Reader Question: Sensible English?

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Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!

Dimitri writes: Here – verbatim – is the text of a Craigslist classified:

“The car itself is in good condition and the fuel and transmission are in the car, along with tires attached. The car itself doesn’t start due to possible electrical problem, however if fixed, the car will drive well. It’s missing a car radio, but the interior is in good condition as well.”

My reply: It’s an attempt at humor, but I get your point. Adults communicating in the manner of children, often poorly schooled. I despise Twitter for this reason. Even the name is affronting. What adult of either sex “Tweets”? It sounds like – and is – the sort of thing that would appeal to a 12-year-old girl. I do not think it’s accidental, either, that the “Tweet” is short. In order to normalize abbreviated thought. To prevent the elaboration of complex thought, which often simply cannot be done in two or three lines.

None of this is by accident. The current pervasive fear is a function of the manufactured incapacity of people to think like adults rather than respond like scared children.

It makes my teeth ache. Yours too, apparently!

. . .

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  1. I can’t count the number of times every single day that I see “I have a car for sell“, or “I should of gone to…” (Instead of “Should have” or “should’ve”)….

    I mean, I’m not exactly Chaucer or William Strunk or E.B. White, but when the average person’s command of the English language is inferior to that of the average 5th-grader of a generation ago, I’d say that we are on the brink of a new Dark Age. I guess that the inability to accurately articulate even the simplest thought is appropriate though at a time when people can no longer think, as language and thought are inexorably linked, and a serious deficiency in one is indicative of the other.

    • Nunz, sorta reminds me of the thousand or so ads I’ve seen trying to sell and “oilfield” heater. That must be one hell of a heater. I admit there have been many times I wished someone would use one but I’d had to pay the cost. That’s a damned big room.

      • I had my head up my ass on that reply. Obviously I meant ‘an’ oilfield heater and I would “hate” to pay the cost of operation.


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