“Doh” was inducted into The New Oxford Dictionary of English in 1998. It is defined as an informal exclamation used to comment on a foolish or stupid action. Along with caps-lock, abbreviated expressions and spell check, it is one of the greatest tragedies of the human language.
But who’s to blame if even a trusted dictionary is straying from the English language to accommodate the downfall of the language itself?
What’s worse is that in daily emails, text messages and social media, sloppy, if not atrocious, spelling and grammar errors are becoming more frequent.
This has to stop.
“We’re” is a contraction of the words “we” and “are” and, while it is socially acceptable in instant and text messaging to use “were,” don’t.
“Were” is “to be” in past tense.
Correct: “I just got off the phone with Sam, and we’re not going skinny dipping anymore.”
Incorrect: “Were going streaking!”
Whether or not the weather is nice, I do not know.
Maybe you just gave up on spell check or they both seem the same to you but they aren’t:
Whether: “Whether or not we will skip color theory is still undecided.”
Weather: “The weather is too nice. How could we not skip class?”
Note the “h” and “a”
Or is it? “Its” and “It’s” are commonly mistaken for the same thing due to the nature of text messaging.
Its: A possessive pronoun.
It’s: A contraction of the words “it” and “is.”
Its: “Having had its title changed, the paper no longer made sense.”
It’s: “Far be it for me to tell you what to do, but it’s a stupid essay topic.”
Sometimes referred to as a serial comma or Harvard comma, it refers to the comma used before the last item in a series or list. Its necessary existence is up for debate. It is omitted in AP Style, but not in MLA or Chicago Style writing.
AP Style: “We brought apples, cherries and peanuts to the picnic.”
Chicago Style: “We brought apples, cherries, and peanuts to the picnic.”
I imagine these rules to be forever ingrained in the mind of any elementary school graduate, but they still are misused in college level writing.Contact Kenneth Rosen.