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Is ATS proof of the dumbing down of America?

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posted on Oct, 26 2008 @ 03:31 AM
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I know this board is used by people all over the world, but it's usually obvious when someone posting here speaks English as their first language.

I am NOT a grammar/spelling elitist/snob, and my spelling and grammar are definitely not the greatest, but I still cringe when reading a lot of the threads here.

Do people really not know the difference between "you're" & "your" anymore?

Than/then? As in "It's better than I would have thought..."

There/their/they're, loose/lose, affect/effect, etc. to hell and back.

It seems like fewer and fewer people have a basic grasp of how to write our language, and I find that really disturbing. Especially considering that quite a few people here think that there is an intentional conspiracy to dumb down the general population.

Everyone should realize that when you are posting about a topic you feel passionately about, it is hard to take you seriously if your writing abilities barely rival those of an early grade school student. Am I getting twisted over nothing at all, or is this obvious proof that the average person is getting dumber and lazier by the day? I'm sure there are at least a few examples of my being a hypocrite right here in this thread, but I never said that I wasn't also a "victim" of this phenomenon.




posted on Oct, 26 2008 @ 03:38 AM
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My theory is...it's the internet. The internet isn't known to have great grammar or spelling. I do agree that some of the stuff I try to read is kind of ridiculous though.



posted on Oct, 26 2008 @ 03:38 AM
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I wouldn't say "fewer and fewer" people on the internet have any grasp of the English language. It's always been that way, as far back as I can remember. Seems like it's just something the internet brings out in people. Give a man a keyboard and complete, consequence-free anonymity, and better than half the time they'll degrade into a complete illiterate.

I know for a fact it's not just Americans, and I'd wager money that posters in other languages do this as well. I just can't read it well enough to pick out where they do the equivalent of mistaking "your" for "you're", or "there" for "their" for "they're".

I find it all quite annoying. It's really not all that hard to type like a sane human being.

EDIT: And on the spirits of my ancestors, I swear I'll murder in cold blood anyone I catch using "u" instead of "you".

[edit on 26-10-2008 by mdiinican]


+11 more 
posted on Oct, 26 2008 @ 03:44 AM
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i believe an individuals' intelligence should never be "called into question" do to grammatical errors.

you should also realize that for some of the people you're speaking of, english is their second language.

Also, there are some on this forum whom intentionally spell words incorrectly.
(seems to be a treasured pastime for dis-info agents)


[edit on 10/26/2008 by JPhish]



posted on Oct, 26 2008 @ 03:46 AM
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Poor grammar could also be the result of automated spell-checking. People simply take the shortest path to expression, and allow whatever means are available pick up the slack.

An analogy is the horrible decline in penmanship, with the invention of the typewriter and word-processor.

The other side of the coin is poor construction of argument and random incoherent expression. Many posts I see jump from topic to topic in one long rambling paragraph, never exploring or expounding on an idea in depth.

This is likely attributed to the 'sound-bite' nature of popular media. If an idea cannot be expressed in a simple 10-second sound bite, it is replace by an emotionally loaded melange of expression. The gestalt trumps the syllogism.

It's an unfortunate effect, but it does have its benefits. Sometimes rational minds will take the time to attempt to understand that which isn't immediately obvious, especially considering the pre-chewed pablum we've been conditioned to expect from the mainstream media.


Edit: Grammar. No, wait, nevermind, you know what I'm sayin'.



[edit on 26-10-2008 by Ian McLean]



posted on Oct, 26 2008 @ 03:48 AM
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For one, English is notorious for its difficulty in things such as the "your, you're" example, and how about "there, their and they're." It has silent, unnecessary letters (think "hour"), or how about "business" (bizz-ness)? The purpose of language is for communication, if you can understand, than it is working, whether or not they fit to you standards.

Side note. I love how people try to qualify their statements, or to make their (they're, there?) point more noteworthy, by claiming, "I am not usually one to point this or that out but...." or "I wouldn't normally say something but...." as if this softens the statement or makes it more important. It's beating around the bush.

If one was to complain about people's use of words, I would complain about the beating around the bush, the INDIRECT nature of people's words. There are a lot of unnecessary things said. I will give an example I use all the time, "In my opinion..." Of course it's my opinion, I am the on typing aren't I? But somehow I feel by posting an opinion others may not like, if I include this little phrase, I will avoid upsetting someone. All I really accomplish is de-valuing my thoughts. It is as if I am apologizing for my post while simultaneously wanting it to be considered valid (it must be some sort of complex).

[edit on 26-10-2008 by ninthaxis]



posted on Oct, 26 2008 @ 03:54 AM
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Originally posted by JPhish
i believe an individuals' intelligence should never be "called into question" do to grammatical errors.

you should also realize that for some of the people you're speaking of, english is their second language.

Also, there are some on this forum whom intentionally spell words incorrectly.
(seems to be a treasured pastime for dis-info agents)


[edit on 10/26/2008 by JPhish]



Hahahahahahaa and he sums up the thread with "I believe an individuals' intelligence should never be 'called into question' do to grammatical errors"



posted on Oct, 26 2008 @ 03:56 AM
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Originally posted by JPhish
i believe an individuals' intelligence should never be "called into question" do to grammatical errors.

you should also realize that for some of the people you're speaking of, english is their second language.
[edit on 10/26/2008 by JPhish]


"I know this board is used by people all over the world, but it's usually obvious when someone posting here speaks English as their first language."

Did you even read my post? I don't mean to call you out, but "do to", seriously? I know you have to be aware of the difference between "do" and "due", so maybe you could shed some more light on what causes this? I somewhat agree with you that spelling and grammar shouldn't used to judge intelligence, but maybe it could be used to judge their laziness or ability to clearly think through what they are talking about.

I'm not trying to be a snob or ruffle any feathers; I've just spent a little time reading scans of letters sent during WWII, and it is a bit shocking to compare the literacy of that generation with ours.



posted on Oct, 26 2008 @ 04:00 AM
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I would really hate to leave a one line post so let me use many words for no reason. I have been reading this site a looooooooooooong time and I can say that I strongly feel the answer is yes.



posted on Oct, 26 2008 @ 04:03 AM
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And what's even more amusing is that the people pointing out the grammatically incorrect 'do to' (rather than 'due to') have no problem with the incorrect pluralization of:

"an individuals' intelligence"




posted on Oct, 26 2008 @ 04:04 AM
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reply to post by ninthaxis
 


I agree that these things may be notoriously hard to learn for someone for whom English isn't their first language, but these are things I was taught very thoroughly in grade school. I really don't see how anyone could confuse "you're" with "your", but it seems to be an epidemic. "Than" and "then" seem to have completely switched roles for many people, even in your post!

Is it a matter of "The more you have, the less you know", or is it possible that something a little more sinister is at work here?



posted on Oct, 26 2008 @ 04:07 AM
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reply to post by Ian McLean
 


Well, apostrophes are confusing to the average person, I don't necessarily consider that proof of what I am referring to here.



posted on Oct, 26 2008 @ 04:08 AM
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My first language is portuguese and I know I make those mistakes, but not because I don't know the language.
That happens to me when I type quickly, even when I hand-write quickly and I only detect those errors when I'm reading what I've written.
I admit that sometimes I don't do that revision before posting, so usually I edit my posts or I leave them for you to decypher them


I guess that some this happens to other people aswell.

Also it's not very reliable to assume someone's intelligence by their writing.
There are multiple kinds of intelligence. I may not have the ability to write beautiful stories, but I may have great abstract thinking.



posted on Oct, 26 2008 @ 04:09 AM
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reply to post by maus80
 


I think people just need some way to feel superior to others and since they cannot do it by their thought provoking ideas, they do it focusing on side issues. What matters, ultimately, is whether the message can be understood, if it is comprehendadle. I will address spelling to words if I know the corrections, put the correct word in if I notice the error, but overall, I am worried about my content, not an incorrect letter or a there when I should have used their. I will put a million dollars down that you have made mistakes such as the ones you are complaining about. That is the problem when you point out the mistakes of others, you have now just focused the microscope on yourself.



posted on Oct, 26 2008 @ 04:14 AM
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I often screw up the your, you're thing and things like it. It doesn't have anything to do with if I know the correct way to do it or not. I am typing down my thoughts when I post. I am thinking of the way it sounds most of the time, and so I hear the same word for both. When I type it out, it often comes out as your, instead of you're.

I imagine if in my thoughts I was thinking you are, rather than you're I'd probably not do it as much. And sometimes I do notice. If I were turning in a research paper somewhere, during my proofreading I would pay extra attention to every case of you're and your. Because I know it's a weakness in my writing.

If I had to proofread everything I wrote in a forums like it was a research paper, I'd probably lose interest in posting.

But I don't think that makes me less intelligent. Only if I didn't understand the proper way and didn't know how to correct it would I say that is the case.

As long as I can understand what the person meant, I don't really think about the person's grammar. I've always thought it was a cheap way of trying to earn "points" in a debate to mention someone's grammar. Unless it is so bad to the point where you can't understand them.



posted on Oct, 26 2008 @ 04:17 AM
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I guess people dont read books. I remember when I grew up, I was reading tons of books very early since my parents had a large collection of them.

The Internet is not too good for learning how to spell since you click link after link, never reads entire pages and generally stay for a short period of time on each page or site. Your concentration is not really focused in the same way as when reading a book, hence I guess the memory has a harder time as well.

Also you have to remember that dumbing down American kids is being done intentionally in order to make them better consumers. Large classes, lots of disturbances, bad teachers, old books etc.


[edit on 26-10-2008 by Copernicus]



posted on Oct, 26 2008 @ 04:21 AM
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Originally posted by ninthaxis
I think people just need some way to feel superior to others and since they cannot do it by their thought provoking ideas, they do it focusing on side issues. What matters, ultimately, is whether the message can be understood, if it is comprehendadle. I will address spelling to words if I know the corrections, put the correct word in if I notice the error, but overall, I am worried about my content, not an incorrect letter or a there when I should have used their. I will put a million dollars down that you have made mistakes such as the ones you are complaining about. That is the problem when you point out the mistakes of others, you have now just focused the microscope on yourself.


Wow, you obviously didn't read the original post of this thread, so please stop replying to a thread you are not willing to read.



posted on Oct, 26 2008 @ 04:23 AM
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I wouldn't jump to the conclusion that spelling and grammar are getting worse...

If you stop and think about it, before the Internet, if you were to read something, it had typically been proofread numerous times to avoid typos, spelling errors, and grammatical errors. Most likely, much of what was read was newspapers, magazines and books.

Enter the Internet.

The only thing that stands between two people's minds is a monitor and a couple of keyboards. There are no longer proofreaders and language experts mulling over every word and phrase between the composer's output, and the reader's input. Less review means more errors.

In fact, if you listen to people talk, you can hear them mutilate the English language fairly regularly. Some of my favorite examples are:

Irregardless. Irregard is a word, and regardless is a word, but irregardless is not. Its actually a double negative if you think about it.

Mispronunciation of the word Nuclear. Its New-Cleer... Not New-Clee-ur.

and the disappearance of the word "Nor" from practically everyone's vocabulary. Whats worse is that in situations you would normally use a "nor", I find people inserting the word "or".

These three things get under my skin more than normal...

Now a moment of silence in respect to the death of the semicolon.

...........



posted on Oct, 26 2008 @ 04:23 AM
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I think some of it could be chalked up to haste...Someone reads a post that turns on a light bulb in their heads & they have to type fast to get the light into the ATS "Dark Matter"...The play on words was intentional. BTW, for those who didn't hear about it, that's the name of ATS color-scheme.

Well, in the heat of the moment, sometimes grammar gets lost. Lord knows I've had to perform my own share of editing-after-the-fact. Most of the time, though, I try to read the thread, type out my comments on Wordpad, edit there, then copy-paste to the board...AND I STILL SCREW IT UP SOMETIMES!



[edit on 26-10-2008 by MidnightDStroyer]



posted on Oct, 26 2008 @ 04:26 AM
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reply to post by badmedia
 


Thank you, your reply makes complete sense. This is definitely a good explanation for why this happens, but still I wonder why it seems to be a relatively new phenomenon; Like i said I found virtually zero occurrences of these common mistakes in the WWII letters I have read online.




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