‘Thar be idots:’ How the Internet is killing grammar


As a precursor to this statement, I am now insanely aware of any grammar and spelling errors I may make and apologize for any. I’m not perfect, and I hope you don’t mistake my comments on social media’s destruction of the English language as a perfectionist’s or editor’s rants but rather as a call to review things before you click the “submit” button.

I go through a phase almost every two weeks where I debate with myself about getting rid of my Facebook and never looking at YouTube again. But ultimately, I remember how awesome cat videos are and how much I love stalking my friends. Then I make it another two weeks.

This cyclical frustration is brought on by people who don’t know the difference between there and they’re, your and you’re and to and too. The grammatically ignorant. I completely understand the excuse of autocorrect; this has been a constant source of headaches for me whenever I send texts, post on Facebook or tweet. Even Apple sometimes doesn’t know to add the apostrophe before the “d” in “I’d,” and my friends think I’m talking about my id.

People have become far too desensitized to poor grammar. In fact, it’s common place. I looked on my Facebook feed briefly for inspiration for this editorial. It took me five seconds of scrolling to find a comment that was dripping in grammatical and spelling errors. Could I understand the comment? Yes, after consulting my Urim and Thummim and the Rosetta Stone. I won’t post the comment because it’s vulgar and I’d rather my friends not know I publicly criticize their Facebook comments. Most of my friends give their posts or comments a second’s glance before posting. Some don’t. We all have that friend.

This all culminates in the worst forum of grammar fallacies on the web — YouTube. People troll YouTube all day just out of boredom and then spam any video they don’t like with poorly formed comments rife with improper syntax and the spelling skills of a 6-year-old.

One of my favorite web series is put on by the YouTubers Rhett and Link, called “The Mythical Show.” One episode of the show showed the two stars, Rhett and Link, reading their YouTube comments as basically a dig at the people who didn’t like the show. It ended abruptly with the comment, ‘Thar be idots.’ The two stared at each other with blank looks on their faces, not knowing how to respond to the comment. Oh, the irony. It’s not hard to understand what the commenter wanted to say, but really, it reflects poorly on the commenter in the end rather than getting the point across.

Whenever we post anything on Facebook, YouTube or any other form of social media, remember that everything we put on social media stays there forever. Forever. As I said, I understand the problem with autocorrect; we often rely on it to formulate our sentences for us. But remember, we’re in charge of our brain; the computer isn’t. There are basic things we learned in grade school, like the difference between whose and who’s, that I rarely see on the Internet. This dependence on technology to police our Facebook grammar reflects on us when it looks like we really didn’t care what went on the web so long as we put ourselves out there.

Be your own keeper when it comes to what you put on the Internet. To really be taken seriously in this digital age, our online presence has to be just as good, if not better, than our physical presence. So please, save everyone a headache and edit before clicking the penultimate “submit” button.

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