Le cul entre les deux chaises

An American Spaniard in France or: How I Learned to Make an Ass of Myself in Three Cultures

Language peeve

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I was always kind of a language Nazi as a kid, since expressing oneself well (and correctly) was highly valued and stressed in my family. In the fourth grade, my teacher told us one day that we had to hand our papers to a classmate for proofing and this kid Carl, with whom I did not get along, handed me his and said, “Edit, butt-face.” Despite our personal differences, he recognized that I was the best person in the class to check his homework.

So, while I do kind of get off on correcting or improving bad writing, I don’t actually like to read it when there’s no chance of fixing it.

In recent years, possibly due to hyper-awareness occasioned by teaching English, I have found glaringly egregious writing all over the place. When I read badly constructed sentences in a place like the New York Times, I die a little inside and I mourn the loss of an art form as well as the basic ability to run a spelling/grammar checker. (Seriously, you can set it as a default, so I really see no excuse.) On other sites I love, like the AV Club, it makes me sad because I worry that no one else even notices, which means that people are losing basic communication skills.

Today, I read something that just drove me up. the. fricking. wall. An article whose first two sentences don’t make any god damn sense. To wit:

When I first got into “Community”, I had serious misgivings about the Britta Perry as a character. There’s so few lefty feminist characters on TV to begin with, and it initially seemed that they were going to ride the worst stereotypes about feminists: that they’re shrill, stupid, and humorless.

The kicker is that this story was edited by someone who went to YALE. As an added aggravation, the excerpt features something I’ve noticed increasingly in written and spoken English which really pisses me off: saying “there’s” when the correct form is plural (“there are”). Madness I tell you.


Author: le cul en rows

I'm an American Spaniard, living in France. I like to tell stories.

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