I've never posted a rant about grammar before, and I don't want this to be a rant either, but I can't help noticing that grammatical and spelling errors are becoming increasingly common on the web, in the news, and even in advertising. Where are the copy editors of yesteryear? And why do people continue to make the same mistakes, over and over again?
Some of these (like using should of, would of, or could of as a substitute for should have, would have, or could have) are so easy to spot and correct that I never cease to be amazed when they quite regularly are not spotted or corrected. I mean, this is pretty basic stuff, right? Adding to my annoyance is the frequent interchanging of such words as affect and effect, your and you're, it's and its, there and their, which and that, less and fewer, etc....to say nothing of using I as an object when me is the right choice or throwing in a whom where it doesn't even begin to belong.
Agreement errors are common, too, including tenses that change within a sentence, subjects and verbs that should never be seen together, and pronouns that have nothing whatsoever to do with their antecedents. Dangling participles, split infinitives, and sentences ending in prepositions are also commonplace. Using different than instead of different from and forgetting that you bring it home and take it away are less obvious errors, but that doesn't stop either one from being pet peeves of mine.
Even the use of commas has run amok, as evidenced by this example of a fractured quote, taken directly from an article in a "prestigious" newspaper: "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil, is that good men do nothing." You can be sure that poor old Edmund Burke would be chagrined to see a comma arbitrarily placed before his verb. (And by the way, please note that all commas and periods are now placed inside quotation marks, with no exceptions.)
We all make mistakes, myself included, but it appears that not all of us actually care about them. And that's where my worries lie, because preserving the English language in all its glory, eccentricity, and inconsistency is important to me.
So what do you think? Am I a nit-picking old fussbudget (aka elitist linguistic dinosaur), or are ya feelin' me?
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