to write extensively on an entrance exam with no prior writing instruction, students struggled to do so.
She notes (referring to David's Russell's research on the history writing at American universities), the periodic alarms that come out--in magazines, etc.--that "Johnny Can't Write," and so on, like a broken record over the decades.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Elizabeth Wardle
These are only a few of the complaints spanning over 130 years; all sound eerily similar, and nearly all allude to a golden era of student writing that, as Russell’s history clearly illustrates, never existed.
That "golden age" is in your head, and it's really more just self-flattery to decry how developing writers haven't gotten as far as you.
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