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.