People, Try Harder: grammar edition

  There  is little debate about how today’s tweets are lacking in  their  grammar department. In other words,  they’re  disappointing. | PC: Zach Morrison

There is little debate about how today’s tweets are lacking in their grammar department. In other words, they’re disappointing. | PC: Zach Morrison

We’ve talked to guys about fashion and girls about finances. Now it’s time for the next article in the “Try Harder” series and we’re looking at both genders today. We all need to try harder with … grammar!

When asked about the grammatical failings of the millennial generation, sophomore Dylan Parsons thought for a moment and ironically responded, “Aight bet.” This, unfortunately, sums up exactly what this article is attempting to address: lack of common grammar etiquette.
It’s been a long-standing fear of the academic world that texting and social media is ruining language. With acronyms and slang, emojis and gifs, people are utilizing an entirely new dialect to communicate. There are entire sites, like Urban Dictionary, dedicated to explaining away the fresh hip term of the day.

Some of the decline in correctness is due to limited space. “Twitter is just really bad for grammar overall,” says Cameron Cizek, a sophomore web development student. “You have 140 characters and you sacrifice either grammar or correct spelling of the word to get your thought across.”

A recent episode of "New Girl" demonstrated the difficulty people have today when it comes to getting words right. During a conversation with one of her students, Jess, the main character, recognized her roommate Nick’s influence on the student due to their word choice. Who else says ‘upmost’ but Nick Miller, Jess realized. Nick’s rationalization? “What’s an ‘ut’? That’s not a thing!”

It’s not just that we can’t recognize accurate wording and grammar. It might be simpler than that. “Maybe people are too lazy,” says Aria Bodden, a senior business administration student. “People rely on spell check too much. I use it too! But that doesn’t mean we have to be bad at language.”

Grammar holes are much more commonplace than we realize and when we recognize our faults, it can be eye opening and frustrating. “I’m one of the few people who finds current jargon to be annoying,” continues Cizek. “For example, ‘tite’ as something cool. But ‘cool’ isn’t technically grammatically correct either.”

Professionally, vocabulary and word choice of millennials can have a negative effect. Last summer, I was an intern at Adventist Health System and during my intern evaluation, my preceptor mentioned my vernacular. “It wasn’t an issue for me,” she said, “but depending on who you work with in the future, it could detract from your professional appearance and capabilities.”

Word choice in conversation is something of a security blanket. Some use slang because it’s what’s natural, what their peers say, how they most feel genuine. Others use texting acronyms in speaking conversation, which has mixed reviews. “People say ‘LOL’ in real life and that’s annoying,” Bodden shares. “Or people actually say ‘IRL’ and that’s just weird.”

Despite all this, there’s no excuse for mistakes on printed materials (unless of course, they’re ironic and intentional; even then, exercise moderation). Last semester there was a poster promoting an event that would discuss relationship advice. It read: “Relashinship Advice. It promises to be a broder topic then you think.”

We’re in college, people! We’re young adults! We’ve had decades of schooling and years of English classes. If we expect to reach the stars, be all we can be and all the other cheesy aspirations, we need to be able to differentiate between then and than. I believe in us, Union College. Let’s grammar right. #lol #jk


Katie Morrison is a senior studying business administration.