Tag Archives: spelling

Punctuation Abuse is on the Rise

It’s a well-known fact that I tend to become a tad upset when people do not obey the rules of PUGS. Blame the English teacher in me. Point the finger at my upbringing. Taunt me if you will, but it drives me completely batshit crazy to see the lack of proper punctuation floating around these days. I swear it’s becoming an epidemic! Spend five minutes reading any blog, Twitter stream, or Facebook Wall and you’ll understand where I’m coming from. It’s enough to make me reach for the unboxing juice… even when I’m not opening anything!

Whether you’re trying to save time or hoping to come across as cute or funny, it’s not working. Intentionally spelling words incorrectly makes you look like an idiot. Adding extra letters isn’t “cool,” it’s just plain silly. Attempting to be l33t is so 2009, dude. Knock it off! Take the extra time to spell words correctly and add in those commas or periods.

How is anyone ever going to take you seriously if they cannot figure out what the heck you’re trying to say? Sadly, it’s not only teenagers I see doing this on a regular basis. There are many adults out there who are just as guilty. I actually read a blog post a few hours ago that might have been phenomenal if it wasn’t full of run-on sentences and words spelled incorrectly. This post was written by someone I respect under normal circumstances. Glancing quickly through other pages on his site, I was saddened to learn that this happens regularly. Apparently, he doesn’t think enough of his readers (YOU!) to take the time to get things right.

I’m not perfect. I make mistakes occasionally – even with my PUGS. The key is that I don’t do it on purpose. I also don’t do it often. I spend those extra few moments to check through my work. I fix up any errors I may come across, and go back to correct anything that is pointed out to me later on. Maintaining a professional image is important to me. I would hope it is to you, as well.

For those of you who are sticking your tongue out at me right now due to the fact that you’re only fifteen, you need to pay attention. You aren’t a business person yet, no. You likely aren’t worried about how professional you appear. It’s also quite probable that you haven’t yet realized that your digital footprint will follow you for the rest of your life. You read that right: the rest of your life. Just a few years from now, you’ll want to get into a great college. One look at your Twitter stream may get you turned down pretty fast, young grasshoppers.

Be mindful of what you’re doing. It only takes a few seconds to type out a word the right way. It takes even less time to add in some punctuation. Doing these small things can boost people’s perception of you in a very big way.

Too, To and Two


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For the last video in the Grammar Teacher series, I had to discuss the difference between the words too, to and two. Too often, people are either too lazy (or just don’t care) to use these words properly when writing. How hard is it? And by the way – these videos were done at the request of viewers. That must mean they have several people they want to send these to!

Too is an adverb which means in addition to. It can be used in a sentence to indicate more than one thing: I am going to the mall, too..

To is a preposition, used for expressing motion or direction toward a point, person, place, or thing approached and reached, as opposed to from. I am going to the mall later today.

Two is a number! It comes after the number one, and before the number three! Some of you write as though you are still two years old.

It’s not rocket science.

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Their, There, and They’re


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Hey there. Someone sent you the link to this video to let you know there’s a difference between the words there, their and they’re. It’s not difficult to figure out, I promise you that. Why can’t you just take two minutes, pay attention, and learn the basics?!

There is an adverb which means into or to that place. To use this word properly in a sentence, you would say something like We are going there tomorrow..

Their is a pronoun, which is defined as a form of the possessive case of they used as an attributive adjective, before a noun. It’s simple to use this word in a sentence. Try something like: We are going to their pool party next week..

They’re is a contraction of the words they are. If you are writing a sentence and are unsure as to whether you are using this word correctly, ask yourself if you can substitute they are, instead. If it works, you’re in business! They’re all going to the tweetup tonight.

See? It’s really not that hard. Start paying attention in school – especially to your English teacher!

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This is a Sentence


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How difficult is it really to speak and write properly? Why is it that so many people cannot manage this simple task? Do they not pay attention in school? Are they too lazy to care how they come across to others?

A sentence begins with a capital letter. It also ends in some type of punctuation mark. If you’re going to bother to write something, at least know how to correctly form a sentence. Otherwise – stop bothering me.

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You’re and Your


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Yes, I am a grammar cop. It drives me insane when I see someone use common words incorrectly. For instance: your and you’re are NOT interchangeable. There is a distinct difference, one which you should have learned back in junior high. If you have forgotten the difference, I’ll be happy to explain!

Your is a form of the possessive case of you, used as an attributive adjective: Your jacket is in the closet. In that sentence, your clearly denotes that the jacket belongs to you.

You’re, on the other hand, is simply a contraction of the words you and are. You’re going to be late if you don’t hurry! In that example, you’re is clearly a shorter way of writing (typing) out the words you and are.

Now – close your eyes, and commit these to memory. I guarantee that the next time you use one of them incorrectly, someone is going to send you this video. If they do, you have no one to blame but yourself.

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The State of the English Language Online

Someone by the name of Mr. Martinez sent me this email the other day. The message struck me as unique, given that it was rather well written (and I’m quite used to receiving incoherent blather). He believes that the English language is headed towards a meltdown…

The Internet has given me endless opportunities to contact people – to exchange ideas, opinions and concerns with them. Having English as my 3rd language (in Europe, we have to learn three languages in school) sometimes results in me accidently communicating in a malformed structure. This is, however, not much of a problem with other people – so long as I can form coherent sentences.

I have, during the last few years, encountered a distinctive (and obvious) degradation of the English language online among people that carry the English language as their mother tongue. It is sometimes mind-blowing how poorly people spell and form sentences – and this coming from people who have spoken and written English far longer than I have!

I have often found on forums and chat rooms people who were born in the U.S., raised in the U.S., but cannot (for the life of them) spell correctly, form sentences correctly, etc. Some of the American people I chat with have so many poorly formed sentences that you cannot possibly understand what it is they’re trying to say.

This all began, I believe, with the emergence of SMS – where you had a limited amount of characters and you had to compress words, use acronyms frequently, and find shortcuts to get your message through the very limited space you could use. This, I find inexcusable to use on the Internet, since there are really no restrictions on how many letters you are allowed to use in one message. [Editor’s note: Twitter may be the exception.]

I know that you studied English as well, and I notice that during your live feeds, you often correct people’s mistakes (which I think is the right thing to do) – and you always put emphasis on how important it is that people learn how to communicate clearly.

Do you believe there is a degradation of the English language online?

Do you believe that this degradation will get worse, or do you believe it’s just a phase? What is your opinion about “text speak” and “elite speak” – the kind of “speak” where you either leave out vowels completely, or substitute letters with numbers. Do you encourage spell checkers in browsers, or should people just learn not to butcher the English language when expressing themselves online?

I’m curious to hear your opinion from someone who has studied English as a Major in University – or just make another live feed of it so I can watch it on YouTube later.

Yes, it’s frustrating to see that few people seem to care about how they compose their digital presence anymore. You’d have been laughed off the newsgroups if you flew in there displaying nothing more than a molecule of what might be considered intelligence. Now, we’re face to face with the AOL’ification of the English language.

Let me put it to you this way: if you can’t write your way out of a coherent sentence, my respect level for you automatically drops by half. I don’t care if you’re seventeen or seventy – if you can use a keyboard, learn to use your language skills.

I’m not bothered by ‘1337’ speak (or random truncations), but I am bothered by poor punctuation, usage, grammar, and spelling. I’m not sure if it’s laziness or idiocy, but I just don’t think you have much of a future if you can’t string together more than two words.

How do You Improve Your Writing Skills?


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I’ve developed an acronym: PUGS. It’s short for Punctuation, Usage, Grammar and Spelling. If you remember your PUGS, then you’re going to create a better piece of text. People take you more seriously, and you will come across as a professional if you are using proper grammar. Yes, I can be forceful with my belief that you are smarter than you come across when you don’t write very well. Considering that a large part of being online is text… it’s important that you can write.

Maybe you know how to write, but you’re looking to become more creative. What resources are out there to help you? Language is a Virus won’t install malicious software on your computer. It will, however, give you a ton of new and creative ideas to get you started (or help you finish!). There are so many things on this site to help you, that I’m not even going to list everything. You need to head over there and check them all out. However, some of what you’ll find includes:

  • Poetry and random-line generators.
  • Title-o-Matic and character name generators.
  • Places on the site to post your own stories and poems.
  • Writing experiment exercises.
  • Poetry, Creativity, Writing and Language articles

If you’re having writer’s block, or even just need a little extra boost… this is an excellent resource for you. There are tons of widgets on the site that you can use should you choose. The creative writing exercises are truly amazing, and a lot of fun. You’ll even find articles and tutorials helping you along your path to writing a novel or screenplay!

You don’t need to have a degree in English, nor do you have to speak English as your primary language to get a lot of use out of this site. No matter how good you are (or aren’t!), you’ll get even better with practice.

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