Grocers’ Everywhere Breath Sigh’s Of Relief

Apostrophe is marked for extinction as language becomes less formal
Punctuation that confounds many but delights language traditionalists could be thing of past as social media changes how we speak and write

23 thoughts on “Grocers’ Everywhere Breath Sigh’s Of Relief”

  1. They are useful. But also work as status signifiers, so they will survive.
    I bet homonyms get uniformed out first. Rain, rein, reign; there, their and such.

  2. “as social media changes how we speak and write”

    A lot of it’s because there’s people writing, now, who’ve never written before. I get Whatsapps that can be 25 lines of stream of conciousness. Only capital letter’s the first one. No punctuation, whatsoever. Words spelt as they sound (in their particular dialect!) with unpronounced letters missed out. The presumption you know what they’re referring to in the first place. The odd fat finger. Some words predicted texting’s spewed out, they’ve tapped on, have no relevance whatsoever . Bletchley Park would regard them as challenging.

  3. I’ve long said that mobiles and texting and all that will increase literacy. It’ll be a pretty basic one but it’ll be there. Every reduction in the cost of printing – which this is, of a form – always has done.

  4. Predictive text is the great curse of the 21st century. It is so easy to be made to look like a proper Arsenal

  5. How, Tim? I’ve looked at correspondence from my own family. My grandparents’ generation so the product of the turn of the century. They were poor people. They left school at 14 or younger. They had little need to write. But what they did was was well written in a legible hand. Well constructed sentences. Spelt correctly. The structure’s such, it’s instantly comprehensible. But they thought about what they were writing as they wrote. That the onus was on them to communicate.
    I don’t know many people nowadays would come close to to doing that. I get business correspondence can’t manage it. Everybody seems to presume that everybody else is obliged to do the work of understanding them.

  6. Language should get more complex not less.

    And WTF kind of advert line is “Knock out your Backlog”? You dirty bastard Worstall.

    That would be obscene over bog doors . You should change your name to Tim Toiletstall.

  7. Bloke in North Korea (Germany province)

    Tim, shurley that headline should read Grocer’s’

    “But also work as status signifiers, so they will survive.”

    They are symbols of white supremacy, every individual use thereof serves as a microaggression against the people oppressed by not being born English in England. So disagree, I expect their imminent cancellation and purging from historical works of literature*.

    *: For context, in Germany, the application of various contentious spelling reforms and de-genderization to historical works of literature continues apace. Not without controversy (mostly from old white men).

  8. Richard Murphy says:
    November 12 2021 at 11:17 am
    The FT let’s their journalists write their own opinions

    I am sure Giles is honest in believing what he writes

    I just think it wrong, far too often

  9. Merely a side effect of teachers incapable of, or unwilling to, correcting kids’ mistakes in their formative years and the rise of the excuse of “dyslexia” for lazyness and sloppy thinking..
    Which attitude never got corrected in the faux-socialist teacher farms in those kids who took up the “vocation” of teaching. Rinse/repeat for a decade or two.

    I’ve done some private remedial tutoring here and there with teens to young adults, whose primary attitude was: “Why bother?”.
    They never got taught that the quality of what you write is an important way to represent yourself to strangers, and that sloppy spelling and bad grammar makes you look stupid to some pretty important people.
    Like the HR/job agency drones that read your resumé for starters..

    Once they figured that one out, there was a marked improvement in what they produced. Funny that..

  10. If you want to see clumsy, ugly, often ambiguous English just read the economics papers that get linked to at Marginal Revolution. Other adjectives might include wordy, pompous, affected, …

    Most of the buggers can’t even write an abstract properly.

    I offer the following advice to writers of American, especially academic American. Your writing would be much clearer if you used more hyphens. Also, do stop using lists of nouns as grand collective adjectives.

  11. Too many times I have to point out that z isn’t an x-y, it’s an x y; or it’s an x-y z.

    The mother was middle-aged.
    No she wasn’t, the mother was middle aged. She was a middle-aged mother.

  12. I bet homonyms get uniformed out first. Rain, rein, reign; there, their and such.

    I’m not keen on the prospect of Charles as king but for sure I don’t want the royal we raining over me.

    Too many times I have to point out that z isn’t an x-y, it’s an x y; or it’s an x-y z.

    That’s the level at which I-d-g-a-s.

  13. BiS, probably two forces at work – Tim’s theory slowly improving literacy, and the crappification / marxification of schools driving it rapidly downwards.

  14. “I’ve long said that mobiles and texting and all that will increase literacy.”
    “I mean the billions out there, not us folks at home.”

    I think you’re a bit behind with the tech, Tim. There’s plenty of apps will render speech as text or, in the other direction, give you an audio from text. There’s no necessity to learn to read & write on social media. It’s one reason why I get these very long Whatsapps. The people sending them just babble into their phone.

  15. @ Grikath +100 They don’t get it till it bites ’em on the arse. There are some people who think being correct is a good thing (maybe not always getting it 100%, but at least trying) and then the rest who think it is all part of white supremacy (what they really mean is they are too lazy to bother).

    And i’ve met a few white, ‘young people’ – early twenties, from the ‘multi-culti, vibrant, diverse utopia’ that is London, who had taken on the ‘Jafaican’ accent to be down with their homies. Made them sound like retarded wank*rs.

    I am with Bruce Willis: “Hey, I speak two languages – English and bad English”.

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