From: Doc Shipley <doc_at_mdrconsult.com>
Date: Mon Feb 2 15:54:10 2004

On Feb 2, 2004, at 2:57 PM, Teo Zenios wrote:
> What is the burning desire that makes people go out of their way to
> correct
> grammar in posts? Unlike in programming where a decimal point in the
> wrong
> place means something completely different , you can misspell a word
> and the
> target audience still knows exactly what your talking about. The
> English
> language is full of words bastardized by the locals to communicate with
> whatever society conquered England at the time (Vikings, Normans,
> etc). The
> language and spelling changes slightly every year and can be used to
> figure
> out what society and era the text came from (I bet bootyliscious is in
> the
> dictionary by now).

   BS. Nobody's correcting anything that's in the gray zone.

   Why do we "go out of our way" to correct abominable grammar,
spelling, or the latest "Caps-don't-mean-shit-to-me-so-why-bother"

   Because it's like fingernails on a chalk board. Because I write
technical documentation for a living and I know that, no matter what
the lazy writer or correspondent wants to believe, it *does* matter.
If nothing else, it makes the writer appear sloppy and uneducated. To
the literate reader, even a minor mistake in spelling or punctuation
causes a stop and check, costing time and irritation.

   For a person whose first language is not English, and there are many
on this list, your claim that "the target audience knows exactly what
your[0] talking about" is not a reasonable assumption at all. It's
only your familiarity with idiom and correct usage that allows you to
translate the mistakes easily.

   Mostly, to me, it's insulting. I go to some trouble to make sure
that my writing and my correspondence are correctly proofed and
sensible. I sort of expect the same behavior, especially in a group of
ostensibly intelligent and educated technicians.

    A total absence, or random misuse, of capitals and punctuation not
only negates any credibility the writer or poster might have had, and
the post takes much, much longer to parse. I usually don't bother to
try to read that sort of spew at all.

   Mostly I go to the trouble to correct consistent bad grammar or
spelling because much of what I know I learned when somebody told me
"Hey, did you know you're screwing that up?" If I can't take
reasonable correction and learn from it, that pretty much defines me as
an idiot.

        Doc, putting away the soapbox

[0] Took all I had not to misquote that.
Received on Mon Feb 02 2004 - 15:54:10 GMT

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