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To think that grammar/spelling standards are not what they were?

(319 Posts)
Meandmarius Fri 22-Mar-13 09:29:34

I'm mid 30's and have noticed that most of my friends/peers are able to distinguish between 'your and you're', 'where, were, we're' and using the words 'have' and 'of' correctly.
I've noticed that in younger generations there just doesn't seem to be the same standard anymore and I wonder why that is.
Not saying for one minute that my own sp. and grammar is perfect - it isn't. I just wonder if there is as much emphasis on it nowadays as there was back in the day..

NetworkGuy Sat 23-Mar-13 21:46:54

I've seen similar things (manor | manner) on 'official' websites (the typos I spotted were on a local site, but annoying because the event being promoted was aimed at school pupils!)

Seen today - a news item about the "Grammar Nazis" (their words, not mine)

bumblingbovine Sun 24-Mar-13 09:03:03

I am 48 years old and I don't remember being taught very much grammar at all, if any - I had a late sixties early seventies education. I was always an A student in English yet when I started work after university, all my letters had to be corrected by my boss and I became aware of how little I knew about writing correctly in a business environment. Over time I improved, without using any grammar books and I certainly know the difference between all the words used as an example in the OP. Whether I knew the difference at 18 years old, I can't remember (it was so long ago) but I was certainly making mistakes in my writing.

Fast forward 20 years and I found myself with a 21 year old university graduate trainee to supervise. I also spent a year correcting his outgoing letters and emails which often had the sorts of errors listed in the op. At first I found it frustrating but I tried to remember that my boss had done the same thing for me 20 years before. The trainee improved as had I and he made a very good executive in time. Sometimes I think people forget as they get older what they were really like and what they could do when they were younger.

Of course you can do things more effectively with lots of experience. How surprising is it that a 30 year old who does lots of writing for work has better written grammar than an 18 year old? Not really.

It may be that typing has made people less careful but you need to compare like with like; 18 year olds then with 18 years olds now, not with 30 year olds now and for that we can't really rely on the memory of what we were like at 18, as memory itself is very unreliable.

BoffinMum Sun 24-Mar-13 09:31:00

I've seen mistakes with apostrophes and so on in the transcripts of Michael Gove's speeches. I despair, I really do. There is nothing stopping people reading Lynne Truss to make sure they understand what's necessary in formal communication.

limitedperiodonly Sun 24-Mar-13 10:14:33

YY bumblingbovine Some people's memories are as dodgy as their spelling, punctuation and grammar.

I do giggle at an OP pontificating about falling standards who doesn't know how to use apostrophes and uses The Apprentice Yourself.

76Chalky Sun 24-Mar-13 10:29:33

i think it's the absence of learning gramma correctly at school

I couldn't agree more Fakebook. I think text speak/the rapidity of social media is partly to blame, but since autocorrect, full key pads on smartphones and predictive text became more common social media has moved back to full sentence use. Like you I'm in my 30s and we had next to nothing taught to us about gramma due to the curriculum of the times. I think we see that reflected in grammatically incorrect English use by a large proportion of our generation and the next. It saddens me because I worked hard to make up for the failings of my education and i firmly believe that gramma is vital to make meaning clear. We all make mistakes, but communication suffers when there's no regard for gramma. Here endeth the rant. smile

Meandmarius Sun 24-Mar-13 11:07:18

Oh dear, limited, you just keep on making the same old point in an otherwise fantastic discussion. I've pointed out several times, including in my OP, that my own level of ability is not perfect.

Will this help, dear?
I've noticed you! waves

limitedperiodonly Sun 24-Mar-13 11:24:28

You don't get my point, dear OP.

My level of ability in written and spoken English isn't perfect either. But on the evidence here, it's much better than yours. And yet you're the one criticising the standards of others.

How funny.

Meandmarius Sun 24-Mar-13 11:31:06

limited, I'm not sure you understand my point either but I respect your right to an opinion.

Right, everyone, I'm off for a nice, fat glass of wine
Well, it is the weekend and I always find it helps if I'm a little uptight...

LRDtheFeministDragon Sun 24-Mar-13 12:05:46

I've seen mistakes with apostrophes and so on in the transcripts of Michael Gove's speeches.

Those aren't mistakes, those are divine retribution. wink

BoneyBackJefferson Sun 24-Mar-13 12:06:23

I don't think that grammar/lteracy/spelling has gotten any worse.

What we have in place now is the means to measure them.

When I was growing up (70s and 80s) there were regular adult literacy classes (for those that couldn't read at all). (they might now be hidden as those that cannot speak any English at all)

In school there were classes for the very low ability where the weren't taught, they collected the town's christmas tree, did the gardening at the school etc.

There are now fewer places to hide these pupils/people

MiniTheMinx Sun 24-Mar-13 12:25:18

Good point BoneyBackJefferson, in the 40/50/60s people left school at 12-14 years of age and went into manual labour where literacy skills were not required. The middle class went into white collar work having either gone through the grammar school system or through small private schools and further education.

Now we are in a post industrial economy in the West and more button pushers (admin white collar workers) are required. Of course levels of literacy need to rise to meet this need. What is interesting to me is that traditionally white collar work is still sold as "middle class" despite falling incomes.

Frogman Sun 24-Mar-13 15:20:32

Boneyback - I'm biting my tongue in response to your post.

limitedperiodonly Sun 24-Mar-13 16:07:11

boneyback I volunteered to teach adult literacy classes because it annoyed me that people who didn't have those skills were disadvantaged in life as well as being patronised by people whose own standards were poor but a bit better.

I gave it up because, though passionate about the idea, I realised I wasn't that good a teacher.

It's more important to be able to apply the knowledge we have, rather than boasting about the simple fact of having it. Or not, as I'm amused and pained to notice on threads such as this.

YY to mini. Where are all these unskilled and semi-skilled jobs? Meanwhile, this thread has shown that lots of people are holding down white-collar jobs with literacy skills I would regard as average at best, while trashing the abilities of others who may have other skills they either won't or can't recognise.

I don't want anyone to lose her job unless she's dishonest or utterly incompetent. But please, let's be honest about our levels of achievement and the extent to which excellence, or anything other than bare competence, is required at work.

BoneyBackJefferson Sun 24-Mar-13 21:17:24

"I'm biting my tongue in response to your post."

Which part?

Frogman Sun 24-Mar-13 23:30:16

Boneyback - for someone to contribute to this topic and then write such a poorly constructed piece AND use "gotten" grin

BoneyBackJefferson Mon 25-Mar-13 06:13:13


bruffin Mon 25-Mar-13 06:32:59

I'm 50 and wasn't taught grammar at school. My Dcs are 15 and 17 and was surprised how much they were taught in primary school. DS had a piece reduced from a level 4 to a level 2 because of punctuation and spelling. He is dyslexic and his friends do pick up on his spelling on Facebook grin.
I would judge bad spelling on a forum because i know predictive text can be a nightmare and it is not easy to type on small screens and was to make mistakes. I don't like textspeak ay all.

SirEdmundFrillary Mon 25-Mar-13 16:50:09

LDR, I apologise.

habbibu Tue 26-Mar-13 16:10:16

Gotten is a v old form. Fell out of favour because of declining standards, I'll warrant.

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