If that title looks perfectly okay to you, you can stop reading right now.
A friend of mine decided to create a line of T-shirts that lament this country’s woeful mangling of the English language. I think it’s a great idea. As a writer, I’m into words, and punctuation too. Ah, the vagaries of the misplaced, missing or underused comma; the overused exclamation and question marks — What the ????? And new permutations of words just because they look hip spelled that way! I begged him to call attention to the plight of the little-understood apostrophe — how, how, how to differentiate the possessive from the contraction? Even the New York Times can’t get it straight! Here is Exhibit A from a recent article in the paper:
“My salary was revealed to embarrass me, and there’s no one on the nonartistic side who’s salary is being revealed.”
When I was a child, finding a mistake in the New York Times was considered sport.
I am especially enthusiastic about these T-shirts because I’ve just gone through the drama of reviewing a steaming pile of resumes in response to my Office Assistant ad. I saved a few of the sexiest entries in The Most Awful English Strangulation category, with “highlights” reproduced here exactly as submitted, punctuation included.
From the Cover Letter Wellspring
I would like to apply for the position of a secretary/ receptionist bilingual you are offering. I have experience in handling a secretary’s jobs for the last year (see my resume for the detail) and am now interested in joining your team taking responsibility for a further more career. My currents job also requires having a constant communication with customers and clients effectively using e-mails, phone calls, and meetings. I would appreciate the opportunity to discuss any further questions regarding my experiences that will be useful for you as the further consideration. Thank you for your time and consideration.
hi, my name is Anthony I’m currently 23yrs old I’m very perfect for this position because I have experience I’m a fast learner, I make things happen my motivation is off the charts I love to be very busy in my job and be on top of my task’s. I speak and read both English and Spanish would love to work with you and your company I will bring my A game and all my work ethics and knowledge into this , hope to hear from you soon thank you
My objective is to use my experience from other jobs and succeed as well as present the best service to be positioned a stable job which I will bring my great personality and will enjoy as well.
Honestly, could Sarah Palin do any better?
Believe it or not, I don’t think bad grammar or poor spelling reflects stupidity. One of my best friends couldn’t spell her way out of an open cage but she is a brilliant professional in her chosen career, and her impressive stream of spectacular ideas has me constantly encouraging her to run for mayor. Some of the world’s greatest authors couldn’t spell, and would still be banging their heads against that cabinet full of unpublished manuscripts if not for their life-saving editor. As a matter of fact, I can guarantee you that, should the editor of my last three books see this post, he would send it back to me covered in annoying red corrections. (I love and hate him for that.) And, just to drive my point home, the person I hired was guilty of several crimes against apostrophes on his resume. I can’t believe I did that, but everything else about him was so spot-on, I gave him the benefit of the doubt — and the job.
Still, the hacking and sacking of the English language remains one of my pet peeves. Texting and shortcutting our way through communication only exacerbates the problem, but I fear it may become the new normal, if it hasn’t already. So, in the interest of being au courant I’ve decided to join ’em.
See, I’m thinkin that we lose mosta the war’s we fight anyways: Vietnam, and opposition 2 da one in Iraq; the war against the merging of politiks with entertainment, advertising with editorial, church with state; the battle against planned crassness, and the blatant use of sex to sell everything, from television shows and movies to opinion’s and undergarment’s. Check out this Xcellent Xample (my photo will never convey how giant and in-your-face is this billboard on Sunset Boulevard):
So, I might invest in that T-shirt line. Its bound 2 go down in the anals of history as testamint 2 a time when people still cared about da way we rote.