I’m a Southern boy. Greenville, S.C. I moved to Philly while in the 2nd grade. Ergo, my mom was from the South. She wasn’t an “educated” woman, but, rather, self-taught, as it were. That combo, self-taught/Southern, made for some interesting conversations. She made mistakes along the way, but she rarely made grammatical errors. My older sister picked up the ball and ran with it – she speaks the Queen’s English. Listening to her as a teenager, I vowed that I would speak as well as she. I went on to make it one of my life’s goals to know the English language inside out. So far, so good.
On Twitter, as with most social networks, it’s common to align oneself with like-minded folk. When I come across a tweet that speaks to my “grammatical heart”, my eyes light up and I pay close attention. I’ve found quite a few tweeps who pride themselves on their proper usage of the English language. Conversely, I have come across those who are insanely clueless.
When I find someone of interest, i first check their profile, then scroll through a few of their tweets to be certain that I really want to follow them. It wasn’t always that way. I would get excited, and just hit that “follow” button right away. As a result, I am stuck following some folks that irritate the crap out of me. Ideally, I could simply “unfollow” and call it a day, but they have taken the time to “follow back”, and I just don’t have the heart to unfollow. So, now, when they pop up, I just scroll right on past them.
Last week, I came across a young, black male who made a statement to the likes of:
“I’ve decided to take this English thing all the way to the PhD level, because some people out here are in serious need of help”.
Of course, my eyes lit up! This, I thought, is someone that I definitely need to follow. Fortunately, now, I check folks out first. I clicked on his profile, and then, his tweets. There, at the top, was the aforementioned tweet. In the VERY NEXT tweet, he made a statement followed by “BARE with me, please”. I was sooo undone! Here is a person condemning others for their grammatical errors, and he doesn’t know the difference between “bare” and “bear”. OMG!!!
I take great offense to the “N” word, but, I heard Smokey Robinson on Def Poetry reciting a piece in which he used the “N” word. However, he used it in such a manner that even I liked it (click here, if you’d like to see the video). I’ve never been a fan of spoken word artistry, but, as an artist, I give them support, just the same. I was even front-row-center when the roadshow, Def Poetry, came to Philly. Not surprisingly, I was thoroughly pleased. Still, not my thing. There is a huge difference in their stage presentation and what they put down on paper. Judging from the tweets that I have seen from most of the spoken word artists that I follow, they are some of the worst offenders when it comes to the destruction of the English language.
I can’t throw too much shade on these spoken word artists because most of them are making money, hand-over-fist, with their road shows. The question that remains in my mind, however, is how can one call oneself a writer and fail miserably with English usage? You want to know what’s heartbreaking about the entire situation? ALMOST ALL of the spoken word artists that I follow who are clueless about English grammar, are college students! That pains me so. It’s a sad commentary on the state of our education system.
Most of the time, one can easily tell the difference between a typo and something that is grammatically incorrect. The most common errors seem to be words that should be dubbed as “the basics”. People incorrectly interchange “their”, “they’re”, and “there”. They don’t know the difference between “two”, “to”, and “too”, “here” and “hear”, even words like “deer” and “dear”. Of course, there is the infamous “bare” and “bear”.
Well, be a deer, please, and bare with me when I occasionally call folks out on there grammatical incorrectness. Peace.
copyright 2012 blackstarr