Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Ends don't Justify the Medium

What puts me off most when I read people's blogs?
Strange as it seems, not the opinions. I do think that each of us has the right to have- and air-their own opinions. What really irritates me- and often, leads me to stop reading mid-sentence- are things that I find inexcusable in any form of writing. Grammatical errors/ typos, and the use of sms-ese. Rite?

As I said above, I respect your opinions. But the means used to express the opinion also needs to to be respected. The language is often mutilated beyond recognition. Sms-ese is not English, by any stretch of the imagination. Even more so when you are using it in a public forum. We already know that you don't know English, you really do not have to prove it to the world as well!

Even more cringe worthy is bad grammar. And the worst of the lot are spelling mistakes. I mean, if you are using sms-ese and you know it, fine, but if you are using proper English and then making horrendous errors, it is a lot worse. If you don't know English, please use grammar check in MS Word. And then Spell-Check in MS Word. That will make life easier for all of us.

Very often, I chance on some random blog and start reading, only to find that the language is stilted, not flowing correctly, or just plain wrong! I can not begin to describe my irritation when I think of the multitude of blogs that manage to attain the above distinction. Then I wonder, if something is truly better than nothing? A little knowledge (in this case, of the English Language) is truly a dangerous thing.

What makes it worse? That these semi-literate people go on happily writing, leaving the rest of us utterly frustrated. For two reasons: one, we have to read such stuff and feel sorry for the English language, its users and its readers. Secondly, the sheer blindness of fools.

Just because it is a blog does not mean that the medium of expression can be compromised. It does not make the rules any less stringent. I use Hindi all the time in my writing, but that does not mean I make any grammar errors in my English.

Language is a tool to be used- used for crafting paragraphs, poetry and prose. Language is a medium of communication. Language is a means of expression. Please, use this medium with the respect it deserves. Just because you know it does not allow you to use it incautiously (or even because you do not know it, as can be seen). The end- in this case, self-expression- does not justify misusing the means.


Richa said...

Agreed. I usually get a headache while trying to read through such posts/emails.

Though I am not sure if my grammar or my spellings are always right. When I write, I am a tad bit more emotional to think about them and hence usually screw it up. At times, when I read my old posts, I see so many mistakes and how I could have better constructed the sentence, paragraph and at times, the entire post..

Tomer said...

> use grammar check in MS Word

BTW, on this topic, there is a good spell check program Spell Check Anywhere (SpellCheckAnywhere.Com). It works in all programs, including blogs-- and it also has optional grammar check.

Rachna said...

@Richa- Oh come on, you write so well! Believe me, I wouldn't have read you otherwise.

And even I feel that in my posts, I could have constructed a better sentence, etc. But the blog is not an academic paper (thank god ;) so not-so-good sentence construction is fine, as long as the grammar is correct. I don't ask for perfectly written, edited a zillion times blog. Just decent grammar and no typos.
Apparently, that is also too much too ask!

Sue said...

Thanks Rachna, I'll link up. But you know, in keeping with the one rule RMB does ask of you, would you consider another post? Perhaps on Hindi, since almost everybody is writing solely about errors in English? Think it over, no pressure.

Tomer -- Word's Grammar Check is very iffy. Quite frequently gets confused with my sentences even when they are perfectly accurate, grammatically speaking.

GettingThereNow said...

Phew!! You think so too??! I can't tell you how many blogs I have stopped reading because my brain could not handle the constant deciphering effort required to understand the posts!

I might make mistakes too. But I do make a sincere and honest attempt at proof-reading all my posts and emails. Even texts. Bad grammar and wrong spelling just irritate me immensely!

Have you read this?


GettingThereNow said...

@Sue: I have been thinking of writing a post on mistakes people make in Hindi but have been very short on time. Will give it a try this weekend.

Rachna said...

@GTN- Oh glad to know you also feel the same. I really wish all these people would learn English/ get a grammar course and then come back.
Read your link, and am horrified. As if the new generation isn't bad enough (enuf), what with sms-ing and all!

Rachna said...

@Sue- left this long comment on your blog about why I have second thoughts about Hindi.