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Hackers, Spelling, and Grammar?

Cliff posted about 9 years ago | from the i'm-as-guilty-as-the-next-coder dept.

Communications 2360

Strom Carlson asks: "Over the last few years, I've noticed that a surprisingly large number of native English speakers, who are otherwise very technically competent, seem to lack strong English skills. Mostly, this seems to manifest itself as varying degrees of poor spelling and grammar: 'definately' instead of 'definitely'; 'should of' instead of 'should have'; and I even see the names of products and companies misspelled from time to time. It baffles me that a culture so obsessed with technical knowledge and accuracy can demonstrate such little attention to detail when it comes to communicating that knowledge with others, and it baffles me even more that many people become enraged when you attempt to help them correct and learn from their mistakes. Do hackers and geeks just not care about communicating effectively? Do they not realize that a mediocre command of written English makes them appear less intelligent? Am I missing something here?"

cancel ×


Wow! What a question to ask on Slashdot... (5, Interesting)

TripMaster Monkey (862126) | about 9 years ago | (#12954073) everywhere.

I for one cannot agree with you enough here, Strom. Sadly, the epidemic of poor spelling/grammar is not confined to the tech world, but is pervasive throughout just about every aspect of American culture. I was raised and educated to believe that spelling and grammar counted...that the coherent presentation of your information was at least as important as the information itself. I don't know exactly when we as a society decided that coherence was no longer important...sometime in the mid-eighties, I'd guess.

I will agree with you, however, that this problem is especially apparent in the tech world. I've known many techs that not only didn't care about the rules of the English language, they actually regarded their ignorance of such rules as a perverse badge of honor, as if mastering the intricacies of the language was somehow beneath them. I've always found it intriguing that a programmer who could master several arcane computer languages (especially since computers are notably intolerant of errors), could fail so utterly to master his own native human language.

Re:Wow! What a question to ask on Slashdot... (5, Funny)

di0s (582680) | about 9 years ago | (#12954105)

HuKt aWn FoNix WerKt fer mE.

Re:Wow! What a question to ask on Slashdot... (4, Funny)

ZephyrXero (750822) | about 9 years ago | (#12954173)

Seriously though, I think being taught phonix(sp? lol) as a child really hendered my spelling capabilities because so many words are spelled in ways they shouldn't...

phonics (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12954230)

also ITYM "hindered"

Re:Wow! What a question to ask on Slashdot... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12954108)

Definately. Wot of he sed.

Re:Wow! What a question to ask on Slashdot... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12954118)

I couldn't disagree more.

English is a living language, why do i care if "should have" is technically correct according to some english professor somewhere. "should of" is common usage, and in the long term the common usage will win out (once the grammar police die out from old age). Can i go to the bathroom now?

Re:Wow! What a question to ask on Slashdot... (1)

wrf3 (314267) | about 9 years ago | (#12954239)

Can i go to the bathroom now?

No. All your base are belong to us.

You'll just have to hold it.

Re:Wow! What a question to ask on Slashdot... (2, Interesting)

ZephyrXero (750822) | about 9 years ago | (#12954137)

Well, if you look back at the history of the english language it has changed and evolved numerous times, so I believe we're in a state of flux again. People are finally realizing that some of the "correct" spellings are idiotic and when need a more efficient, less excemption filled language. At least that's what I hope it is...

Me personally? I never could spell, and with spellcheck it's just getting worse...

Re:Wow! What a question to ask on Slashdot... (1)

budcub (92165) | about 9 years ago | (#12954185)

you have a point. It used to be ok to use double negatives, until mathmaticians pointed out that two negatives made a positive.

Re:Wow! What a question to ask on Slashdot... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12954222)

I couldn't fail to disagree with you less!

Re:Wow! What a question to ask on Slashdot... (3, Interesting)

bburton (778244) | about 9 years ago | (#12954164)

American culture, yes. However, I blame it more specifically on the Internet, computers, and technology. Today, kids grow up sending text messages, communicating over instant message clients, chatting via IRC, etc. In these types of conversations abbreviations, shorthand, and even (shutter) l33tspeak [] are the norm.

Most people don't care if the person they are chatting with is using perfect English... and they certainly don't care about "minor" things like correct spelling and grammar; all that really matters is that the message gets across quickly, and is understood on the other end.

What concerns me is how all this shorthand is hurting people in other areas of their life. In a business enviroment, writing an e-mail (or anything really) that uses any "netspeak" type shorthand, makes you look, in my eyes, like a lazy idiot.

Re:Wow! What a question to ask on Slashdot... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12954176)

English is a mess.

Technical minds like logic and order.

Therefore, geeks hate English.

Aggh, enough of this, I'm grabbing my pole and going ghoti'n.

Re:Wow! What a question to ask on Slashdot... (4, Interesting)

Peaceful_Patriot (658116) | about 9 years ago | (#12954216)

I am not a perfect speller. Occasionally I may misplace a comma or semi-colon. It bothers me when I misspell a word on a forum or document that matters. (i.e. A report for work) It bothers me less, or not at all to make these minor errors in a forum like /.

When I am posting here, I am giving my opinion on a topic. The content is what is important. I feel this is the wrong forum for your 'corrections' and 'suggestions.' It breaks the flow of the discussion. It has nothing to do with the topic being discussed, and makes you sound like a show off intellectual.

Frankly, I really dont want your critique of my grammar and spelling skills. If the post is intelligible or the error changes the meaning of the post significantly, then there's your time to jump in with your corrections. Otherwise, it just seems arrogant that folks like you feel free to offer your unsolicited advice and expect me to appreciate it.

Re:Wow! What a question to ask on Slashdot... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12954218)

I try my best to write and speak proper English. It is a pretty frustrating language, as it seams every single rule has a corner case where it's broken. Computer languages aren't like that. Syntax is syntax. These are just some of the things I can think of that are absolutely stupid:

read/read - same word, different pronunciations
it's/its - it's is it is, its is possesive, exclusion to the rule
inflammable/inoperable - same prefix, but opposite meanings

One thing I'd like to know, can you drop 'got' from most sentences?

You've got mail. = You have got mail.
You've mail. = You have mail.

Are they both right?

Re:Wow! What a question to ask on Slashdot... (1)

snoig (535665) | about 9 years ago | (#12954221)

Yes, these days the spelling and grammar I see on the Internet are atrocious. But could we please add punctuation to that list?....

Re:Wow! What a question to ask on Slashdot... (4, Insightful)

BewireNomali (618969) | about 9 years ago | (#12954231)

I'll play devil's advocate. The purpose of language is communication, and the standardization of such is to ensure against ambiguity, right? If someone's written work is devoid of some common rules of grammar and usage, does it matter if you completely and unambiguously understand what they are saying/writing?

I try to use the rules, but if I understand you, what else matters?

yes (5, Funny)

bigwavejas (678602) | about 9 years ago | (#12954077)

"...Am I missing something here?"


Different brain function. (1, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | about 9 years ago | (#12954079)

Well part of the problem for some people such as myself, have a learning disability in spelling and grammar. Many times words have the same sounds to me and have a difficulty in hearing the differences between Vowel sounds especially for me the E and I sounds and the O and U sounds especially when they are mixed with other vowels and softer sounding letters.
The reason for my grammar is that my bad spelling gets in the way. My vocabulary is much broader then what I can spell and using some of my more advanced words I find that cannot spell them so I do a quick path to my sentence and replace it with a word combination that I do know to get the point across. Being human I will often overlook the grammatical mistakes because I am focusing so much on my point, and will often forget at the end to double check my work.
I admit to getting angry when people correct my spelling and grammar it is not that they care correcting me that gets me angry it is that they will disregard my points where they are well thought out because of technical writing errors, and yes we do realize that bad spelling and grammar may make us seem less intelligent, although I wish more time would be putting more effort in making these bigots see else wise.
As for bad spellers being good hackers, it is probably do to the fact that our minds do not work the same way as a good writers mind might. For me writing is very one dimensional, while coding is multi-dimensional. I find if I do not put any attention to my writing it will look like LISP code. Because I will often give my Main points then the details in parentheses (to allow for reading if the person this point is relevant or not (Because some people would rather quickly skim messages)). Writing doesn't work well with concepts like recursion, loops, skips and jumps and functions, and for a good technical programmer these things are often built into their psyche. Also because humans are so good at reading past our many errors we do tend to put much effort as in programming, because in programming we know that we are right when the program works. Spelling and grammar is much more difficult to find errors in.

Re:Different brain function. (1)

Spleenl3oy (613303) | about 9 years ago | (#12954227)

Wow that is one of the worst written posts I have ever read! Try using some punctuation next time.

Revenge of the Spelling Nazi and Grammar Troll (5, Insightful)

rednip (186217) | about 9 years ago | (#12954080)

I even see the names of products and companies misspelled from time to time.
The Horror!
Do they not realize that a mediocre command of written English makes them appear less intelligent?
The Horror!
it baffles me even more that many people become enraged when you attempt to help them correct and learn from their mistakes.
You mean the people don't like to be criticized.

As someone who is constantly picked on by these people, I can say that more than often, they are rude, have very little to add to any discussion, other than showing off their impressive command of the English language. I'd be more receptive if some of them made their response to the thread at hand, and did a BTW, but that's not what happens. Usually they are just have one line response that is rude, and often picking on one or two 'mistakes', and always critical of one's intelligence. I've said it before, but it's not the diction that matters, but the message. Good grammer is only helpful to get a message across. I'm not writing a fucking paper, it's an response in a damn forum.

Am I missing something here?
Yes, good humor, understanding, and basic people skills.

Re:Revenge of the Spelling Nazi and Grammar Troll (2, Funny)

duncanIdaho.clone() (457271) | about 9 years ago | (#12954130)

Yes, good humor, understanding, and basic people skills.

Oh snap! I'ma hafta remember dat, yo.

Re:Revenge of the Spelling Nazi and Grammar Troll (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12954145)

OMG pwnT by this hax0r5. Go back to skool nub.

Re:Revenge of the Spelling Nazi and Grammar Troll (2, Funny)

Danta (2241) | about 9 years ago | (#12954187)

Usually they are just have one line response

Talk English, dude!

Re:Revenge of the Spelling Nazi and Grammar Troll (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12954223)

You misspelled grammar!!! HAHAOMGWTFBBQ!!!!11one

Oh, right, bold. I get it.

Programming and human language (5, Interesting)

fembots (753724) | about 9 years ago | (#12954081)

Hands up if you read through the paragraphs several times trying to find a mistake!

Technical precision requirement on programming language and human language is very different, for I am (and maybe many others are) extremely lazy and just want to get things done with as little effort as possible.

So if "return true;" works but not "ret tru", then I'm forced to use "return true;" every time.

However, if "alot" works as good as "a lot", I can use whatever comes to up mind at time of typing. When I was in highschool, few of us liked to say "os cof" in place of "of course" and it didn't affect our communication at all.

I think the main difference between a native English speaker and a foreign English user is the former heard a word before he learnt to write it, while the latter tends to learn to write and speak at the same time.

I'm shocked to see natives using "its good", "don't go their", these are mistakes that no foreigners will make.

I'm not sure why this has anything to do with hackers or geeks specificially. Racers, police and builders are all technically competent yet they can still make these kind of mistakes.

Re:Programming and human language (1)

saforrest (184929) | about 9 years ago | (#12954196)

works as good as ...
I'm shocked to see natives using "its good", "don't go their", these are mistakes that no foreigners will make.

Guess you're a native speaker, eh?

Re:Programming and human language (1)

Fallingcow (213461) | about 9 years ago | (#12954215)

Hands up if you read through the paragraphs several times trying to find a mistake!

*raises hand*

His proper use of semicolons as delimiters in a list after a colon was most impressive.


Re:Programming and human language (1)

bluedust (731676) | about 9 years ago | (#12954228)

So if "return true;" works but not "ret tru", then I'm forced to use "return true;" every time.
Sure you can:
#define ret return
#define tru true;

bool foo(){

ret tru


Man! (5, Funny)

daeley (126313) | about 9 years ago | (#12954082)

Talk about your flamebate!

Engineers are bad spellers (5, Funny)

drewfuss (872683) | about 9 years ago | (#12954083)

At georgia tech there is a road named Ferst street. Naturally the running joke is that they misspelled First Street.

nonsence (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12954085)

Your being rediculous.

Ferst Post! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12954093)

Yeh! I cant beleive it. I maid ferst post!!!


The answer is simple... (0)

jimi1283 (699887) | about 9 years ago | (#12954094)

OOo and Word just don't have leet-speak spelling / grammatical checkers yet.

Re:The answer is simple... (1)

ryusen (245792) | about 9 years ago | (#12954206)

but, firefox has a l33t extention...

German (1, Interesting)

slashflood (697891) | about 9 years ago | (#12954095)

I'm German, you insensitive cold!

native speakers? (2, Interesting)

pikine (771084) | about 9 years ago | (#12954098)

How do you know those who post in English are native English speakers? I'm not one. I'm sure I make spelling and grammatical mistakes, or even use the wrong words from time to time.

Us Loose Our Ability to Spell... (1)

servognome (738846) | about 9 years ago | (#12954100)

that's unpossible

omg! (1, Funny)

dr_dank (472072) | about 9 years ago | (#12954102)

j00 b3tt3r t4k3 th4t b4ck

th3Ms f1ght1n w0rds 4r0und h3r3!

What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12954103)

You're asking this on Slashdot?

Or, should that be: "Your aksing this on /.?"

w00t (0)

el_jake (22335) | about 9 years ago | (#12954104)

what are u insinuating you intensive claud

thumps up! we nerfs rulEz

Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12954109)

How much time did you waste reading and rereading your submission to make sure that it doesn't contain a spelling mistake?

And The Point Being...? (2, Insightful)

creimer (824291) | about 9 years ago | (#12954111)

They don't teach reading, writing and arithmetic in the schools anymore. I had to go to college for that.

Re:And The Point Being...? (1)

liryon (804280) | about 9 years ago | (#12954208)

They taught you reading and wirting in college? man I went to the wrong school.

I second that (-1, Redundant)

dracken (453199) | about 9 years ago | (#12954113)

Geeks definately should of spent more time persuing english skillz

who says we aren't communicating effectivly? (1)

FFON (266696) | about 9 years ago | (#12954114)

Do hackers and geeks just not care about communicating effectively?

wot? i'm pretty sure even tho not "correct" every1 who reads this will understand wot i'm saying.

Two things: (2, Insightful)

ryusen (245792) | about 9 years ago | (#12954115)

1) i think this is an issue that goes well beyond hackers and geeks. there is just a general disregard for spelling and grammar. i'm quite guilty of it myself
2) as for "hackers and geeks," they mostly reside in their own circles. this is especially tru on the internet. within one's own circle, it's much easier to get away with it.

Of course, it doesn't help... (4, Insightful)

Improv (2467) | about 9 years ago | (#12954117)

It doesn't help that English spelling is such a mess. In order to really know how to map sounds to spelling, one needs to (perhaps unconsciously) learn a number of rules corrisponding to the bewildering number of languages that have been borrowed from in constructing American (or British, or Australian, or ...) English. Somehow we all manage, more or less, to do it, but it's worth noting that in a lot of other languages, it's a lot harder to misspell words, and spelling bees seem somewhat humourous.

"Am I missing something here?" (0, Redundant)

Saxton (34078) | about 9 years ago | (#12954120)

Am I missing something here?

Yes you are. Defiantly.


man.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12954122)

I wonder how many times that dude double checked his submission for grammar and spelling mistakes. He would have been a nervous wreck upon clicking "submit".

Re:man.... (1)

creimer (824291) | about 9 years ago | (#12954200)

You can take your time making sure everything is correct but you get a million idiots pointing out the one mistake that you did make after you click the submit button. Sometimes I wonder I ever post to /. in the first place... I must be crazy. :P

Appreciated! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12954126)

Well... thanks for making us, non-native speakers, not look so dumb at all...

Grammar Nazi (0, Flamebait)

MyLongNickName (822545) | about 9 years ago | (#12954127)

Grammar Nazi makes it big! You, sir, are the king of the trolls. I bow at your brilliance!

Next up to AskSlashdot: "Why are Linux users so prod of their OS when Microsoft is the only OS worthy of consideration?"

That's easy to answer.... (1)

Gamefreak99 (722148) | about 9 years ago | (#12954129)

"Do hackers and geeks just not care about communicating effectively?"


Re:That's easy to answer.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12954202)

I for one blame MS Office for the poor grammer/spell checker.

MCSE obligatory comment... (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12954133)

If you have an MCSE, then I automatically assume that you're a bloody idiot. Doubly so if you're under the age of 25 and claim to be an "expert systems administrator". Triply so if you use the word "your" instead of "you're". Bunch of dumbasses.

Maybe... (1) (882444) | about 9 years ago | (#12954138)

"Am I missing something here?" Maybe a bit more self promotion through pointless articles.

Sayeth an expert --- (2, Interesting)

A nonymous Coward (7548) | about 9 years ago | (#12954139)

It is a damned poor mind indeed that can't think of at least two ways of spelling any word.

-- Andrew Jackson

Here []

Correct English? (4, Interesting)

sheriff_p (138609) | about 9 years ago | (#12954140)


What is this 'correct English' of which you speak? Can you send me a copy of the official English language handbook? No. Hrm. Well maybe you could direct me to the official governing body of the English language. You mean, French has one and English doesn't?


Then, how do we know what correct English is? You mean, 'correct' English is by definition 'common' English?! No! But then what will all those semi-intelligent pedants who haven't caught on to the fact that 'should have' is no more meaningful than 'should of', but that 'should of' is much more common in spoken English do? Who knows!

All I can say is that having worked in the publishing industry, you could tell the people who had little intelligence but a lot to prove by how frequently and strongly they misunderstood the fact that there is no 'correct' English, and jumped down the throats of those they perceived to not have as good a grasp on this 'correct' English as they did.


Re:Correct English? (1)

versiondub (694793) | about 9 years ago | (#12954213)

I think I could have written something of this sort- but hats off to you for getting to the bottom of this: There really is no 'correct' english. That said, I'd wager that the submitter just lost a flamewar with a guy, and the closing statement must have been something like: 'your a faget' - you can't answer to that.

speeling (1)

Frostalicious (657235) | about 9 years ago | (#12954144)

If we can quash "rediculous" I will be happy.

Because it doesn't really matter all that much. (1)

Punchcardz (598335) | about 9 years ago | (#12954147)

Apart from really poor spelling, minor mistakes such as definately/definitely do not affect someones understanding of the message. Couple that with the rise of modern spell checkers in most situations where you need to give off a very good impression, there is little incentive for being very careful with your spelling, particularly when being informal. Like posting on a message board.

Grammer rooles! (0, Redundant)

ac3boy (638979) | about 9 years ago | (#12954149)

I four won wood lick too post my outtrage on thiss matter.

I definately doo nott unnderstand why thiss wood make it heart four peeple to geet my point. I gess i shoud have listned butter inn skool.

could it be..., the schools? (3, Interesting)

yagu (721525) | about 9 years ago | (#12954151)

I consider myself an excellent speller with a firm grasp of the English language, its syntax, and semantics. And I consider myself to be high on the scale of technical savvy. But I've met more brilliant people in 21 years in this industry who couldn't spell a lick. I don't know if it's lack of care, or just plain inability to spell.

A peer who collaborated with me on one of my major projects implemented a layer of code to make the program more transparent and usable... and one of the major pieces used file handles to hide named pipes... He spelled it "filehadle", which in this case is more likely a typo, but he missed a lot of other words too. To this day I still get questions about that variable name (it's a good filter..., a programmer who brings that question is not one who I want working with that code).

Another best friend is now VP of a company he founded, and I hope he is getting his correspondence edited before sending.

There are even examples of Mr. Gates' e-mail... if you didn't know it was he, you'd think the author of some of his missives was illiterate.

All of this said and observed, I don't think I've ever been able to see any direct relationship or correlation with "illiteracy" and the technology gurus. I have seen more of a correlation with younger people and while I have no conclusive evidence I would submit this is more about a school system that spends time worrying about the wrong things. (I've even seen typo's/misspellings pop up on the CNN crawler! Ick!)

Another experience: a best friend of mine was in a German Blue Grass band, and they came to the U.S. and toured the midwest out of our house. So, here were four Germans with whom I spent over a week... and one of the most notable things about them was they spoke better English than most Americans! Go figure.

Lose versus Loose (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12954152)

Seriously, if I see one more dope on the Internet use the word "loose" when they mean "lose," I'm gonna' f-ing scream. How hard is this to remember? Here, for the benefit of all the little brains out there, try and remember this little phrase:

You might lose your lunch when you see someone's bowels go loose.

I'll take the high road (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12954153)

I definitely should of memorized all those rules. And incidently those mistakes really don't lead to any ambiguity. Geez...

Pink Floyd forever! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12954154)

"We don't need no edu-cation. We don't need no thought-control."

sms-speak (4, Interesting)

gregmac (629064) | about 9 years ago | (#12954156)

On this subject, why do people resort to phrases like "u", "ur", "l8r", "plz", etc? You have a full keyboard, use it. Shortening a 5 letter word down to 3 saves very little time, and makes you look like a big idiot. I don't even like it in SMS messages: on my phone, and most I've seen, I have a "t9" input. To say "hello", for example, you type 43556. It automatically figures out what word you're trying to spell, and there's a "next" button if it gets it wrong. Very rarely I have to switch to alpha input to type a word it doesn't know.

Now, what really pisses me off is I bought a USB analog video capture device today. I didn't notice until I got back, but it actually says on the front: "DVD Direct Burn. No need to save in ur HDD". Seriously. I'm not sure I would have bought it if I noticed that earlier..

Mispelling isn't so bad (1)

kuzb (724081) | about 9 years ago | (#12954157)

I don't think mispelling the occasional word makes you look quite as stupid as internet shorthand.

"u", "ur", "tnx", "b4" - These are the kinds of things that piss me off. Not everyone has perfect spelling and grammar, but speaking like this is awful.

Eh (1)

jZnat (793348) | about 9 years ago | (#12954159)

So, are we talking about 1337 speak, AOL speak, or both?

Some of my friends and I will talk using mock AOL or 1337 speak on some forums and such, but like I said, it's only to mock those who talk like that all the time. Being able to say "el oh el you poned that nub" via a microphone in online games is also a fun way just to agitate the other players if they start to get too serious about the internet. So, remember that the next time you see people shitting out their messages; they might be doing it like that on purpose (which takes an extraordinarily large amount of effort due to grammar and spelling, in a sense, being tied into your fingers as you type, thus slowing you down when you try to intentionally spell in a certain way).

Also, I've noticed that a large amount of the people who can't use proper grammar and spelling in their posts, emails, etc, are also usually quite stupid to begin with.

Efficiently versus Effectively (1)

sterno (16320) | about 9 years ago | (#12954160)

Personally I think this boils down to the fact that one can convey a message without necessarily getting the grammar and spelling right. If I use there, their, or they're, you're able to deduce from the context of it's use, what I mean. Thus it's really not critical for you that I even get it right.

When you are using IM, or IRC, the emphasis is on rapidity to keep up with the thoughts of a flowing conversation. So spelling and grammar go out the window in the interests of efficiency. You type it however it comes out of your mind. Invariavly this carries over into other areas like e-mail, blog postings, etc.

How many of us really thoroughly re-read a blog posting like we'd read an academic paper, or an important work document? Frankly, we don't have time to screw around with it. So we don't. We are able to transmit meaning, and for the most part nobody really cares about the little glitches.

So I think it's just that there's such a volume of information out there and such a rush to make more that the important of that accuracy has fallen by the wayside. It gets in the way of getting things done. And remember, if it's all digital, it can always be edited later to fix any problems. If everything's a beta, you can afford to screw it up a bit.

I just hope... (1)

dep01 (730107) | about 9 years ago | (#12954161)

I just hope that one day, we live in a society where people know the difference between there, they're, and their... to, too, and two... that'd be nice.

this article (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12954162)

this article is redickulous

As if that wasn't bad enough! (3, Insightful)

b1ad3runn3r (896115) | about 9 years ago | (#12954165)

The thing that actually bothers me is not that people have a poor grasp of the english language, but the fact that when you correct them in a non-arrogant manner, they actually refuse your help. Okay, okay, ignorance is one thing. Insisting on being ignorant is like... stupid.

what difference does it make? (1)

ag3ntugly (636404) | about 9 years ago | (#12954166)

yeah you need to use proper grammar and spelling in official letters and memos and things, but when your just commnunicating an idea from yourself to someone else, if you both know what your talking about, then what difference does it make if you misuse a word here and there, its the same reason we use "lol" and "IMHO" and other acronyms rather than full words, its not because we're lazy, its because it gets the idea across, at least thats how I feel about it.

Right brain/left brain (1)

slapout (93640) | about 9 years ago | (#12954170)

I believe that one is a right brain activity while another is a left brain activity. In tech people, the non communication side seems to be dominate. I've also noticed that we tend to like math and history and dislike english.

Money to be made (1)

Bryansix (761547) | about 9 years ago | (#12954172)

I think there is a lot of money to be made on this front. People in general focus on the big picture and miss out on the details. If a company could capitalize on this fact and offer a service for correcting spelling and grammitical errors. In addition a good fact checking service could rake in the preverbial dough as well.

Schools? (1, Insightful)

Xarius (691264) | about 9 years ago | (#12954174)

I don't know about America, but in England our government is turning schools into fuzzy molly-coddling babysitters where children are no longer "wrong". When I was at school (not too long ago) this sort of thing got drilled into you.

I understand what you're saying, people who don't understand the distinctions between "there, their, and they're" or "your and you're" etc. are pretty much the majority now.

But then again, English is a pretty daft language when all's said and done.

That's ironic, speaking of english skills (1)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | about 9 years ago | (#12954175)

Mostly, this seems to manifest itself as varying degrees of poor spelling and grammar: 'definately' instead of 'definitely'; 'should of' instead of 'should have';

You should have used colons here, not semicolons.

Where have you been? Grammar is bad all over. (2, Insightful)

wernst (536414) | about 9 years ago | (#12954177)

It isn't as if only the geeks have gotten sloppy with grammar and spelling. EVERYBODY is bad at it these days.

Additionally, spell-checkers have made things worse, because now no one knows how to spell things correctly by themselves. When you see somethng choc-full-o-spelling-errors, it is probably because there's no built-in spelling checker. And I am just as guilty of this as the rest of the world.

I'm not complaining, mind you. I'm a professional writer, and the worse the general population can write, the more employable I become...

Grammer and Spelling Nazi's are always so funny (-1, Redundant)

jsimon12 (207119) | about 9 years ago | (#12954178)

Seems to always happen on any forum, netgroup, maillist or whatever someone pops up who doesn't like other peoples grammer and decides to provide an inprompto grammer or spelling lesson. Who the hell cares? While grammer is important in formal documents, publications and formal situations (interviews or negotiations). I for one do not think it matter much on the net. As long as your point comes across that is what matters. Only trolls care how it is spelled. But then again I am NOT a grammer Nazi.

Oui kan spel reel guhd but cince not typt (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about 9 years ago | (#12954189)

no1 cares nemore

donut hav to use korrectin flewed ahnd no1 evuh says itz bahd.

Definitive answer to last question (1)

alexhs (877055) | about 9 years ago | (#12954192)

Am I missing something here?

Yes, that you are on Slashdot ! ,
the "news" aggregator with the worse english spelling from stories to comments.

Missing the point, english is about communication (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12954194)

English is a means of communications. Therefore, as long as your message is communicated in interpreted as you desire, you are succeeding at communication.

No one misspells interperts and thinks it another word and simply complains because he/she doesnt know what the word is!


VanWEric (700062) | about 9 years ago | (#12954198)

u r gey. u no wot i say, y u all n3rd out wit da big werds. There is a place for all of us who don't like to read those sentences. It is called the xForums - Basically, we are an online community who put letter in words, words in sentences, and then we even put the sentences into paragraphs! OMG gr4mm4r h4X! I run gaim with fonts and colors disabled. I don't respond to anything with "u r", and I do try to get most of my words right. I'm naturally poor with spelling, but I figure that if I at least try, perhaps the rest of the world will as well.

Agreed (1)

Whatsisname (891214) | about 9 years ago | (#12954199)

No doubt about it. I cannot take anyone seriously, no matter what they present, for example, if they don't know the simple difference between there, their, and they're, something everyone should have learned when they were 8 years old. It's even worse when someone comes asking for help, and isn't even willing to take the time and effort to communicate clearly and properly.

Agreed (1)

Oid.Surin (896240) | about 9 years ago | (#12954201)

It has bothered me for a few years seeing people in various irc channels and instant messaging services, that are otherwise very intelligent people, spelling horribly, lacking punctuation, and having a vocabulary that many small children could put to shame. Wow, I like that run on sentence. I am not perfect, I am horrible in English, but, when I do notice I make a mistake, or have one pointed out to me, I attempt to correct it. Most of these people I can think of, could care less. In a face to face situation, if you are unshaven, unbathed, and have bad breath with ratty hair, people will form a negative first opinion of you based on that appearance. In an online medium, that first impression is based off what you say. So FFS could we please at least try?

Writers, System Administration, and OS Updates (1)

Bob9113 (14996) | about 9 years ago | (#12954203)

Over the last few years, I've noticed that a surprisingly large number of lifelong word processor users, who are otherwise very literate, seem to lack the ability to read the fine manual. Mostly, this seems to manifest itself as varying degrees of system insecurity and instability: 'Administrator/root' instead of an unprivileged account; clicking on attachments instead of discarding them; I even see people running Windows without updates and exposed to the Internet from time to time. It baffles me that a culture so dependent on their word processor and obsessed with proper grammar can demonstrate such little attention to detail when it comes to maintaining the system on which their word processor runs.

Of course (1)

MikeMacK (788889) | about 9 years ago | (#12954204)

Do hackers and geeks just not care about communicating effectively? Do they not realize that a mediocre command of written English makes them appear less intelligent? Am I missing something here?"

Of course they do. You have to communicate effectively to create great software! I think you are confusing communication with syntax and structure. OK, sure we could all probably use some extra work with our grammer and spelling, but I would argue that a weakness in spelling/grammer does not mean you are not a good communicator.

Casting Stones - Past vs. Last (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12954205)

It's "past few years," not "last few years." Unless, of course, you're psychic and know that the end of the world is upon us.

It all comes down to one thing..... (1)

crispybit (749599) | about 9 years ago | (#12954207)

The english language lacks intelli-sense technology like that found in Visual Studio. I have found *nix programmers who dont use VS to be better at spelling and gramar than most Windows programmers. So is Microsoft yet again to be blamed for this travesty........ If so could K Develop introducing intelli-sense to its suite be the damnation of the smart *nix developer

Maybe, just Maybe... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12954210)

we dont care cause you know what we are saying even if it's spelled wrong.

we dont care if someone thinks we're smart cause we know we're smart

it's only spelled right because that's how it is in the dictionary. Most modern words are ancient words that are now spelled wrong.


State Obvious Problem... Add New Spin (1)

Cylix (55374) | about 9 years ago | (#12954217)

This is not a new problem at all. To be honest, my grammar isn't the best in the world and I should sit down and polish up my "skilz."

In all honesty, I didn't know we could use "ask slashdot" to post a rhetorical question.

Now I have to think of a rhetorical question or two to submit. *runs off to the drawing board*

I agree whole-heartedly (1)

SocialEngineer (673690) | about 9 years ago | (#12954220)

I've been arguing against senseless abuse of the English language for some time now. Sadly, however, it has gotten me nowhere. People don't care that non-native English speakers write better English than we do.

I wish that there was a way to solidify our education when it comes to writing, but most teachers don't care enough about it - they would rather teach the sciences and math, and completely ignore failing writing skills.

(yeah, I know, I'm probably not that skilled of a writer myself, but I'm better than my peers - sadly)

Speling and gramer (1)

AsmordeanX (615669) | about 9 years ago | (#12954224)

As a person who often reviews resumes I can tell you one thing that will land a resume in the trash faster than anything else is spelling. Incorrect use of grammer is bad enough, but spelling errors mean to me that this person doesn't care enough to actually use a spell check or have a friend read the resume.

Greatest hits:

1. "I werked at Macdonalds for 3 years"
2. "...teh use of a hydrolic jack..."
3. "Resoomay"

Look out (1)

MarkPNeyer (729607) | about 9 years ago | (#12954233)

Everyone's going to scan that post over and over until they can find some small bug and then laugh at you.

Relax (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12954235)

Language is a virus.

Your Missing the Point. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12954236)

If you can't understand what they are saying when they say definately instead of definitely then I would understand. However your are just being nit picky. The point of language is to communicate. TJMO.

definitely agree... (1)

MarcoAtWork (28889) | about 9 years ago | (#12954238)

... or maybe I should write deffinitely like it seems a lot of people are doing nowadays.

I've seen plenty of resumes and cover letters with lose/loose, it's/its, you're/your and believe me, it doesn't help with making a good impression with whomever is interviewing you.

One thing I've noticed is that the spelling and grammar were a lot better in the early 90s, when people who were on the net in general got onto it only in college: it seems the new generation weaned on game message boards and l33t speak has a much lower command of the written English language and that they're actually proud of it.

Nowadays it seems that if somebody is writing in proper English in a messageboard or in an online game, odds are that they are immigrants for whom English is a second language (category to which I belong myself) or they are 30-35+ years old.

There also seems to be some sort of a stigma associated with being articulate on this side of the Atlantic, which is totally mindblowing to witness, as in Europe a firm command of your nation's language is seen as a very good thing to have as early as possible in your life, and if you don't express yourself articulately people will have a much, much, much lower opinion of you.

Communication (1)

Renraku (518261) | about 9 years ago | (#12954242)

The point of language is communication.

Stop right there. It isn't for wordplay, to insult someone behind their backs, or to make suggestions.

Its direct communication.

That being said, someone using 'definately' instead of 'definitely' or 'should of' rather than 'should have' should never render something annoying/unreadable.

Believe me. I've had to decypher some pretty cryptic messages. Badly spelled doesn't annoy me one-third as much as badly written. As long as the message is coherent and I can understand it, spelling isn't too big of a deal.

Of course I would want to look professional in front of management or customers. But the very act of being called unprofessional or inept over a misspelling when the message is loud-and-clear just means that someone's a tight ass that wants everyone to play by their rules.

response (1)

T_C_Kelly (892066) | about 9 years ago | (#12954243)

It's called Zoloft, try it.
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