Saturday, September 6, 2008

Word Snob

Maybe it is due to my love affair with words. Maybe it is due to my father hammering in my head the fact that we do not end sentences with prepositions. Maybe it is because I am just a snob.

I had the good fortune to go shopping by myself today. While I was perusing the racks of clothes I overheard a woman on her cell phone. "Where you at?" she asked the person on the other end. "Where you shopping at?" she asked again. Don't get me wrong, I am guilty of many language faux-pas. I do make a conscious effort, however, to eliminate the word "at" from my vocabulary. It is just an unnecessary word. Why could this woman not ask "Where are you shopping"? Asking it in this method accomplishes a couple of things. (1) It does not take any more energy, as she would be using the same amount of words. (2) She would sound so much more intelligent. (Kind of like that old saying "Keep your mouth shut and let them speculate, open it and prove them right", or something like that)

I give my husband a hard time for doing the same sort of thing. I think having children has made me acutely aware of the way I speak, and the way others around us speak. I notice the way Little Man puts his words in order and make a point to correct him if necessary.

This isn't the only thing I have noticed about the use of our beloved language. What ever happened to writing thank you notes or letters? I know how much I love to get snail mail so I can only imagine how it makes others feel. To think that someone took the time to pick out paper or a note card, physically put thoughts together and on paper, and then find a stamp and mail the envelope makes me feel good.

The interesting thing about this is that it does not discriminate. I hear it from reporters on the news, kids at the mall and people working at the bank. Is it that we don't know or we just don't care what we are saying? At this rate, it can only get worse. What are earth are my great grandchildren going to say to me and how are they going to say it? Will they even have an English teacher in school?


Putz said...

oh dear, you have caught me at my worst thing ever i do....see i just did is not the way i should end the sentance...and i write maybe 60 notes , comments a day to poeple and i do it wrong to all of them...that is why i am a daughters aren't like that, mt wife is a tacher, but i was a cutodian my whole life and they don't worry about that sort of brain is now in gear and i care leesss about how it comes out on paper...are you going to get mad at me now????

Burgh Baby said...

Ha! I have been all over my husband lately about some of his sloppy grammar. "At" is one of the things he does. I just don't want to have to un-teach the Toddler, y'know?

Miss Got Wings said...

My poor husband is the victim of my grammar abilities . . . . meaning, I constantly correct him.

The Mom said...

So true, it's a pity. English is a great language when used well. Quite similar are the names that we give our children. This bothers me. For example: Richard. It's a great name, but "Dick" - well not so great, in my opinion. Or James, and then calling him "Jimmy."

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Veggie Mom said...

I'm a high school English teacher, so you're preachin' to the choir. Thanks for the post. You're right on-point!

The Rev. said...

I think it may simply boil down to one thing: laziness.

I am, as my friends are well aware, an absolute FIEND for proper grammar. Thankfully, it was instilled in me at a young age.

Colleen said...

OOOOOH this irks me, too, to no end!!! My other language gripe? People who over-use text message lingo! GRRRRRRR....

Mrs4444 said...

It's dialect; habits learned from one's family and friends in the same dialect. I never end sentences that way, but I'm sure people notice my dialect when I'm in other states. On my blog, I have to avoid saying things like, "I love 'you guys,'" because I know it sounds kind of hokey :) I love proper English; it was my favorite subject in school, but a dialect is something that probably just sneaks up on people.

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