Unhappy, but true. Just about everywhere you look online, the English language is struggling a fate worse than demise. The problem, in reality, is so widespread that it has begun to affect all facets of the language. “But, what on Earth does this have to do with Internet marketing? ” you may be asking. Well, my many other netpreneur… Everything!
It has everything related to Internet marketing if you wish to portray yourself, and be perceived as, a Marketing Professional on the internet. Just remember, professionally speaking, Image is Everything. On the other hand, if you’re not especially interested in putting your ‘best feet forward’ when marketing your products or services, and I really hope this is not the situation, then none of this applies to you.
Obviously, we don’t have time here to do an in-depth study of the numerous instances of, what I would term, “casual disdain” I’ve witnessed online. Therefore , in order to illustrate my point, I’ll concentrate on a small, but vital element of the English language: the harmless, harmless apostrophe.
Allow me to try to paint a picture for you. A long, long, time ago, around the time of the De Soto, the Corvair, bellbottoms, the particular VW “bug” (ring a bell? ), and before beatniks became known as hippies, you could look at advertising campaign copy and expect, to some degree, that it had been reviewed and, presumably, corrected.
In other words, it was safe for women, children, and other life forms to view this, and read its content with out suffering any permanent, debilitating emotional damage, such as a hard to diagnose presentation impediment, or maybe an involuntary anxious twitch across one cheek.
What I see most of us doing now, on the dawn of the 21st Century, is that we all read ad copy, and then, because it’s in bold letters on carefully selected background, surrounded by pretty pictures, we accept its message as Gospel truth. We all get so bowled over by the “look” of it, that we forget to analyze it critically enough.
Talk about your viral strategy, indeed…
Today, within the age of the cell phone, the Lexus, Viagra, the twenty five cent telephone call, and a PC “in every barn, ” wherever I look, I see the poor apostrophe maligned and misused. It gets no respect, either offline on signs, billboards, and late-night Infomercials, or (shudder) on-line in cyber country, on that will very personal and intimate expression of its owner’s taste and personality: an individual’s web site.
Since I spend a lot time online, much more, I think, than I spend on the real pavement in our world, I notice the glaring mistreatment heaped upon our poor small fellow- the apostrophe-by careless website owners, even more. The main thing I notice would be that the apostrophe’s originally intended use is usually slowly eroding; people are just creating their own versions of what its purpose really is.
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This is a prime sort of what I mean by “casual disdain. inch
It’s been reported in ‘The Actually Up Yonder Gazette’, an influential publication dedicated to digging up gossip concerning the well known dearly departed, that both William Shakespeare and John Milton have thrown up their arms in despair, and are contemplating switching their backs for good on something that some would consider their own creation: our English language.
As a matter of fact, inside a recent exclusive interview, “Willie boy” himself bemoans the effect all of this has on his favorite language, as follows:
“Oh, perfidy that has befallen our instrument of expression, by us once nearly refined. Oh, treachery flung upon us by the masses shamelessly disdainful of reading and writing, of independent thought evidently unable! ”
Frankly, I firmly believe that this unwarranted offense had been perpetrated by one of the first guys, otherwise the very first, who threw up that will first Web site selling, say, floppy disks with instructions on how to expand the mileage on single-ply bathing room tissue by rewashing it, cautiously drying it with your wife’s tresses dryer (when she’d gone out of the house, natch), and then gingerly covering this with a special jelly for sofness. You know, just your average 3-Step Recycling Process used mainly within Third World countries like Wyoming, for instance…
For the purposes of this little tale, let’s call this first online marketer, Butcher D. Grammer.
Well, this particular confounded fellow started something which has turned into a movement, or a new language convention. Grocer decided that the little fellow, my friend the apostrophe, should not be used according to any rules or previous language conventions; heck no, the little fellow would, according to our Bathroom Recycle Consultant, be used any ol’time.
He would use it, and so would the public who were yet to come, but who would follow suit, and our Grocer knew this well, to interchangeably indicate either the possessive or the plural forms in any sentence.
So , a sentence such as, “The vendor does not guarantee its potential income, ” became: “The seller does not guarantee it’s potential profit. ”
Here he turned the possessive form of “its” into the abbreviated, or maybe the contraction form of, it is. So , if you were to read the second sentence, getting rid of the contraction, the last part might read: “does not guarantee it is potential. ”
But , our small Butcher, a thorough and disciplined craftsman, was not through yet. After all, there was clearly even more damage he could inflict on American English; and, leeringly, he or she mused, rubbing his hands collectively, “They’ll follow me blindly anywhere. ”
Next, he turned his attention to the plural form of simple words. Just about any word ending within “s, ” indicating that there was more than one object of whatever unit was being counted or measured, he turned into, you guessed it, the possessive form.
Words or terms for example, buyers, software tools, ingrown toe nails, battering ramps, fools, attractive girls, dumb-as-can-be-guys, and many, many others, became: potential buyer’s, software tool’s, ingrown toe nail’s, battering ramp’s, fool’s, attractive ladies, dumb-as-can-be-guy’s.
As hard to believe as it may seem, Butcher reign of fear is still not only alive and well, but from what I’m going to teach you, it’s expanding frighteningly. Please take a look at the following three additional examples, and cringe in terror:
1 . If your serious, just sign up from the link below.
2 . Just click here, and your done.
3. Simply load email address’s into your auto-responder.
Obviously, in the 1st two sentences, Butcher and his fans have cleverly used the second-person possessive pronoun “your” as a substitute for the shortened “you’re. ” Their thinking becoming, “The heck with that comma-like factor which is supposed to go on top. Nobody will even miss it. And, we can get away with chopping off the last “e”, also. ” (So, once again, the apostrophe gets the shaft).
In relation to the third sentence shown above, to be honest, I have no comment; I would not even know where to begin defining or deciphering it… I’m afraid to check out it. It’s just a stroke of genius from the hand of our leading man, Butcher, who must have found the inspiration for this little morcel throughout a wrenching psychotic episode.
Now, We don’t know how other people feel about the sinister, pervasive, and, yes, viral damage caused by this one crazy man, but I, for one, hope he has gone to his final resting location. Let him drive them crazy over there if (God forbid) this individual finds himself near a typewriter; as it is, Butcher’s handiwork makes me personally go nuts practically every day within cyber space.
If only we could return to that time in the past, 1962 comes readily to mind for one reason or another, whenever spelling and a little attention to sentence structure counted for something.
But , as they say, in Bolivia, “Dude, t’ain’t no use complainin’, ‘dem ‘dere day’s is long gone. ”
Copyright 2005 Jorge M Vega
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