December 13, 2009
On the flip side, I perhaps take it too harshly when words are misused, whether unintentionally or out of sheer laziness. For example, if I'm reading a blog or article and there is a misspelled word or incorrect use of a phrase or word, it truly irritates me. If I happen to voice my disapproval I'm usually met with indifference or a resigned, "mm hmmm", unless I'm discussing the offense with my fellow word lovers.
Every year, the OED (Oxford English Dictionary, for those of you who aren't as geeky as myself) updates their tome to include new entries that reflect our changing language. I don't know if this particular word has made it in yet, but I for one hope it never does.
I'm referring to the somewhat new habit of using "gift" as a verb. OOOH, this just bugs the heck out of me!! I am a big fan of the magazine "Entertainment Weekly", but in an article this week they used it! Why? Is it a matter of economy? Sure, it uses less space than to say "they were given gifts", but it just sounds wrong. Is it just me, or does this new usage reek of somthing made up at the HGTV or DIY networks? It seems to me that they're guilty of co-opting many words and expressions and abusing them (I'm thinking of words like "crafter" and phrases such as "You're gonna wanna go ahead and..." when explaining how to do a project).
Growing up my mom and dad both stressed the importance of choosing words carefully. And yes, they were the parents who, when presented with the question, "How do you spell....", would promptly tell us to "look it up in the dictionary". A lot of times they would purposely use 50-cent words so that we would ask them what it meant. I know they're the reason I have the vocabulary that I do - it wasn't learned in school.
Is it just me, or does it feel like it's not important to use correct punctuation or grammar anymore? Texting is only going to make this worse. I can usually tell how old someone is (with exceptions, of course) by the responses I see to a remark on Facebook, for example. Generally speaking, people my age and older (40+) take the time to spell out their comments. But those kids in college and high school? I see lots of "Ur gonna be late 4 class" and its ilk. Egads.
I think it's more important than ever to stress proper language usage! I know the English language is constantly changing - it would have to, or we'd still be saying "Wouldst thou care to sup with me this night?" instead of "Hey, wanna do dinner at 6?". But I shudder to think that in 30 years I'll be reading, in a book, no less, "U busy 2night". If this occurs, I will welcome Armageddon.