Has grammar been ruined by the internet?

I love words. I love to string them together. I love the way they roll off my tongue. I however hate the dots, slashes, squiggles and weird symbols that in proper English help you read all of the words I love to string together and understand them at the same time.

English is a confusing language. There are so many rules. There are so many interpretations and adaptations of those same rules. I remember as a child only being exposed to Canadian style English and the dreaded “American slang” as my father always called it. Sometimes there was talk of actually English English, but even in the 1970s that option was considered too hard to keep up. As a society we adopt vocabulary according to political correctness, or social trends. Each decade has had its own vernacular; from the groovy 60’s and the disco 70’s to the electric 80’s and depressed 90’s products of each time period include a long list of words young people embraced and old people loathed to hear. The millennium brought a whole new dissection of the most common language on Earth. The internet and the ever evolving smart cell phone have turned whole conversations into a series of crazy almost secret code short cuts. Emoji’s are more popular than typing words, yet they do not mean what they visually represent. Why in 2018 an eggplant is used to represent a penis I have no idea, but it is. Apparently all the way back in 2011 some nerd guy got the world mass of lemmings online to believe eggplant emoji’s are all about penis and not about Italian cooking … I’m still stuck on why. Why can’t a penis be a penis and an eggplant be a vegetable as it’s intended to be? Then there are the single letter answers that used to be a whole word. These apparently are the best short cut ever and they usually annoy me. A simple k makes me feel like screaming “no not f#%*ing k it’s ok, that extra letter just too much for you to type? Really?! You just texted me your whole of yesterday step by step, but now that 1 extra letter is too much for your carpal tunnel?!” Surprisingly I do not yell in text form instead I text a simple smiley face emoji and carry on. Missing from all of these communication situations is my friend grammar and really the opportunity to use it properly.

To or too? It’s or its? There, their or they’re … it can all be a conundrum especially because the internet offers worldwide exposure. We are often reading Google translated posts on social media or poorly written ones. People have learned to read a word or sentence as they assume it was meant as opposed to how it is actually spelled. Auto correct and spell/grammar checks often give you the wrong information. How many times has autocorrect added a whole different word to texts or emails? I’ve never used the word ducking in a sentence ever yet it appears in my communications all of the time! Just to add some serious confusion another lifetime ago I was a journalism student. I learned CP style and Globe and Mail style, two methods adopted by Canadian journalism to help reduce letter count and make newspaper columns look better while making more room for advertising on each page. For example words like colour and neighbour loose the u to become color and neighbor. Sometimes my grammar choices and sentence structure are upside down; I forget which set of rules actually applies.

Besides all of the above variables I was born with a complete disregard of authority, I hate rules and using proper grammatical structure has always deflated the joy I feel when writing. I was still in grade school when I adopted the habit of using dashes to punctuate sentences. I don’t think it means anything to anyone but me; I use it anyway and just expect people to know what I mean.

Bear with me; I’m sure along the way I will make definite errors. My word choices will be wrong. My commas too many or my semi colon used for the wrong reason. For some of you it will ruin the experience for the rest of you who think eggplant means penis I doubt you’ll even notice. My errors will be a well-kept secret among the few. Unless of course I’m corrected in the comments, then everyone will know and I’ll still be okay with it.