a persistent fantasy

One of my fantasies is that I have endowed the younger generation with an innate sense of what was once called Good English. I fondly imagine that when they write, their sentences have verbs; that these verbs agree, kindly and harmoniously, with their subjects; that they never say "clearly" more than once a month, irony excepted; that they are not fooled by homonyms; that the wayward apostrophe holds no challenge for them... I cherish the illusion that though I have no riches to leave them, their clear and concise grasp of the Language of Repeated Conquests and Immigrant Dreams, once  known as the Language of Shakespeare but I like my term better, is a heritage for which they and the generations yet to come will thank me.
On the other hand maybe they'll just let iPad do the thinking. The possessive its will vanish from their writing, as it appears to be fading from mine, thanks to the obsessive-compulsive workings of the Demon Autocorrect. There may be hope, though, because I still care, even though there are days when the DA wins. I shall go down with sword in hand, if not pen..


  1. I have run into issues at work where people deem my emails to be "rude" or "cold" because in the workplace because I compose emails at work like letters. I do not use smiley faces, write the phrase LOL or send an email only writing in the subject line.
    After one such debacle, my boss said she explained to the offended that I write "formal" emails and that I meant no offense.
    I was dumbstruck that in the workplace being proper could be considered, well, improper.

  2. Eleanor, my dear, your voice is welcome to cry out in the wilderness of this blog whenever you wish to.

  3. Auto correct. I still recall when adding an -ing or -ed to a word required that the consonants be doubled. Worshipping is apparently now worshiping, travelling, now traveling. I used to proofread friend's papers for fun. Now, I am hesitant to publish my own e-mails.

  4. I think that of all the problems I have with auto-correct, the most irritating is its persistence. I backspace, take out the offending character, move on, oops! backspace, repeat, move on... finally get it to say what I want it to say, hit "send" or "publish" -- and cringe.

  5. Because I write patterns, so many of the my drafts include abbreviations. I spend as much time re-correcting auto corrections and telling green and red lines, as I do typing! The worst is when auto format starts gobbling up my words, which is what happens when I accidentally make a line break error.

    1. The grown-up document that works in auto-format, whether pattern, memorandum of law, recipe or agenda, simply does not exist. Auto-format was invented by gamers. To change a level without changing a font, you have to kill Zork.

    2. Knitting patterns must be very tough to do with autocorrect. What comes out when you want to write " SSK"?

    3. Oh WFF, I did not know that you held the keys to the kingdom. I am so relieved. Now I just have to put my son to work!
      Lane, I am so bleary eyed after all of the red line removal- for ssk skp, p1, k2togtbl,that I have lost track of all of the crazy permutations!

  6. I fear digital literacy has arrived at the expense of basic English skills.

  7. Your fear is entirely justified, GetFresh.

  8. I am sure you must leave some of the young with better skills than they previously possessed. My daughter had the best English and creative writing at Barnard. Her favorite teachers live in her head still. (Although you may not be a teacher).

  9. nope, I ain't.
    but I was blessed with wonderful teachers through high school, and so when I again came in contact with the teachers of the Younger Generation, many of whom were functionally illiterate, or just plain hated teaching, kids, women, minorities.... it probably won't surprise you to learn that I stepped up.
    In workplace situations, I've always insisted on clarity and simplicity of expression.

    Me: OK, tell me what this sentence means.
    Expensive Young Talent: what it says.
    Me: I still don't see what you're trying to say.
    EYT: I went to Harvard.
    Me: Um, that isn't what the client wants to know. And I already knew it.
    EYT: You did? How?
    Me: It's implicit in your writing style.

  10. Replies
    1. Tiffany rose-- the mother country has done this?

    2. Perfidious Albion!

      Loving the idea of Apostrophe Vigilantes!


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