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 Post subject: Can't read it wrong
PostPosted: Mon Aug 29, 2016 4:49 am 
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I'm getting increasingly frustrated whilst reading - or trying to read - online newspaper and blog articles. I don't know whether the use of English is getting worse, or whether it's a particular quirk of my brain that is getting more pronounced, but what I'm going to describe is happening to me more and more often.

The "brain quirk" I'm referring to is this: if I see a word spelled wrongly, or the use of a wrong word or a blatantly wrong piece of punctuation, I just can't get past it. (This is not the same as there being typos in a piece of writing, which I easily skip over.) For instance, it often happens nowadays that a writer will use "it's" when they probably mean "its"; the problem for me is that it stops me dead in my tracks and all I can think about is worrying about whether I've got the writer's meaning right, or whether they really did mean what they wrote; but usually, it's impossible to interpret the piece using the words they've used, so I find that I just can't read the rest of the article. (Another one recently was "Bare with me a moment here ..." What on earth could the writer have meant?)

I'm serious about this. It's not me being picky. I genuinely cannot finish articles where this sort of thing happens. ("Could of" or "should of" are other examples.) Now, you will see that I am aware of what the writers in these cases probably meant, but honestly, I just can't get past the - probable - error.

Does anyone else have this "brain quirk"? It's starting to get annoying ...

:-?

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 Post subject: Re: Can't read it wrong
PostPosted: Mon Aug 29, 2016 7:22 am 
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No. I don't have quite the same problem. I think, though, that one tends to lose one's willingness to suspend disbelief when reading further. When viewing such material, I will "consider the source", which has now been tainted upfront. I mean, they start off by essentially telling me they're stupid, but expect me to listen to what they have to say next. I have the same issue with the sometimes wonderfully-crafted memes, posters & articles on Facebook that can't spell correctly. A lot of work was apparently put into the idea and the graphics, but they fail to be convincing when the words shout their ignorance.

It's also amazing what effort and expense go into producing commercial material for businesses - ads, signs, flyers, business cards, etc. all seemingly without the benefit of a proofreader. It's not that uncommon to see horrible work, along the lines of "RIO Olypmics" make it into final print. I even have a magnification app on my phone that through many updates still ends with "Thank you for using Mangifier". You're welcome.


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 Post subject: Re: Can't read it wrong
PostPosted: Mon Aug 29, 2016 11:47 am 
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CAVEAT: What follows for me refers to news, editorials, ads, and suchlike, not private correspondence or posts. Some people just have trouble with writing, and I get that. No problem. Ads and journalism, however, are quite another matter.

benhall.1 wrote:
Does anyone else have this "brain quirk"? It's starting to get annoying ...

Not to such a debilitating degree as you report, but...

kkrell wrote:
When viewing such material, I will "consider the source", which has now been tainted upfront. I mean, they start off by essentially telling me they're stupid, but expect me to listen to what they have to say next.

That's where I'm at. I'm capable of reading further, but at that point it's abundantly clear that the writer is only interested in glibly shoveling out product. In standard journalism I regard good English - not stilted; good - to be not only a mark of respect toward the reader, but also a mark of the writer's self-respect, so without that I can only conclude that the writer doesn't take me or the message seriously. And sorry, buddy, but that counts.

Years back, journalism and advertisement were reliable sources of good grammar, spelling, and usage in English letters if ever you needed quick examples from the street; indeed, I always thought of journalism as the vanguard of good English usage in daily practice. No longer. It might be argued nowadays that the message is more important than the wrapping, or that the wrapping makes the message more accessible because flaws make it more "populist", but I see these as cynical and facetious excuses for laziness and disinterest in the reader.

Sometimes it's just plain incurious ignorance. Lately my pet peeve is the use of "hone in on" for "home in on". Jumping on that defective bandwagon doesn't make it more okay, because both "hone" and "home" are simple English words with very different meanings last time I looked. "Hone in on" doesn't even make any grammatical sense, if you bother to spend the couple of minutes it takes online to find out why.

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 Post subject: Re: Can't read it wrong
PostPosted: Mon Aug 29, 2016 1:24 pm 
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I have all of these pet peeves and more. My latest annoyance is, for example, "setup" vs. "set up."
"Setup" being a noun and "set up" being a verb + adverb. Seems obvious to me, but I still see people saying things like "I need to setup my computer."
Hangout, workout, and similar words seem to be causing the same problem.

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 Post subject: Re: Can't read it wrong
PostPosted: Mon Aug 29, 2016 1:29 pm 
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I think you've both understood immediately where I am coming from. And that delights me. I was worried that I might not be expressing myself clearly enough, but your answers demonstrate a clear understanding of my issue.

kkrell: yes, I was thinking of advertisements and promotional material as well. Recently I have received solicitations for various services from a range of providers, almost all of whom have made basic errors in English in their solicitations to me to buy their product. But it's not that I get offended; I simply cannot read past the error or errors.

Nano: it seems a very long time indeed since journalism was a "reliable source of good grammar etc". Nowadays, laziness seems to be the first option - if the journalist happens to get the English usage right, then that's almost a bonus.

[cross post with calanthropy]

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 Post subject: Re: Can't read it wrong
PostPosted: Mon Aug 29, 2016 1:56 pm 
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And don't get me wrong; I'm all for idiomatic and colloquial usages and spellings in the right time and place, even in journalism. Just do it consciously, using good English in the meantime.

One of the things people complain about is the latest noun to become a verb and vice versa (I admit that "impact" as a transitive verb still makes me cringe), but this is no sign of decline in our language; it's a feature of English that goes back to its very roots, and that flexibility is one of its strengths. You can fill pages with examples that are very old indeed, examples we don't even think about because they're so ingrained. So when I see a new example, I'm more likely to enjoy it than not. Except for "impact". :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: Can't read it wrong
PostPosted: Mon Aug 29, 2016 3:31 pm 
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It annoys me too, but I can set it aside and get past it.

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 Post subject: Re: Can't read it wrong
PostPosted: Mon Aug 29, 2016 4:25 pm 
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I see a lot of the misuses in readings of all kinds and I probably make a few mistakes too. I can read past though.

Do you think this widespread problem is due to the advent of the computer and word processing softwares that claim to spell check? Spellchek.

I notice Facebook, Google, and email self correcting writing when I know I didn't do it. Softwares can be notorious for writing atrocities.

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 Post subject: Re: Can't read it wrong
PostPosted: Mon Aug 29, 2016 6:27 pm 
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I even have a magnification app on my phone that through many updates still ends with "Thank you for using Mangifier". You're welcome.[/quote]

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 Post subject: Re: Can't read it wrong
PostPosted: Mon Aug 29, 2016 7:02 pm 
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Porbalby.

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 Post subject: Re: Can't read it wrong
PostPosted: Mon Aug 29, 2016 10:15 pm 
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irishmuse wrote:
  Post subject:  Re: Can't read it wrong  
Porbalby.


Ah but you would say that coz ur a Moderatorer


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 Post subject: Re: Can't read it wrong
PostPosted: Mon Aug 29, 2016 10:50 pm 
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irishmuse wrote:
irishmuse wrote:
  Post subject:  Re: Can't read it wrong  
Porbalby.


Ah but you would say that coz ur a Moderatorer



Of for goodness sakes! He's a Modrenator. (I never make mistakes, I thought I did once, but I was wrong).

Poor language and grammar bother me too, but more and more the issues I see look as though they might be caused by the various auto spell and spell checking routines. That is discouraging.


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 Post subject: Re: Can't read it wrong
PostPosted: Tue Aug 30, 2016 12:15 am 
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Let's not limit the reading issue to English and grammar so let's include simple math, addition and subtraction possibly some multiplication. I'm talking here in the USA and in person retail store cash purchases (not the internet nor credit card). I did specify simple math. I find cashiers that cannot make simple change and most stores limit currency bills to twenty dollar bills or less for transactions. No fifty and no hundred dollar bills allowed unless you're in a casino. Yes, there is the issue for theft or counterfeit money, but, the real reason for the twenty dollar bill limitation is the cashiers cannot count. Period.

Back in the day a cashier would receive cash tender, make change (simple math), and count back one's change for the bill surrendered. Nowadays the cashier types in the retail purchase amount on register and then dollar bill submitted from which the register declares the amount to be returned to customer only to find the cashier doesn't know the difference between coins and sometimes bills. USA five cent nickel shines just like a ten cent dime, oh, and that ever so slight difference in diameter doesn't seem to matter at all in value. Thank goodness one cent penny is color coded brown from the shiny silver stuff. I won't nickel and dime this to death, but, begeezus, its symple math.


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 Post subject: Re: Can't read it wrong
PostPosted: Tue Aug 30, 2016 12:23 am 
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That seems strange - limiting the size of bills to 20 dollar bills. Here in the UK there is no limitation that I know of, and people do sometimes have £50 notes and use them to pay for their purchases in shops. Mind you, cash as a means of payment is becoming more and more rare. A lot of people now pay, even for very small purchases, with debit or credit cards. Quite a few shops try to put a minimum figure on that because of the way they are charged by the credit card companies, but even so, that minimum amount is quite small. It's around £5 I think.

Simple math. (Or "maths" as we call it over here.) I think the issue there is that people have almost been trained to believe that they are "no good at maths". It's nearly a badge, to be worn with pride. I do hope the same is not becoming true of literacy. But the evidence is not encouraging.

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 Post subject: Re: Can't read it wrong
PostPosted: Tue Aug 30, 2016 1:03 am 
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I suppose next will be a merit badge in Pokemon Go.


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