Contrary to what your Facebook friends believe…there is such a thing as grammar.

Facebook status update

Well, apparently it’s not correct grammar.

I am a Facebook user, as I think the majority of Western civilisation is also. I have 301 ‘Facebook friends’, a list comprised of my family, friends, students who attend my former high school, past drama coaches, peers and colleagues. At least half of these people fall into the 17 to 19 age bracket with the rest ranging from ages 13 to 30. Included in the 301 are high school students, university students, university graduates, artists, sportsmen, academics, bilingual travellers, waitresses, tradesmen and socialites. Most are Australian, some are French, a couple are British and one is American. Yes, my Facebook friends are quite a diverse group. However, there is an attribute that 99% of the people in this group have in common and I’m not referring to their sharing the privilege of knowing me.

Grammar. Spelling. Punctuation. Or, more to the point, a gross lack thereof.

I understand that Facebook’s primary purpose is to unite friends with a web platform on which to share photos, ideas, experiences and memories. (That little description makes Facebook sound quite wonderful, doesn’t it?) I therefore also understand that perfect grammar and spelling are not priorities (or even features, sadly) but the brutal truth is that the majority of statuses and comments that appear on my newsfeed paint their authors in shades of uneducated, ignorant and lazy.

For example and without exaggeration, here are a few statuses that appear on my newsfeed at this very moment:

had a wonderful dinner at the downs hotel thank you to my wonderful boyfriend dan love you lots

Firstly, there is not a single punctuation mark or capital letter in spite of there being three different sentences and a proper noun. Secondly, without these incremental facets of the English language, the status is actual nonsense and, for me, required a second read-through in order to deduce its meaning. Another example:

So someone put in my mailbox a valentines card, spelt my name wrong… Told me im gorgeous and said come and find me…. Most lovely thing I’ve got

There are so many things wrong with this series of disturbingly fractured sentences, I think I might actually cry. (Kidding! Sort of…) I understand the need to sacrifice textbook grammar for narrative effect but there is absolutely no excuse to disrespect the conventions of good writing for the sake of…of…of what, exactly is this person sacrificing the basic rules of writing for? It really doesn’t take that much longer to construct a good sentence and maybe even (this may be too much to ask) venture beyond the standard, boring Facebook vocabulary.

If it were me, I would spend a millisecond longer writing my status to ensure maximum impact and a wonderfully entertaining status for me friends. I don’t, after all, want to blend in with the mind-numbing, soul-destroying ‘like for a like’ crowd. I would write:

So, after casually strolling to my mailbox with the expectation that I’d find a wad of bills and catalogues, I was flabbergasted to find what resembled a Valentine’s Day card. While at first, my heart skipped a beat, this excitement soon gave way to confusion upon finding my name spelt wrong, a proclamation that I’m ‘gorgeous’ and a request for me to find the sender. However, this little specimen of romance is the loveliest thing I’ve ever received!

I don’t know about you, but I would far rather read a miniature narrative of this sort than another poorly written, ill-expressed jumble of words. Admittedly, I would never bother to write such a paragraph (despite just having done so) for the sake of updating my Facebook page and, I must confess, I have never actually posted a status of this length or calibre but I think you gather my gist, yes? Good grammar is sexy, sounds better, reads better, is one thousand times more entertaining and is illustrative of intelligence.

A found a picture a few days ago that lists exactly the ten rules of grammar that I see most often flouted:

Grammar Peeves

If one more person writes anything resembling: “your pretty” or “i went to there house”, I might actually explode.

What are your grammar peeves?

5 thoughts on “Contrary to what your Facebook friends believe…there is such a thing as grammar.

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