I love the English language. My abilities in the language are not the model of perfect syntax but I strive to speak and write well by utilising the skills I learned as a youngster and continue to learn each day. I try to talk English more goodly when I talk.

I was recently reading an article about the rapid demise of the proper use of English among students. College professors are shocked at the appearance of words such as “AFAIK”, “LOL” and the like are showing up in term papers. Students are now using text-messaging shorthand in lieu of forming complete sentences. The nuances of the language are rapidly falling away. Why describe something with a colorful, elaborate prose when you can plunk it out in terse, utilitarian, plain ol’ black and white on a tiny keyboard?

With the advent of spelling correction and the like, people are paying less and less attention to their spelling and in many occasions are using a program where they aren’t autocorrected. This drives me insane. I admit that I have my share of spelling and grammar mistakes on my blog. Due to my history of writing advertising copy, I tend to write as a person would speak versus how a person would read and that informal style tends to carry over to my words here. I write casually but I try really hard not to be casual with my spelling, as there really isn’t a formal and casual way of spelling a word. So I’d like to take a moment and review some of the basics that really get on my nerves:

lose vs loose
“Emma wanted to lose some weight so her pants would be loose.”
“Matt played with the loose change in his pocket.”
“I won. You lose.”

Here is how I remember: when you lose something you want to only lose one ‘o’. When you’re loose, you’re probably having double the fun.

desert vs dessert
“J.P. and Earl went for a Jeep ride in the desert.” (note: we were not driving through an ice cream sundae.)
“I think I’ll have the apple pie for dessert.”

Here is how I remember: There is one desert in the U.S. and once in a while I wish I could have two desserts.

their, there and they’re
“They’re happy that their mobile home was still there after the tornado.”

‘They’re’ is a contraction of they are. “They’re excited about winning the lottery.”
‘Their’ is possessive. “It’s their kid that is screaming.”
‘There’ refers to a place. “Put the couch over there.”

I just remember that one, though I occasionally mix it up when I’m typing quickly.


  1. LOL OMG ROFLMAOFcopter what the frack is AFAIK. *Looks it up* as far as I know … wow. Anyone ever think abbreviation should be a word short enough not to require an abrv. While I do tend to make up words (of which this paragraph can attest). I can’t beleive anyone who would want to be taken seriously by any kind of school institution would hand in a paper with LOL.

    I knew these the same way you did I think we had the same grammar book growing up :).

    Armour, Grey, Cheque, Flavour, Favour, mile (spelt kilometre).

    Fenn out

  2. Well, me for one thinks you right pretty goodly.

    Interestingly, in my school we are now encouraging students to use texting language for note-taking, since they can write more quickly using it.

    1. I think it’s a great idea to use text-messaging shorthand for personal notes. Gods know I abbreviate the hell out of my trouble tickets at work. But I wonder if students know the mechanics behind the abbreviations and that it’s not appropriate to use them in term papers? Hmmm.

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