• Carmen Marie Fabio

True to type

A recent story concerning the closure of Hudson's Sandy Beach on The Journal's Facebook page following a dog attack elicited almost 20,000 responses. Most were civil, some were angry, a number of people got into sparring matches that included hurling insults and invective over failure to pick up dog poo but the trend most often repeated, that I noticed anyway, was the spelling errors.

“Mom, I don't think that really matters,” observed my son, saying the issue being discussed was more important than its medium.

I'm an editor, I can't help it.

In the same way my firefighter brother points out any fire code infractions in my home and my husband the builder will notice construction flaws anywhere he goes, I can't help but point out typos... otherwise I somehow feel like I'm not doing my job.

I find that it's sometimes not appreciated though by those to whom I raise the issue. Huh.

Over the last few months, hubby's Costco list consistently contained the word 'tomatos' and I imagine he tired of seeing it corrected with the proper 'e' tucked in where it was supposed to be because the ensuing 'Costcoe' list included items like 'breade,' 'peanute buttere' and 'bacone.'

During the 2012 Maple Spring student uprising over the planned increase in university tuition fees, I stumbled upon the following social media posting...

“These spoiled bratts shud pay 4 ttimes the amounts now after all the disruptions they've caused!!or maybee theey shud stop being att the bars eevery single weeekeend and galavantings!! (sic).

Yup, education is sorely overrated.

The grammatical errors that snaked their way through the Sandy Beach story Facebook comments not only lacked proper letter cases, punctuation and sentence structure, but contained a number of homophones.

Example – I was told I should have 'reframed' from using the term pit bull type in the story while someone else said dogs should not be 'aloud' at the beach at all.

Or, one of my personal favourite comments was, “Yes there your not read the sign or u just cant read they didn’t teach how to read in school.”

That's not all they didn't teach apparently.

A little light was shed on the topic when my publisher informed me that many people now use voice to text instead of simply typing their comments on Facebook feeds, old-school style.

I had no idea that was even an option and if the technology is obviously not working as it should, why would anyone even use it?

For over two decades, universities have required graduating students in faculties other than Arts & Literature to complete an English Writing Test after companies that hired graduates in professional fields, including science and engineering, found their new employees were incapable of composing simple communicative memos and emails.

The current talk to text option does not weed out bad grammar and hostile expressions – but it's quite adept at capturing and conveying the raw emotion of hostility we would rarely display to one another in a face-to-face situation.

If the so very angry members of society are too lazy to bother properly typing out a one or two-sentence comment on a Facebook feed, is it really such a stretch to grasp that they're also too lazy to take responsibility for their dogs' behaviour?

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