So I’ve always been a massive sucker for good spelling and grammar. One of the things that I’ve always prided myself on is good spelling and grammar. I mean, despite the fact that I’m studying it at degree level, I do still make lots of mistakes, misuse words, make up some of my own, and probably have some pretty haphazard punctuation going on a lot of the time… Let’s be fair, English can be pretty tough. And it’s the realisation that English can be pretty tough that made me lay off my grammar nazism quite a while ago.
However, I am going on this rant as a reaction to someone misusing ‘loose’ on a Facebook status. She wrote, and I quote, ‘loosing a memory stick…’ And this is a university student. I don’t really care if you use the wrong your, to or there. I can see the potential for difficulty there. But the constant misusage of lose and loose really does need to be addressed, and addressed pretty sharpish before I go completely insane. I just… I really just don’t get this one.
When I was in secondary school I always used to call my friends out on their misusage of your, to or there, and correct their spellings. I was annoying. Every time I did it I’d get a death stare as if to say ‘yeah whatever, piss off, I’m not stupid’. Yet they’d still get it wrong every time – and they’re still getting it wrong to this very day. So I sort of just gave up and allowed them to sound like idiots in my head every time I’d read one of their messages or statuses.
To me, if you write a sentence like this: ‘I prefer blonde woman’, I WILL read it as woman and you WILL sound like a complete halfwit or caveman inside my head. I can’t help that. And I can’t help that I die a little inside every time I see an ‘I love you to’ or a ‘your stupid’… That’s just the way my brain works.
I’ve never corrected someone to show off and be like ‘ooh look how stupid you are’ – I’ve always tried to help them. I’ve always had a love for English, and I realise that not everyone cares about it in the same way that I do, that some people are pretty lazy when it comes to actually thinking about what they’re writing, and that others just can’t get it no matter how hard they try. I understand that. The most difficult thing is, though, that most people will get really touchy when they reach a certain age and you’re still correcting them on their grammar, which is perhaps fair enough (nobody likes a smart arse), but if we don’t then how are they going to learn?
I think it’s a pretty sorry state of affairs to see that, in this country, there is a distinct lack of good spelling and grammar. There are so many people out there, to whom English is a second language, that read and write it much more fluently than many natives. I’m not sure why that is. Could it be down to bad teaching? Possibly. I do know that a lot of the things I’ve learnt about grammar through the years are developed from my own reading, not from being particularly well-taught in school.
In many ways, I have become somewhat desensitised to grammar mistakes now. They’re so common that there’s usually no point in arguing with someone who’s not going to listen to you, and will continue to make the same mistakes over and over again. I do still get the urge to correct things occasionally, but I very rarely do.
However, despite my desensitisation, the loose vs. lose debacle really does rub me up the wrong way and make my hair stand on end out of pure frustration. It’s a mistake that literally (by which I mean figuratively) everyone seems to make and I don’t understand why. I see so many of my friends getting it wrong, teachers, journalists, university students…
Now, fair enough: to, too, and two are homophones so they sound exactly the same. To me, when I look at them, they all mean completely different things and I would have to be either very sleepy or very drunk to use the wrong one – but I can understand completely why people might, and do, on a daily basis. But LOSE and LOOSE?! are not only completely different words, they sound completely different too. LOSE means to lose something: a purse, your phone, some keys, you name it. And LOOSE does not work as a verb as far as I’m aware; it’s an adjective/adverb. The button on my coat is LOOSE. I’ve lost so much weight that my jeans are LOOSE. If you wanted to use it as a verb, that verb would be LOOSEN – which obviously has a completely different meaning to LOSE.
The amount of times I have to read things like ‘why am I always loosing things?’ or ‘I always loose my phone’ just really isn’t fair… I see ‘loose’ stand in for ‘lose’ so much now that I’m even beginning to question my own understanding of the two words. Maybe I’m the one getting it wrong after all..?