Make it permanent, make it right!

OK, I’ve already made clear how I feel about proper grammar and punctuation. I read and write book reviews and run a book-review website, and I work as a copy editor. I suppose I became a copy editor because I have always been so precise and persnickety about the proper use of punctuation and grammar. Then editing for a living has just cemented my punctiliousness and dedication to our lovely language and how it’s expressed, especially in writing.

So it is not an exaggeration to say it PAINS ME to see our language atrociously abused and misused. What gets my goat in our wired day and age is people’s inability to get even the most basic concepts correct when they communicate electronically. OK, I admit I’m forgiving when an iPhone or similar device is being used; they are notorious at messing up a comment or word that was written correctly in the first place. And quick emails or texts are forgivable as well. What I just cannot understand is when someone takes the time to craft a fun meme or e-card or something else “permanent” that is intended to be passed around the Web for public consumption. Is it not possible to make sure that “you’re” or “your” is used properly, or that a comma is put in the right place? One of the worst mistakes I’ve seen in indelible use is the poor, innocent apostrophe. It exists to do good. But it’s employed so wickedly wrongly. Outside of the Internet, I see it most often misused in those carved wooden signs outside people’s front doors: welcome, the signs say, to “the Smith’s”. (*Silent scream*) I’ve always said if I were to commission one of those signs, I would send it back to the artist for redo were that apostrophe so nefariously inserted into that simple plural of my last name.

Glancing on Pinterest this very morning, I saw a lovely graphic that proudly proclaims “Seven days of camping recipe’s!” There’s that naughty use of the poor apostrophe right at the top of my page. Further down is an inspiring saying that throws in a hapless comma: “You are always responsible for how you act, no matter how you feel. Remember, that.” (Remember, not, to, use, commas, needlessly!!!) And one simple green e-card is generous enough to illustrate my point about spelling by containing not one but TWO mistakes: “What I love most about our friendship is that it’s based soley on innapropriate conversations that no sane person should have. Ever.” Solely. Inappropriate.

I mean, really, folks. If you’re going to craft a cute meme or card, please use spell check before you hit “save” and ask a friend about your punctuation. Simple as that. I may enjoy your meme but simply WILL NOT re-pin or share it if it has mistakes. Simple as THAT.

And here is my own little meme. Share as you will.

Author: Cathy Carmode Lim

I'm a copy editor, writer, and book reviewer with three decades of experience. My book review website is I'm a mom of four and grandma of three.

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