Spikkin ‘n’ riteing proper


I agree whole heartedly with this. Too often we are told about rights and wrongs of writing and reading and there are no hard and fast rules – instead we need to be aware of the context in which we are writing. When I told some of my former colleagues that “thru” was deemed acceptable for the word “through” they rolled their eyes and bemoaned the end of civilisation as we know it – I understand to a point but the English language is developing faster now than it ever has and if we don’t engage with the constant changes and at least recognise that it’s happening the education system will be irrelevant to a large extent.

Consider how we email and text one another. I tend to use fully punctuated and “correctly” spelt (or is it spelled? Who cares!) English in my communications but that is usually because I want to be understood. No one really writes letters anymore and there are fewer and less 😉 occasions where it actually matters if we get it “right” as long as we are understood. Shakespeare invented over three thousand words and he is praised for it, if a pupil makes up a word then the red pen comes out – seems a bit unfair really.

Context is key and if you are applying for a job or writing a letter of complaint then “proper” English is the best option, but outwith formal occasions why can’t we say and spell and write and paragraph and use the syntax we want as long as the message is clear? That sentence is a great example – we are told to separate words in a list with commas or sem-colons to replace the “and” but Roald Dahl and Ian Fleming both wrote this way and are held up as great examples of writers. “Don’t start a sentence with ‘And’ or ‘Because’ ” Wrong again, most writers do this all the time. “Conjunctions are missing” they moan, “the sentences are too short.” Doesn’t matter really does it? The pedants on Twitter and Facebook are very quick to correct others mistakes rather than respond to an interesting discussion or chat. They need to get out more!

Language has and will always change – we need to accept these changes and adapt what is deemed “acceptable” rather than constantly berate the yoof for killing or dumbing down the language. Innit.


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