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Correcting Your Behavior Since 2017

Our Declining Language (part 34 in an endless series)

Since premiering The Weekly Curmudgeon in January of 2017, I've put together thirty-four of these shaming photo essays. I expect they'll only continue, ad nauseam, thereby fulfilling the parenthetical subtitle of this series. But why does it matter? What's the difference whether printed materials display properly assembled written language? Several answers come to mind: First, putting language into publicly viewed print presumes a level of authority. That means that printed errors in spelling, punctuation, and usage aren't harmless. Those who read them may believe them to be correct and repeat them in their own writing. Thus, the errors self-perpetuate. Secondly, disregard for correctness is a life choice. If one doesn't care about proper linguistic habits, that approach won't stop at language; it can easily extend to laws, shared protocols, even basic human decency. And thirdly, printed errors erode the commonality of our tools of communication. And I'd say we have more than enough challenges in that area. Would you not agree?

I'm not familiar with the expression, "do not feed the," but apparently the author of this sign felt it called for quotation marks. Regardless, I'm still wondering: I shouldn't feed the seagull's what? Friends? Family? Ego?


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