A Curmudgeon’s Guide to Internet Irritants

Growing up, I had a very rigid attitude toward the English language. Those rules were set in stone for me, nonsensical or not. It wasn’t until I went to university and encountered the full edition of the Oxford English Dictionary that I began to soften my stance. That is to say, I concede that the battle for all right has been lost to alright.

Now, I try to follow Stephen Fry in the matter:

I try. However, the curmudgeon in me comes out quite often when I’m surfing the blogosphere. And it seems I’m not the only one. I’ve discovered that there are a number of clever graphics that try to correct some of the most common errors:

Peek, peak, and pique – it’s sneak peek. Yes, it is.

Loose and lose – if I were to loose my patience, I’d be a better person.

Affect and effect – okay, I admit that this can be a difficult one.

Renowned and renown – not reknown, unless you’re trying to coin a word for reacquainting yourself with something or someone. Which you can totally do, I’m not trying to stop you.

Whether and weather – you will be required to recite this poem upon our next meeting. And yes, I am fun at parties.

If I could draw, I’d make one for wary and weary, too. In the meantime, look it up. Just look it up. Please.

And I’ll keep trying to look away.

My latest internet irritant is those images that float around the internet, with quotations dubiously attributed to famous authors. I ran across this article today, which skewers the problem nicely. It irks me to no end to see a self-help affirmation attributed to an author who didn’t write in that cadence or whose work contradicts the sentiment.

So the next time you see one of those pretty pictures, adorned with a delicate font, make me a promise that you’ll run it by Quote Investigator before you allow yourself to be entirely seduced.

What drives you batty when it shows up on your screen?


6 thoughts on “A Curmudgeon’s Guide to Internet Irritants

  1. We are cut from the same cloth, my friend. YES to all of these.

    Can we talk about its/ it’s? SO many times (and I probably do it as well unwittingly sometimes – I know my iPhone will always correct its to it’s) I see that mistake made.

    The whole possessive apostrophe “s” is clearly a misunderstood little soul too.

    Also, “addicting” vs “addictive”. Even though they are apparently interchangeable [http://grammarist.com/usage/addicting-addictive/], where did “addicting” even come from? Never heard it until I started reading food blogs!

    I’m far from perfect myself I know….

    1. Apostrophe errors are so entrenched now – it’s maddening that autocorrect reinforces them. And addicting sounds strange, I agree. I’m not perfect either, but I think we become better when we think about communicating well and which errors interfere with sense or quality.

    1. Of course. This post was written with tongue firmly in cheek. I was hoping it would be as much fun to read as it was to write.

      Also, there are shifts in how people are using words that seem to come from certain misuses of words that have become ubiquitous across the internet. I think that’s worth discussion.

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