03 November 2011

Hear me. Right here.

Do you know the difference between the words tousled and tussled? How about the words shawl and shaw? How about dolled and dulled? Dessert and desert? Here and hear? Your and you're? Its and it's?

I came across the first four malapropisms in various online venues over the last few days. And see here/hear, your/you're and it's/its misused on the regular.

A salon blog uses the word "tussled" like it has something to do with hair. They use it as the TITLE of the blog! If I were dead, I'd be turning in my grave. Maybe the hairstyles are fighting?

A fashion blogger I used to follow used the word "shaw" to describe that piece of clothing worn over a women's shoulders to fend off a chill. I happened upon it when searching for Halloween costume ideas. One shaw I can think of is Mr. Aidan Shaw and he'd be welcome to drape over my shoulders to keep me warm any time.

John Corbett as Aidan Shaw in SATC 2

A local arts organization tweeted about being all "dulled up" for a big announcement they were about to make. Hopefully the announcement itself doesn't put people to sleep for being lackluster.

A local, well-known and loved restaurant retweeted someone's twit pic of the "desert" they had enjoyed at the restaurant. Shaking my head on that one. Really? Here's how it works: There's only one "s" in desert because it's so hot and dry that the other "s" dried up. Dessert has two because its extra sweet.

If you're using the written word to communicate with others, to promote yourself, your own brand or the brand you work for, your life might not depend on using words properly, but it might end up affecting your livelihood. Impressions are formed. Your one tweet, Facebook post or one blog post is the only chance you have to make an impression.

For the record I write and edit copy for a living, so I'm ALWAYS looking for mistakes, but not in a "hehe, I'm going to catch all the grammar dummies" way. I basically can't not see mistakes. Once I see them, I make an assumption and I'm sure I'm not the only one doing this. I also clearly understand that people posting casually as individuals have developed a more relaxed way of communicating. I can look past that. I also know that mistakes are made and missed in the editing process. But I'll always be surprised when I see that it coming from a company, an individual professional or an established organization.

One thought: I should start an editing business.

Another thought: We've all been doomed by the dumbing down of America. Texting, tweeting and communicating in soundbites has made people care less and less about grammar and proper use of the English language.

I'll just keep writing/editing and ranting when I see prime examples of misuse.

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