Wednesday, February 23, 2011

wrong wrong wrong

in a fit of procrastination, i decided to read through the submissions to a secret valentine short story competition instead of looking for a project idea. yeah, don't ask. can i just say though, that some of those were downright painful to read. i'm all for encouraging people to write, and i think it's great that so many people fancy themselves to be writers, really. but oh my god, there were quite a few times that i literally cringed, and it wasn't just because of the hackneyed plots i was reading through. (because, really, how creative can i expect the entries for a valentine's day contest targeted at middle and high schoolers to be?)

you would think that going through at least six years of school would have taught people the difference between "worse" and "worst" but no. there were several different entries by completely different people who didn't know when to use which. i saw someone repeatedly write "miss read" instead of "misread." there were two different people who thought that "it's" could be used instead of "is." one girl (at least, i think she was a girl) constantly had her characters snickering off instead of running off or skipping off or walking off, or even flying off would have worked better. all of her characters' hearts were also skittering every time they turned around. it was kind of annoying. another person used the word "kinda" way too many times. i can understand you using it in dialog sometimes, but it is not a real word and should not be used in narration. a lot of the entrants were using "big" words for the sake of using big words, meanings be damned. if it had more than two syllables it was going into the story whether it fit or not. and of course, no one felt the need to learn the difference between "its" and "it's" before sitting down to write.

by no means do i consider myself an expert at the english language, but oh. my. god. this is basic stuff, people. let's try not to butcher the language too much okay? i have never once wished to see people misusing your/you're and they're/their/there, but i would have gladly read through a hundred of those mistakes than have to suffer through the ones that i saw. (to be fair, there were a couple pretty good ones that i came across, too, but those were few and far between.)

yes, i realize that i sound pedantic. no, i don't really care. there are very few times that i condone stupidity. this is not one of them.

random side note: after writing "wrong" four times in a row for the title, i have just realized how wrong it looks. i dunno why, but it just looks weird.

*Wrong - Depeche Mode


  1. In casual writing, grammar hours out the window for me. But in property narrative, like what you're describing, good english should be used. This ready is stuff you should be learning in primary school.... Stuff everyone should know.... Aaaaargh

  2. Btw... Three wrongs would have looked better

  3. yeah some basic grammar rules don't exist for me in casual writing (like using capital letters for instance), but the choices of words people were using were ridiculous. there are very few instances where it's okay to completely ignore the meaning of the word and make it mean what you want it to, and not many people can get away with it. none of the writers for the contest could. i mean, yeah it's great that they're trying, but it was just really painful.

  4. oh, and i took out one of the wrongs from the title. :)

  5. anonymous hippopotamusFebruary 26, 2011 at 6:27 AM

    how on earth can you mistake worse for worst? I sat here trying it in my head...and I just can't see how its possible.


  6. yeah, it was bad. and it wasn't just one person getting confused. there were a lot of people. here are some random examples from the stories:

    Then lunch came, and things got... worst.

    The worse part is he knows.

  7. Ouch... But they are so obviously wrong. They sound wrong

  8. anonymous hippopotamusFebruary 27, 2011 at 3:17 AM

    lool the worse part doesn't sound too wrong...but the first one....there is no way you can think that even remotely sounds right... :S

  9. right?? i dunno i just figured that if you were submitting stories to a short story contest set up by an author, you must read at least a little. and when you read, you kinda pick up things like this even if for some reason you were never taught it in school and you have no concept of what sounds right. so while i might have let this slide on another day, no.