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Irregardless of its convenience, the Internet promotes the Worst. Writing. Ever.

Gene Weingarten discusses HERE the widespread assertion that the Internet has ushered in an age of bad writing.

An excerpt:

Before the Internet, obfuscatory language was mostly limited to the small world of the interoffice memo, where everyone conspired to be as vague and process-driven as possible — promising nothing concrete while sounding businesslike. Today, however, terms such as “optimize,” “prioritize,” “initiative,” “parameter,” “implement” and “effectuate” have become common parlance on the Web, used unabashedly in endlessly intriguing combinations. There are hundreds of instances of “prioritize the implementation of,” “implement the prioritization of,” “effectuate the implementation of,” etc. The expression “implementation of prioritized initiatives” alone appears on the Internet 2,100 times, more often than some of Pablo Neruda’s lesser-known love poems.

This brave new world, however, is not without its own poet laureates, such as Joseph Bitran, a New Jersey businessman who informs us online that he helps his clients “assess, optimize, prioritize and implement strategic initiatives.” He goes on to say his experience also spans “conceptual design of enterprise models, as well as strategic projects and initiatives for both profit and non-profit enterprises, including the assessment, optimization and prioritization of governmental job creation and enterprise development initiatives and policy options.” After a half-hour on his Web site, I became reasonably certain that Mr. Bitran’s work has something to do with computers.

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15 Comments

  1. The Comedian

    Nice ironic title.

  2. Even self proclaimed grammar “experts” sometime stumble.
    Pat wrote;
    “Media on the left do a better job exposing Obama’s sins that do media on the right”

  3. OK, Wilson, I’ll play your game. Exactly what do you find wrong in the headline you’ve cited?

  4. Well you corrected it, so you tell me.

  5. Wilson: Wait a minute!

    In your comment, you quoted this headline: “Media on the left do a better job exposing Obama’s sins that do media on the right.” You represented that headline as a “stumble.”

    How is it a stumble?

  6. The Comedian

    Yes, Wilson. Obviously when comparing two things using “that” is generally considered, by the blogging elite, proper grammar. For example: President Obama has done a much better job handling the economy and unemployment that has President Bush. Get it now?

  7. UPDATE: Now I get it, Wilson. The original headline on the post at issue had a typographical error. It had the word “that” where it should have said “than.” And yes, I did correct it.

    But it was never a grammar error. Nobody would intentionally employ such a misusage. It was simply a typo that I didn’t notice at first.

  8. To be honest with you, Wilson, I thought you were going to pick on my use of “media” as a plural.

    It’s an old pet peeve of mine that so many people use “media” as a singular (as in “the media is…such and such”). That only promotes the mistaken notion that the media are a monolith. They ain’t.

  9. The Comedian

    In college when you submit an essay with “typographic” errors, they are counted as grammatical errors. For many students they quickly add up and result in a grade or two lower than they would have otherwise received. IRREGARDLESS of a mistake stemming from accident or plain ignorance of proper grammar, it’s still a slip. It happens to everyone. But obviously it’s much more entertaining when it comes from someone who is so persnickety regarding proper grammar and sentence construction.

  10. Comedian: Yeah, but I ain’t got one of them college educations. If you added up all my college credits, I might qualify as a second-semester freshman.

    I still would argue that the typo at issue here does not meet the test of a grammar error. There is simply no way that the offending word could be considered grammatically logical, even by a semi-literate person. Clearly, it was just a matter of sloppy typing. I would readily admit it if it weren’t.

    Moreover, despite my self-proclaimed credentials as a member of the grammar police, I don’t deny having made many, many grammar errors in the more than 9,700 posts I’ve published here over the past five years.

  11. The Comedian

    It sounds like these errors haunt you. Perhaps they’ve cast a pall upon you? And the only way to lift the dread of your own inadequacy is to fabricate it in others. That’s a real downer. Now I’m sad.

  12. Pat the n and t are close together so I believe it was a typo, we all do “fat finger” now and then.
    I therefore apologize.

  13. Most internet users couldn’t write a letter in cursive to their Mother.

  14. Rockford Resident

    Is irregarless a word? Isn’t the proper word regardless.

  15. Rockford Resident: The word “irregardless” in the headline above is used in an ironic sense, because this post is about bad writing. It’s also used in the article to which I’ve linked in the first paragraph.

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