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  1. #1
    CatFive is offline Newbie
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    Cool Have grammar guidelines changed dramatically over the last three decades?

    Hello,

    I find reading a news article to be an increasingly painful task. It used to be rather difficult to find any mispellings or poor grammar within written materials. Excellent writing skills in addition to an interesting perspective were required im most publishing fields.

    Now I read articles on the internet. I honestly feel ashamed, and quite disheartened, about the complete lack of concern or awareness shown for the reader.

    I feel as though I am a direct witness to the decline of civilization, as if I am living the movie Idiocracy.


    The most common issues I see are:

    1. Run-on sentences (whether caused by too many prepositional phrases, comma splices, and/or excessive use of conjunctions.)

    2. Sentences beginning with extraneous conjunctions (And and But make me wince the most.)

    3. Ending sentences with a prepositional phrase. I know this isn't a "rule" however, I propose application of it be reserved only for the most advanced users of the English Language.

    4. Mixing present and past tense within the same paragraph; even worse, within the same sentence.


    Is it just me, or are we as a species shifting from written text to pictures and videos? Does this make anyone else feel like time and space no longer expands; but rather, has actually begun to constrict? Is this where the backslide starts and human devolution begins? I feel we have gone through the cusp. We now live in a world where fake breasts and expressionless faces are valued much higher than something so antiquated as intelligence.

    I found a hair salon advertisement to be a poignant sign of the times. It read:

    On Memorial Day, Remember Your Hair.

    Have I just outgrown modern times, and my outrage is akin to calling Elvis' hip swivel 'of the devil'?


    Your thoughts and ideas are much appreciated!

  2. #2
    SoothingDave is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: Have grammar guidelines changed dramatically over the last three decades?

    Beginning in the 1960s journalism became less about being a professional writer and more about advancing political causes.

  3. #3
    Rover_KE is online now Moderator
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    Default Re: Have grammar guidelines changed dramatically over the last three decades?

    Welcome to the forum, CatFive, and thanks for that thought-provoking topic. You're welcome to join those of us here who strive to enlighten those in linguistic darkness.

    The rise of texting, blogging and tweeting has contributed to the general degradation of the language, as using standard English costs the participants time and money.

    Email started the decline when everybody thought it necessary to write their online address with their names in lower case letters.

    Rover

  4. #4
    EverLivingPoet is offline Banned
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    Default Re: Have grammar guidelines changed dramatically over the last three decades?

    Political correctness may be to blame.

  5. #5
    Allen165 is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: Have grammar guidelines changed dramatically over the last three decades?

    NOT A TEACHER.

    I think you're overreacting. Thanks to the Internet, more people are able to make their opinions available to the public, so it would seem quite logical for the quality of writing to decline (though I'm not sure that it has). Besides, most people have more important things to worry about than grammar, and let's not forget that mastering the English language is a task requiring an inordinate amount of time and effort. To me, a writer's message always comes first; the grammar and punctuation are secondary.

    Don't forget that articles published on the Internet are often produced under time pressure, so it's no surprise that mistakes are made.

    You mention comma splices as a problem, yet one of your sentences contains a comma splice: "I know this isn't a "rule" however, I propose application of it be reserved only for the most advanced users of the English Language."

  6. #6
    CatFive is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: Have grammar guidelines changed dramatically over the last three decades?

    Thank you Rover! I wouldn't quite consider myself in a position to enlighten anyone =). However, I would love to help preserve this dying art form. I sorely miss the days when grammatically correct, clear communications resulted from a deep sense of pride. Maybe that is the ultimate bottom line: What makes the average American feel proud?

    My love for the English Language sparked as a small child. I spoke horrible, inner city English. I was intrigued the first time someone responded to me with "that is a double negative. You are saying you have money" following my announcement of "I don't got no money." By the time sentence diagrams came around, I was hooked. I knew mastering the language was my ticket out of squalor. I didnít need an actual education; I just had to sound educated.

    I studied English. I endlessly practiced words with Oís in them and/or ending in R. It is not cawfee, itís coffee. It is not a cah, it is a car. I practiced my body language and posture. I turned an 8th grade diploma into a 6-figure salary. People with Masterís degrees reported to me. Not because I too was well educated; but rather, I was viewed as well educated.

    Iím so happy to find a site where others share my interest! Nice to *meet* you and take care!

    Quote Originally Posted by Rover_KE View Post
    Welcome to the forum, CatFive, and thanks for that thought-provoking topic. You're welcome to join those of us here who strive to enlighten those in linguistic darkness.

    The rise of texting, blogging and tweeting has contributed to the general degradation of the language, as using standard English costs the participants time and money.

    Email started the decline when everybody thought it necessary to write their online address with their names in lower case letters.

    Rover

  7. #7
    CatFive is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: Have grammar guidelines changed dramatically over the last three decades?

    Hi Alien165,

    I am not sure if I have inadvertently offended you or if you are just having a bad day. In either case, I am sorry you feel that way.

    My observation is not in regards to opinions. It is specific to articles published by well-established news outlets. I scratch my head and wonder if Editors have become obsolete. I suppose the fundamentals of journalism died with Tim Russert. Who knows what is opinion or unbiased reporting anymore, regardless of whether it is on T.V., in a newspaper or online.

    I agree with your point that most people have plenty to worry about; however, I would not deem anyone's worries more or less important. Importance is subjective to each person. I would debate your point that a writer's message is secondary to grammar and punctuation. Anyone with a message does not a writer make. (yeah I know. I like it anyway. File it under poetic license.)

    It is a craft to be perfected and delivered with grammar and style. To say grammar and punctuation is secondary to a Writerís message is akin to saying, "A Singer's message always comes first; singing on key and in time are secondary." Or "An Artist's message always comes first; composition and perspective are secondary." Grammar and punctuation are the technical fundamentals of being a Writer. Without mastering these requirements of the craft, it just another person with a message.

    Perhaps it is just me, but I cannot even get to the message if I have to get beyond a screeching Yoko Ono, or a "Writer" who signs their name on an article that has three sentences spanning nine paragraphs.

    Thank you for highlighting my typo! I intended to include a comma preceding "however." Good thing I do not make a living as a Writer! I am simply a User on usingenglish.com hoping to fine-tune my skills and find like-minded people. I hope that I could possibly even help those learning English as their 2nd, 3rd, or 4th language.

    Warm Regards,
    Cat



    Quote Originally Posted by Allen165 View Post
    NOT A TEACHER.

    I think you're overreacting. Thanks to the Internet, more people are able to make their opinions available to the public, so it would seem quite logical for the quality of writing to decline (though I'm not sure that it has). Besides, most people have more important things to worry about than grammar, and let's not forget that mastering the English language is a task requiring an inordinate amount of time and effort. To me, a writer's message always comes first; the grammar and punctuation are secondary.

    Don't forget that articles published on the Internet are often produced under time pressure, so it's no surprise that mistakes are made.

    You mention comma splices as a problem, yet one of your sentences contains a comma splice: "I know this isn't a "rule" however, I propose application of it be reserved only for the most advanced users of the English Language."

  8. #8
    Allen165 is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: Have grammar guidelines changed dramatically over the last three decades?

    Quote Originally Posted by CatFive View Post
    Hi Alien165,

    I am not sure if I have inadvertently offended you or if you are just having a bad day. In either case, I am sorry you feel that way.

    My observation is not in regards to opinions. It is specific to articles published by well-established news outlets. I scratch my head and wonder if Editors have become obsolete. I suppose the fundamentals of journalism died with Tim Russert. Who knows what is opinion or unbiased reporting anymore, regardless of whether it is on T.V., in a newspaper or online.

    I agree with your point that most people have plenty to worry about; however, I would not deem anyone's worries more or less important. Importance is subjective to each person. I would debate your point that a writer's message is secondary to grammar and punctuation. Anyone with a message does not a writer make. (yeah I know. I like it anyway. File it under poetic license.)

    It is a craft to be perfected and delivered with grammar and style. To say grammar and punctuation is secondary to a Writerís message is akin to saying, "A Singer's message always comes first; singing on key and in time are secondary." Or "An Artist's message always comes first; composition and perspective are secondary." Grammar and punctuation are the technical fundamentals of being a Writer. Without mastering these requirements of the craft, it just another person with a message.

    Perhaps it is just me, but I cannot even get to the message if I have to get beyond a screeching Yoko Ono, or a "Writer" who signs their name on an article that has three sentences spanning nine paragraphs.

    Thank you for highlighting my typo! I intended to include a comma preceding "however." Good thing I do not make a living as a Writer! I am simply a User on usingenglish.com hoping to fine-tune my skills and find like-minded people. I hope that I could possibly even help those learning English as their 2nd, 3rd, or 4th language.

    Warm Regards,
    Cat
    You did not catch me on a bad day or offend me. And no need for you to feel sorry.

    Importance is, to a certain extent, subjective, but I don't think grammatical correctness ranks highly in most people's lives. If it did, you probably wouldn't have started this thread. And I doubt most people would associate poor grammar with a civilization decline.

    Personally, I find it hard to believe that someone would get upset because the quality of writing in the media appears to be worsening. But that's me. My priorities are different.

    This is what I meant when I mentioned the comma splice: I know this isn't a "rule," however; I propose application of it be reserved only for the most advanced users of the English Language.

    By the way, there's nothing wrong with starting a sentence with "and" or "but." See Are we misguided? | The Grammarphobia Blog.

  9. #9
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: Have grammar guidelines changed dramatically over the last three decades?

    Quote Originally Posted by CatFive View Post
    It is specific to articles published by well-established news outlets. I scratch my head and wonder if Editors have become obsolete.
    I am afraid that they are probably one of the casualties of the demands made by rolling media. However, online magazines and periodicals are an area where there's less pressure and I think that many of these are less slipshod. Rolling news pumps things out fast, often with grammatical and factual inaccuracies, but if we want instant access, that is probably the price we have to pay, but that doesn't mean that this is the case in all areas of the media.

  10. #10
    5jj's Avatar
    5jj is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: Have grammar guidelines changed dramatically over the last three decades?

    Quote Originally Posted by CatFive View Post
    Your thoughts and ideas are much appreciated!
    wotsup doc!??! u r 1 of them thats like a fossil man. u wanna like live dude!!!!!!!!! i say peeps like u shld never of left the drak ages lol

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