How to Look Smarter on Facebook and Twitter

(So I’ve taken my Decent Spelling land Article and I made it more journalistic for my Magazine class, with sources and all that jazz)

Today’s educated world demands a more arduous tenure through school than yestercentury. Because of this, students are forced to embark on a difficult journey towards that highly glorified piece of paper… otherwise known as a degree. However, even with all this higher learning and appropriated teaching, social networks and chat rooms are riddled with atrocious spelling and grammar. While people may just not care how they spell online, the problem may be more accurately attributed to the fact that many school curriculums in Canada do not account for spelling and grammar in their course expectations.

“This leaves teachers in a quandary in that as much as they care about [spelling and grammar], students can opt out of caring about it because they know they won’t get marked down for it,” says Kelly Redpath, Principal on Assignment Education and Community Services of York Region District School Board.

Because of this, many people find their facebook or Twitter filled with common grammatical and/or spelling mistakes. So, without further ado, I present to you a list of common online blunders, and how one can rectify them with some simple guidelines.

Let’s begin with the word, ‘congratulations’. There are dozens of birthdays, anniversaries, new relationships, pregnancies, births, promotions, and college acceptances that are worth congratulating on a weekly basis. Therefore, spelling the key word that is essential in blessing someone for their good fortune seems appropriate.

What not to say: “Dude, congrads on pulling off that tenth keg stand last night.”

What to say: “Hey Betty White, congratulations on still being relevant somehow!”

Next on the list is one of the most frequent online errs, the confusion between lose and loose. Oh yes, they are entirely different words with individual meanings, the former representing the opposite of winning, and the latter representing the opposite of tight. If you find yourself in a predicament, remember that when you lose it’s because you normally had less, just like ‘lose’ has one less ‘o’.

What not to say: “Man I’m sick of the Leafs loosing.”

What to say: “If Akon is in one more song this year I’m going to lose it!”

“I find that people mistake lose and loose more often than not, and it becomes frustrating to see it on my facebook on an almost daily basis,” says Ashley Darrach, a full time student at Nipissing University and avid facebook user.

Probably the most common, as well as the most aggravating spelling mistake, is the word ‘definitely’; primarily due to the fact that it’s spelled incorrectly so often. I’ve personally come across butchering such as: ‘defanately’, and ‘defanitely’, but the most common atrocity is ‘definately’. To clear things up I will make the following statement: the letter ‘a’ is not in the word ‘definitely’… ever. When in doubt, search for the root word, we all know that it’s not ‘finate’.

What not to say: “Definately going to kill myself before these exams are over.”

What to say: “A cross between a bulldog and a shih tsu would most definitely be the best breed.”

All right, it’s time to go back in time, all the way back to grade 1. Half of all first grade classes must have been asleep or too busy with their lego to pay attention to this important lesson, for the misuse of ‘there’, ‘their’, and ‘they’re’, is all too common. ‘They’re’ is a contraction meaning ‘they are’. ‘Their’ suggests that an object belongs to another. If it doesn’t fall under one of those two categories, then you may use ‘there’.

What not to say: “I swear there heading over their with they’re chair.”

What to say: “No, they’re probably not going to move the Coyote’s there until their fans stop showing up completely.”

Since we’re revisiting the good old days of elementary school, we might as well stay there for our next lesson. Remember sitting on that carpet with your legs crossed, hearing random fragments of your teacher’s lesson while daydreaming about your colouring book? That’s when Miss P. was talking about the difference between ‘too’ and ‘to. All you have to know is that ‘too’ means as well… I know, your world just exploded.

Georgia Lyons, a well experienced essay editor known locally at Nipissing University as the Grammar Granny, comes across mistakes such as these frequently.

“Homonyms such as ‘than’ and ‘then’, or ‘too’ and ‘to’ are among the most common problems, as are mistakes with doubling consonants,” Lyons said.

What not to say: “I’m totally going too Amsterdam for spring break, and you’re coming to!”

What to say: “Let’s go to my room… yea you can bring her too.”

Congratulations, you passed the first grade and have surprisingly been permitted to skip to the third! Uhoh, these words are getting complicated now. How in the world will we ever know the difference between ‘its’ and ‘it’s’? Simple really, ‘it’s’ is a contraction, therefore when extended it is expressed as ‘it is’. Therefore, if you read your sentence and it makes sense if you can say ‘it is’, toss that apostrophe in there!

What not to say: “its impossible that aliens don’t exist.

What to say: “Xbox is way better than Playstation, even its version of Wii is superior.”

Yes, we all make spelling mistakes, and yes, nobody is perfect. The purpose of this article is to clear up some of the more confusing areas of the english language so that social networks like facebook will no longer be ridden with the same repeated mistakes. You don’t deserve to be mistreated, and neither does our close friend known simply as english. We Canadians can only hope that the importance of grammar and spelling will increase exponentially along with social networks over the next several years. In conclusion, it is important to remember these modest teachings and pass it on to your friends, and maybe one day all of our facebooks will be cleaner than Will Smith’s lyrics.

By: Kyle Larkin

Stay tuned for a part 2!!

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