This Is A Serious Question

Just now, on MS-NBC, I saw for the THIRD time today one of those slides that they flash on the screen to advertise a future program. It read, in part, “SNEAK PEAK.” [sic] (It’s “peek,” dears. Media idiocy again.)

This is clearly a mistake. My teachers would have called it an illiteracy, although nowadays I’m sure that term would create outrage and outcry, if not outright screaming. However, it’s a common mistake that is becoming ever more common. All the time I see this, and I see “reign in” for “rein in,” and I see “loose” for “lose.” These are errors. *But*. . . .

All right, those of you who are descriptivists rather than prescriptivists, do you say that this means these errors should be adopted and incorporated into proper usage? The way I see it, most people are just lazy and shouldn’t be rewarded by having their errors made “Truth” when it doesn’t increase clarity. They didn’t pay attention and don’t care about using the right word. Should that mean that we change the language? If so, where does it end? Do we start accepting “your/you’re” errors, “its/it’s” errors, and every old thing, until we have completely eliminated clarity? Should we eliminate all punctuation because “it’s too hard” or “it confuses some people”? Where does this end?

With a post-literate society, I suspect.


Author: shalanna

Shalanna: rhymes with "Madonna" and "I wanna," and is not a soundalike with "Hosanna" or "Sha-Na-Na." Aging hippie with long hair, husband, elderly mother, and yappy Pomeranian. I've been writing since I could hold a crayon. I started with fiction, which Mama said was "lying." “Don’t tell stories,” she would admonish, in Southern vernacular. “That's all in your imagination!” When grownups said this, they were not approving. So, shamed, I stopped telling stories for a few years--rather, I stopped letting anyone read them. I'm married to a fellow computer nerd who doesn't really like hearing about writing, but who reads sf/fantasy and understands the creative drive. I'm actually a nonconformist/hippie still wearing bluejeans and drop earrings and the Alice-in-Wonderland hair with headbands and sandals. Favorite flavor is chocolate/orange, favorite color is either Dreamsicle orange (cantaloupe) or bubble-gum pink, favorite musical is either Bye Bye Birdie, Rocky Horror, or The Producers . . . wait, I also love The Music Man. Is this getting way too specific and irrelevant yet? Obvious why I don't sell a ton of flash fiction, isn't it? To define oneself, I always say, it is good to make a list. How about a booklist? Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird Frank and Ernestine Gilbreth, Cheaper by the Dozen C.S.Lewis, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (all the Narnia books) J.R.R.Tolkien,The Hobbit/LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy Gail Godwin, The Odd Woman F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby J. D. Salinger, Catcher in the Rye (before dismissing it, actually read it) George Orwell, 1984 Kurt Vonnegut, Cat's Cradle Donna Tartt, The Secret History Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn James Allen, As A Man Thinketh Mark Winegardner, Elvis Presley Boulevard James Thurber, My Life and Hard Times The Wizard of Oz, L. Frank Baum Winnie-the-Pooh/House at Pooh Corner, A. A. Milne Peter Pan, J. M. Barrie The KJV and NIV Bible (each translation has its glories)

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