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This is a question School Days

"The best years of our lives," somebody lied. Tell us the funniest thing that ever happened at school.

(, Thu 29 Jan 2009, 12:19)
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Tragic irony…
Has anybody noticed, that as we trawl through the posts about our school experiences, one constant becomes evermore painfully apparent?

The younger the B3tards, the lower the standard of grammar and punctuation?

We can argue until we’re blue in the mouth about the dropping standards of teaching, but nothing hammers the message home harder than a solid lump of text, peppered with ‘txt spk’, awful spelling and a total disregard for the proper usage of ‘There’, ‘They’re’, and ‘Their’.

I know I’m not perfect…’people in glass houses’ and all that…Still…

I weep for the future.
(, Wed 4 Feb 2009, 8:55, 60 replies)
Lol!!! Etc etc etc....


The youth of today are fucked... (and if the youth of today happen to be sixteen year old Catholic schoolgirls, I'd like to put myself forward to do the fucking).
(, Wed 4 Feb 2009, 9:06, closed)
i dont fink dat grammer an spellin r inportent at all lol

Oh, god. I feel dirty even for having written that as a joke.
(, Wed 4 Feb 2009, 9:10, closed)
But surely, you should have written 'God' with a capital letter as it's a proper name :-)
(, Wed 4 Feb 2009, 9:14, closed)
no it isn't

(, Wed 4 Feb 2009, 9:17, closed)
I'm not being denominational. I'm not referring to any particular deity.
(, Wed 4 Feb 2009, 9:37, closed)
Amazing, isn't it?
At the risk of coming over all Daily Mail, how can it be that standards of grammar, spelling, general knowledge etc. etc. are all demonstrably plummeting (it can been within this very site), yet every year exam results get better and better?

*blames asylum seekers*
(, Wed 4 Feb 2009, 9:29, closed)
I come all over
the Daily Mail all the time...

...those photos of David Cameron, well, they're pure sex, they are...
(, Wed 4 Feb 2009, 9:34, closed)
I agree..
My handwriting is completely unreadable, I can't spell or do simple mental calculations.

Yet I have a good job as a computer programmer.

I guess we're all doomed! :D
(, Wed 4 Feb 2009, 9:35, closed)
My handwriting's also lousy
But I'm a scientist. My father's handwriting is even worse, and he's a (far better) scientist.

There is a theory that scientists have messy handwriting as they're struggling to write down the ideas as they come. I suspect the same could apply to computer programmers - and I presume you must be able to type fairly legibly?
(, Wed 4 Feb 2009, 9:56, closed)
I'm a humanities ponce, and I, too, have awful handwriting.

My suspicion is that it's to do with the preponderance of keyboards for serious writing - and the unfashionability of proper pens. And proper education.
(, Wed 4 Feb 2009, 9:58, closed)
^^^I agree with this...^^^

In my experience, shoddy handwriting is the hallmark of a keen mind.

\has handwriting like a spider on LSD that has been dipped in ink and let loose on the page
(, Wed 4 Feb 2009, 10:02, closed)
A perfect example
The puns and painfully bad jokes are racing through your mind so fast that your pen can't keep up with them.
(, Wed 4 Feb 2009, 10:04, closed)
Ooh, actually...

Ever seen that episode of 'The Simpsons' where Homer says: "I'm going to use all the power of my brain", and the camera zooms inside his head...where there is a donkey leaning against a tree wearing a straw hat with flies buzzing round it?

My mind is very much like that...only the donkey is dead.
(, Wed 4 Feb 2009, 10:11, closed)
Bad handwriting = clever
My handwriting is bad, but ledgible, and I am an educated fellow. However my GP's handwriting is unreadable by me, yet he is a qualified practitioner and can dispense all sorts of wonderful medications. Plus anyone who wears a 3 piece pin stripe suit everyday must be repected.

SO, I conclude that the worse your handwriting the brainier you are.

We need look no further than the perfect rounded clear writing of your average teenage bimbo (complete with little hearts on the "i"'s) to illustrate the point that clear handwriting means your brain is working so slowly you have time to focus on HOW you write what you're thinking.
(, Wed 4 Feb 2009, 10:19, closed)
I can only conclude
that your handwriting must be quite "legible" and you are "respected" for it.
(, Thu 5 Feb 2009, 12:04, closed)
the last time I moved house, I was required to fill in a change of address form for council tax.

There was 6 spelling/grammar/typo's error on the form - a single A4 sheet with around 300 words.

AND at the bottom of the sheet of paper was the sentence

"dont 4get u can recve txt updates by xyz...."

on an OFFICIAL form. I died a litle that day.

EDIT; just had to correct my spelling.
LOL (oh bollocks)
(, Wed 4 Feb 2009, 9:46, closed)
keep up!
There were 6 spelling/grammar/typo's....
(, Wed 4 Feb 2009, 10:21, closed)
not to forget
(, Wed 4 Feb 2009, 11:49, closed)
it was bound to happen

(, Wed 4 Feb 2009, 12:35, closed)
I'd like to dispute this claim
Yes, there are some fairly shocking examples, but I should point out that I'm only 23 (for now) and my own posts, bar occasional typographical errors (as you said yourself, no one's perfect), are written beautifully.

*has definitely not gone back to check earlier posts and edit where necessary*

Of course, this does raise one question: am I actually old at 23? I maintain I was born a grumpy, middle-aged man, but to think that my body is now catching up with that persona is a little frightening...
(, Wed 4 Feb 2009, 9:53, closed)
no one or no-one?
(, Wed 4 Feb 2009, 10:11, closed)
Oooh, good question
I think both are acceptable, but I'm prepared to stand corrected if you can produce evidence to the contrary (or if Enzyme says so).
(, Wed 4 Feb 2009, 10:16, closed)
*is flattered*
I go for "noone", which noone except me likes. It's just that, for my part, I dislike hyphens.

EDIT: That is to say - for most people, the hyphenated version is the proper one.
(, Wed 4 Feb 2009, 10:28, closed)
Dare I put my oar in…?

*puts on Nazi uniform made from old copies of Daily Mail*

I also think that as the population over saturates, the class divide will widen ever further.

My kids are not mini-geniuses. They are normal kids, who play and act like twats occasionally. I refuse to take away their childhood in the pursuit of perfect grades. They go to a normal state school. I do not pressurise them into achieving Enzyme levels of brilliance.

All I do is sit with my kids whilst they do their homework, insist that they work hard, speak correctly and learn to read and write to a good standard for their age, rewarding their effort and achievements but not spoiling them.

In a phrase…I put their wellbeing first. Not too revolutionary a thought is it?

Yet for this, they stand head and shoulders above all the other kids in their classes…and I believe know why this is…

Because most of the other parents simply do.not.care.

I see them, chavved up with their godforsaken copies of OK!, still clinging to the hope that they might one day, by some miracle, become a footballers wife or get to shag a fucking celebrity chef. They drag their kids round like either fashion accessories or unwanted burdens.

In a few years these kids will be on B3ta – and I don’t have to try too hard to imagine what the standard of literacy will be like then.

When did things start going backwards? What long-term plan must the governments have in mind for doing this?

Dammit, I’m out of my league here..Where’s PJM when I need him?

*Fires up Captain Scarlet-esque PJM Bat-signal into the air*
(, Wed 4 Feb 2009, 10:00, closed)
*Helps pull the same oar*
I don't have any children of my own (probably for the best), but I did notice, as I was growing up, that the various other parents endured by my own parents had different views on their children's futures.

My own parents, like yourself, encouraged us to do our best, to work hard, to speak properly and above all, to be nice people, but wanted us to be happy wherever we were. My sister and I went quite happily through the state education system. The sperm from which I started had obviously been swimming in a good end of the gene pool, because, at the risk of sounding immodest, I showed a promising ability in science and was looking to do quite well.

The "other parents" spent a lot of time sweating their kids to get into the local grammar school. Yes, we had one of those ghastly "11+" systems. And if their kids didn't pass that test, they looked to the local private schools.

And every time I spoke to these parents, there also seemed to be an undertone to the standard questions of "how's school?" and "so which subjects are you taking for GCSE/A level?"

The undertone was, of course, "how well are you getting on in your state school? Can I justify the extra expenditure of sending my brat to the private school instead?"

In short, I became their state school control model.

How did we get to such a revoltingly elitist state? (Amusingly, I recently found out that one of these parents has been writing occasional columns for the Daily Mail...) I'd like to think that my own parents got their priorities right when raising their progeny.
(, Wed 4 Feb 2009, 10:15, closed)
I think elitism is good. We ought to be encouraging people to aim high. The problem arises when it's impossible, or next to impossible, for kids with a poor choice of parent to break into the elite.

I'd rather have fewer people in university, none of whom has to worry about debt because they get a grant, than more people generating debt - not least because that's a recipe for bright working-class kids to have dropped out after a year while their dumb middle-class flatmates stay on.
(, Wed 4 Feb 2009, 10:35, closed)
Yes and no.
I'd rather have fewer people in university - the loss of the grant system was a great tragedy, and we're at risk of seeing the degree become worthless. I get as annoyed as the next man when I see the proportion of Oxbridge attendees who've just farted their way out of public school and onto a degree course, forsaking some genuine talent whose parents couldn't stump up the fees.

However, what also riles me is middle-class parents, like those I've just described, sweating and driving kids who really aren't that bright and would benefit far more from a proper childhood.
(, Wed 4 Feb 2009, 10:40, closed)
I don't think that brilliance comes into it.
Most kids are, by definition, average. However, most adults don't realise what "average" means - most kids are capable of much more, provided they get the attention and are well taught. There oughtn't to be anything too hard about educating a child - they're genetically programmed to be curious.

A bit of attention and a supply of books and conversation at home is much more valuable than hothousing - at least for the young.
(, Wed 4 Feb 2009, 10:32, closed)
Wrong place...I've replied further down

(, Thu 5 Feb 2009, 13:46, closed)
First of all
the inevitable pedantry: it's blue in the face, not mouth !!

No-one knew that Orwell was a prophet, but in "1984" he predicted, as well as the constant surveillance society, Newspeak which is similar in concept to txt, i.e. it is a reduction of the English language.

Have a look at: www.newspeak.com/Newspeak.htm if you're interested.

Personally, from a completely selfish point of view, the lack of standards is good for me and mine; "in the country of the blind the one-eyed man is king". My 21 year old complains about it as well; my 12 year old is starting to use txt like her sister did, but it's a phase, and she'll come out of it.

Despite the publicity about how Harry Potter got children back to reading, not knowing how to write coherently - as many posters don't - is a sign of not having read enough, as well as not having had enough attention from teachers and parents.

But to come back to the Orwell theory, reducing language is a political stance. The less we can communicate complex constructs, the better for those in charge. The proles can be kept happy by Big Brother and the Lottery (another thing Orwell predicted). An apathetic, ill-educated majority is exactly what any government whose aim is unopposed power wants.

(, Wed 4 Feb 2009, 10:32, closed)
Good rant, and I agree wholeheartedly.

As for the pedantry though - I was actually quoting Monty Python: Dead Parrot Sketch.

John Cleese: "If you want anything done in this country you have to complain until you're blue in the mouth"

But I'll let that slip.
(, Wed 4 Feb 2009, 10:36, closed)
"Is this the right room for an argument ?"
"I've told you once".
(, Wed 4 Feb 2009, 10:42, closed)
"I could just be arguing in my spare time"
(, Wed 4 Feb 2009, 10:44, closed)
I don't see any evidence for the government wanting an intellectually impoverished population - it's just that they don't want to do the necessary to prevent one. It's more cock-up than conspiracy.
(, Wed 4 Feb 2009, 10:39, closed)
Oh, I'd agree
"1984" hasn't been achieved by totalitarian power.

But by giving the proles bread and circuses, it has achieved the same end.

Not caring to make a change from poor circumstances when that change is possible, desirable and beneficial is not much worse than deliberately bringing about the poor circumstances in the first place.
(, Wed 4 Feb 2009, 10:46, closed)
to drag this away from language for a moment
regardless of whether or not exams are getting easier* if most people are getting A grades as seems to be the case, then the exams just aren't hard enough.

There is far more of a divide in levels of intelligence and academic achievement than is shown by exam results in which case they need to be changed to be a better reflection of what is going on.

When I applied to uni I need a B and two Cs to get on my Civil Engineering degree. Not an easy course by anyone's standard.

and yet these days Joe Average ends up with about 43 A grades at AS level. Are they that much smarter than me? Fuck no, my handwriting is terrible!

*for the record, I'm certain they are
(, Wed 4 Feb 2009, 10:40, closed)
Now you come to mention Civil Engineering ............
Friend of mine does some part-time lecturing at a local uni and on the first year of the B.Eng degree course he spends the first six months getting all the students to an acceptable level of maths skills.

He reckons even those students who got an A at maths A level have huge gaps in their overall knowledge and comprehension of the subject - calculus is no longer taught at GCSE level and is skipped through in half-a-term at A level.

First time he wrote dy/dx on the board half the class thought it was a new rock band.
(, Wed 4 Feb 2009, 13:51, closed)
While I generally agree with you...
I have two examples to prove it's not all going to the dogs...

Holy Gabrielle

Both are only 17 (according to their profiles), and their writing is witty, well composed and intelligent. I quite enjoy reading their entries, and Holy Gabrielle's story about Customers From Hell is still displayed in my friends work (he's a chef).

Plus, I'm 20, do I count as being a younger one?
(, Wed 4 Feb 2009, 10:52, closed)
While they certainly do write well, in good English
Neither of them are English, nor were they educated in Britain. Most of us here seem to be talking about British kids. These two just make us look worse!
(, Wed 4 Feb 2009, 12:09, closed)
Neither of them is English.
(, Wed 4 Feb 2009, 12:23, closed)
I was referring to b3ta, not england, hehe.
(, Wed 4 Feb 2009, 14:08, closed)
I'm 18 and English (born and educated here)
And I like to think my posts are fairly well written... If not always interesting or relevant.
(, Thu 5 Feb 2009, 0:53, closed)
I'm honoured to be mentioned - even more honoured to hear about my writing being displayed.

In general I wouldn't say that the New Zealand education system puts a larger emphasis on coherency in writing - there's currently a move to allow "text speak" to be used in English exams to allow for the "evolution of the English language". I would say that my writing style and standards come from the fact that I've been an avid reader since I could pick up a book. My house is filled with thousands of books (4783 at last count) and so English has always been a part of my life. Having parents who emphasised the importance of coherency from a young age helped too. I don't think grammar like mine is at all common; in my English class last year (final year English), my classmates were hard-pressed to identify an adverb. Many of them still couldn't understand the difference between "their" and "they're". I've just never been able to stand speaking like an idiot - even when I text I use correct spelling and grammar, I don't abbreviate.

The teachers here in NZ do the best that they can to instill a sense of pride in one's work but there's only so much they can do. It's not a lack of teacher knowledge, it's the fact that students don't see it as an important thing to learn.
(, Thu 5 Feb 2009, 2:52, closed)
So by that logic...
As I am 63 does that make me the most erudite, fecund, and loquacious chap around?
(, Wed 4 Feb 2009, 11:09, closed)
Not sure about the fecund bit.
I keep hoping that the sexual desire stuff will diminish with age. It's not happening !

Although yes, fecund does have two meanings...no wonder I have problems if I automatically assume it's the first one !
(, Wed 4 Feb 2009, 11:58, closed)
It should be 'nothing hammers the message home harder than DOES a solid lump of text, peppered with ‘txt spk’'
Or 'nothing hammers HOME the message harder than does a solid lump of text, peppered with ‘txt spk’'


You're right though.
(, Wed 4 Feb 2009, 11:49, closed)
Grammatical ineptitude: Not just a problem for the yoof!
Here are a couple of examples of complete tosh that I have had the pleasure of hearing/reading, which show that, while literacy standards may be in free fall in our schools nowadays, it has been a long, long time since they were at an adequate level.

***DISCLAIMER*** Admittedly my own standards are tripe, so I am in no position to criticise, but I am going to anyway.

1. At a meeting recently with a bunch of senior colleagues and managers, some of them even senior managers, I was astounded to hear somebody talking about a proposal with another firm and come out with the line;

"We didn't get the answer we were looking for from the office manager, so tomorrow I'm going to get in contact with their Headquarters and speak to someone higher up the racky "

I looked around the room mouth agape, as people nodded in silent agreement with this chap. I nearly shat my pants with disbelief.

Now these people are all at least 10-15 years older than me(26), are highly paid professionals and have what the general public would consider as important jobs.

2. 'Miss co-habiting Pike' and I moved house last year to Surrey and hired a lawyer from a fairly expensive firm to deal with the nightmare local estate agents.

Having made an offer on a property we liked, we were delighted when said lawyer phoned to say that we had got it.

On receiving the following written confirmation from the lawyer, I was less than delighted to read that,

"The owners have decided to except your offer"

I say I was less than delighted, I was more dismayed or saddened really, having now realised that I had actually hired and trusted this solicitor with the not so trivial matter of my house sale and that they had now revealed themselves to be a complete idiot.

I might have accepted this mistake from my window cleaner, but thought it bad form for a lawyer that wasn't Lionel Hutz.

She charged me 60 quid for that letter.

Sorry for off topic/length/spelling/punctuation/Piper Alpha/Diana/Hindenburg etc
(, Wed 4 Feb 2009, 12:24, closed)
I is firty ate yrs old
and agree holehartedlee wiv da sentyment.
(, Wed 4 Feb 2009, 12:27, closed)
As mentioned
previously, most of my posts are crammed in little one minute frames between people wandering past my desk, so punctuation, grammar and aliteration come below getting the point across quickly.

No, im not going to spell check this.


May also be 34, and got D & E in English Lang / Lit
(, Wed 4 Feb 2009, 12:31, closed)
Fair enough,
that's a perfectly valid excuse in my opinion.

Personally I just like the English language - I find it a very fluid language and I love the way it evolves continually.

However - going back to 1984 by George Orwell I have to agree that the language is deteriorating, and that we (the younger generations), are losing touch with literacy and grammar.
There is nothing I hate more then getting a text from a friend saying "hi wnt 2 meet up 4 movi?" not because it's from my friend but because of the way it's written.

It's an English speaking country we live in, therefore we should know how to write and speak the fucking language.

I got an A+ on both my English exams last year and that was in a class for students a year higher then I was. I looked at the other kids in my class, who were all older then me, and I just couldn't believe that they didn't know how to construct an essay or write a coherent sentence.

It's not that bloody hard to read and write properly.

EDIT: Thanks antichrist. And yes I am 17. On Saturday.
(, Wed 4 Feb 2009, 13:17, closed)
Look on the bright side...
...at least Jade Goody is definitely going to die.
(, Wed 4 Feb 2009, 12:34, closed)
Fuck off.
(, Wed 4 Feb 2009, 12:36, closed)
Oh dear
Gallows humour...or should that be fallopian humour?
(, Wed 4 Feb 2009, 13:20, closed)
She might be a bit of a dick sometimes - but she is still a mother, daughter and (shudder) a lover etc...

That's a bit low saying that in my book.
(, Wed 4 Feb 2009, 16:54, closed)
Every generation has it's idiots.
In my house I'm the pedant. I'm 20. I often re-write my mother's e-mails for her.

On a certain other site I visit I seem to be the only one who spells and uses capitals. The worst culprits I find, after investigations out of curiosity, are the members over 30.

Yes, the future is doomed, but it was doomed long before this generation! =p

EDIT: Out of curiosity, how do you know the age of every poster to deduce this fact?
(, Wed 4 Feb 2009, 14:00, closed)
Speaking for MTC...

It's pretty easy to deduce the age (range) of a poster...even if they don't state it directly

Yes, people like Vampyrecat, Agnostic Antichrist & The Supreme Crow buck the trend by being wise and well-written beyond their tender years...but people such as this are unfortunatley, far from the norm in my experience.

And tragically, they're becoming rarer by the day.
(, Wed 4 Feb 2009, 14:42, closed)
I'm not old (for now)! Thank you.
(, Wed 4 Feb 2009, 16:10, closed)
I got mentioned!
(, Thu 5 Feb 2009, 11:42, closed)
For what it's worth...
On the subject of children and ability - my sons have always been encouraged to read - neither of them is particularly keen despite my buying adventure stories, comics and audio books. They'll come to it eventually I hope.
We have the grammar school system here but I didn't put them in for the dreaded test - mainly because they're twins and I didn't want to be faced with a dilemma if one passed and the other didn't. They'll both go to the local comprehensive.
In many respects I don't understand their reluctance to enjoy the written word...I was a teacher and now I lecture...in a university English department.

So onto students and exams.

The biggest problem, as I see it, is that at A level students are now allowed to take the text in to the examination hall with them. I believe that any scribblings in the margin of the text is also allowed.
When I took my A levels we had to memorise huge tracts of Shakespeare, Chaucer and the like. Even now when I teach this stuff I rely on the knowledge I picked up at 18!

All that said, I also know that my grasp of grammar, spelling, allusion, subtext and the rest of it has continued to improve over the years. I've still got some of my A level notes - my essays are littered with remarks about syntax from my (Oxbridge educated) teachers - I had no idea what the hell it was!
(, Thu 5 Feb 2009, 13:48, closed)
My mother's facebook status, this morning:
"Sarah loveing her boys lol xxx. 09:32 - Comment"

Some changes are generational however. The boyfriend and I got into a little hiccup yesterday about the proper use of the term "eg". He places the full stops in (Oxford English Dictionary) and I do not (Guardian Style Guide).

I look in horror when people at work use apostrophes to denote plurals of acronyms, but they state that is what they were taught at school.
Hell, when was the last time you saw someone complain about the phrase "to try and"? I recall that one in Captain Scarlet, so it's certainly not a new error... in fact it's now part of accepted standard English. So it's certainly more grey than people make out this stuff to be.

I have problems with my spelling and grammar so I end up triple checking everything and still getting bits wrong. It never hurts to try though. The result of all these grammatical and spelling rules should be that you can understand any text in English, no matter where it came from. You'll always get a tug from what older people understand vs what younger people understand unfortunately.
(, Thu 5 Feb 2009, 14:22, closed)

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