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Disturbing Trends With English: Have You Noticed the Decline?

Updated on November 9, 2011

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Now, those of us who contribute to Moon Willow Lake's hubs don't have English majors, but we understand enough to have noticed a very disturbing trend.This trend is not only cropping up on many websites, but also in college-level courses. We really do think it's becoming an epidemic.

The reason we bring this up is because we hope that at least some of the people who perhaps don't realize what's correct will review this information and proofread their work a little more before clicking 'submit', 'send', or 'print'.

That all said, we've seen a lot of well written hubs and comments on hubpages so thank you fellow hubbers!

What We're Talking About

When I go to a site like Yahoo! and read the comments that people post on articles written there, I am absolutely astounded at the poor use of capitalization and typos in many (not all) of them.

A perfect example:

Incorrect: "i canot believe how people can write comenst lkie thsi.isnt this disturbnig toraed?"

Correct: "I cannot believe how people can write comments like this. Isn't this disturbing to read?"

I don't know about you, but even if the writer of a comment written as poorly as the incorrect example above is trying to make a good point, I cannot take him or her seriously because of how their comment ignores a lot of English basics!

Do you know that I once saw a featured article on a different major website that had a lowercase "i"? How could that article make it to "featured" status with a mistake that glaring? It is, after all, a site that claims to provide advice to bloggers of all things!

This Isn't Confined to the Online World

My significant other is attending college and sees that type of poor English by both fellow students and the instructors! Shouldn't the students who write that poorly be required to take classes to correct that? Shouldn't instructors who cannot write decently have consequences by their superiors for setting a bad example?

I also once worked in an entry level HR position where I reviewed resumes and couldn't believe what people would turn in seriously believing their submissions were well written. I'm sorry, but the easiest resumes and applications to place in my 'no' pile were those that didn't even try to use correct English.

If people who are in college (including the instructors) plus those who apply for employment don't know enough about English to use correct words and capitalizations, then how will our children learn?

Speaking of teaching our children, my significant other and I placed our son into 4K daycare instead of the 4K public school system. One of the major reasons why is because of what we observed during the enrollment process for the local public school. The following list reveals only a couple of the issues we observed:

  • There was a one-sided sheet of paper that had, "Reason's to Enroll" instead of "Reasons to Enroll".
  • Their code of conduct booklet had, in the middle of otherwise "legal terminology", a run-on sentence with about 4 "and's" in it with no commas.

Someone please tell me who would knowingly send their child to an environment like that?

What Can We Do?

I think the number one thing we can do is teach ourselves. Once we've done that, we can start teaching our children. It is only when we admit we all have a lot to learn about this that we can start turning this awful trend around. I honestly don't even recognize some of the comments made by online users at various sites as English because they are that poorly written.

We can also make sure to start teaching our children when they are very young. The sooner they gain exposure to correct English usage the better. And don't forget to show them the 'bad' English too so that you can teach them why it's wrong.

Another exercise you can do is practice. This is especially true if you either have a lot of trouble spelling words or if you are teaching children. I don't know if it's still being done, but I had many pop spelling quizzes a week when in elementary school. We also had our written paper grade points knocked down for every single spelling and grammar mistake that we made. Are these grading techniques still being used in schools?


In order to help us all write a little better, I have some ideas on what to do before finalizing your work:

  • Proofread, Proofread, Proofread, and then have someone else Proofread
  • Are all of the "I's" capital "I's"?
  • Are all of the words spelled correctly? (Hint: Are there any red squiggly lines?)
  • Use Spell and Grammar Checker (but don't completely depend upon them either)
  • Is there a space between your period/ question mark/ exclamation point and the beginning of your next sentence?
  • Is there a space between each word?
  • Are proper words and names capitalized?
  • Is the first letter of every sentence capitalized?
  • Are there any unintended run-ons or fragments?
  • Did you use the correct word? (Too/ two/ to, There/ their/ they're, Which/ witch, Bye/ by/ buy, Its/ it's, etc.)
  • Did you add apostrophes where they are needed?
  • Is the writing style and word usage appropriate for the intended audience?
  • Are there any missing words?

No One is Perfect

Though we've brought you these tips, we know no one is perfect. Yes, that absolutely goes for us too. We also realize that there is room for everyone to learn and grow, including us.

Also, keep in mind that 100% correct English isn't always needed everywhere. We understand the need for a more casual writing style at times and even the occasional use of some chat lingo. All we are pointing out is to please be careful of word usage, capitalizations, and typos.

Please also keep in mind who your audience is. We certainly encourage unique writing styles for a variety of reasons; but consider how you are writing if you are doing something such as applying to a job.

And lastly, if you notice that a school (especially a University) sees no issues with improper English, speak up about it and don't spend your money there!

If you have observed other disturbing trends with English, please share them in the comments below!

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    • PawsitiveBehavior profile image

      Cyd Oldham 5 years ago from Reno, Nevada

      I agree and think that our lack of ability to use the English language properly (or even just not terribly) is an indictment of today's educational system. My pet peeve is the total misunderstanding of the apostrophe.

    • Moon Willow Lake profile image

      Moon Willow Lake 6 years ago

      Iar and asr: I really think our educational system needs to do a better job at teaching our kids. It has apparently gone down hill since I was in elementary school and I have complaints as to how things were taught back then. I need to do some research so that my son receives a better education than what's offered through the local public school system. Yes, as a parent I bear the responsibility to teach him all this too; but I need to work so I therefore need to know he is also being taught well otherwise.

    • profile image

      lar and asr 6 years ago from Cathedral city, CA

      Yeah, I agree this isn't just an annoying habbit statistics show more and more kids are messing up due to mespelin and b ad grammar. It is affecting grades and people arn't being taken seriously so now a genuis inventor could be turned down for a job application or a scholarship due to bad grammar and spelling.

    • Moon Willow Lake profile image

      Moon Willow Lake 6 years ago

      Karen Wodke: I most certainly hope that it's temporary as well!

    • Moon Willow Lake profile image

      Moon Willow Lake 6 years ago

      Gypsy Writer: I certainly understand about the English teacher you had. I didn't like all of the pop quizzes I had at the time, but am now very grateful that was done!

    • Karen Wodke profile image

      Karen Wodke 6 years ago from Midwest

      Yes, the correct use of language has diminished. I don't know why, but I hope it's temporary.

    • Gyspy Writer profile image

      Gyspy Writer 6 years ago from Midwest

      Yes, I've noticed. I was one of the lucky ones. In school, I was taught phonics, spelling and English. In fact, I had the English teacher from hell, but her efforts paid off. I didn't like it at the time, but I thank her today.