Thursday, January 25, 2007

Grammer, uh, I mean Grammar!

I have a BA degree in English from the University of Connecticut.

It's sort of funny how I came to major in English. When I was in high school, I remember my class took one of these tests that are supposed to guide you into choosing a career path that matches your skills. Mine revealed that I should study math or engineering. What?! Math? I mean, I grasped the concepts in my math classes and always received good grades, but I couldn't imagine anything more boring than working with mathematics for the rest of my life. Plus, how was I supposed to know what I wanted to do with my life- I was only 16 years old.

So, when I started at UConn, I just randomly took classes (trying to avoid math at all costs). My sophomore year I was forced to plan a scholarly direction and declare a major. At this point, I had spent far more time elevating UConn to one of Playboy's top-ten party schools than improving my own GPA. I figured the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences was the direction I should take.

I went to a few meetings with the different departments but, when I went to the English Department, I was sold! I walked in to the English Department's lounge for an informational meeting and they had four huge couches arranged in a circle. I took a seat and looked around the room and. . . I was the only guy there! That's right, I was surrounded by women and they were all good-looking! I knew I had found my major.

Of course, it wasn't all roses! I always enjoyed books and liked to read (I did end up working in a library, after all), but these girls loved books. I mean, sometimes it was scary. I spent many classes with them where they would spend the whole hour arguing over the meaning an author was striving to convey in a single sentence of a book. Finally, when I couldn't take any more, I would blurt out, "Maybe the author had no hidden meaning in this line! Maybe he had a deadline with a publisher and he just wrote this sentence so he could get on to the next one, finish the book, then get paid!"

Obviously, my love life at UConn did not revolve around the girls in my English classes!

What I did take from my classes was a belief in the importance of being able to write clearly, concisely, and without (many?) grammatical errors. To this day, I can spot a misspelling or punctuation error a mile away.

After college, when I hit the working world, I was appalled at how many co-workers (especially supervisors) could not write a proper memo. Emails were even worse. I don't understand why, but many people believe you can throw all the rules of English out the window when writing an email. Most people don't even keep their spell checker on! I kept a huge file that had copies of all the ridiculous errors I received via email or memo.

Thanks to the internet, I've discovered I'm not alone in my disgust at lack of interest in following the rules of grammar. A few sites have collected pictures of obvious mistakes right out in the open for everyone to see. Click on the links below:

Apostrophe Catastrophe- It's an epidemic

Apostrophe Abuse

The Apostrophe Protection Society

Grammar Cop- Apostrophe Mug Shot Gallery

It's An Epidemic!

Literally, A Web Log

I hope you enjoy these and, if you find any mistakes in my blog, here's my email. Be kind, please.


Anonymous said... KAPOOEY is a proper word to detail the inner happenings of AV materials. Some people are such SNOBS!!!!!

Becky said...

Thanks for the link!