Sunday, August 21, 2011

To much

Is there anyone left, other than professional writers and editors, who knows the difference between "to" and "too"?

In the blogosphere, particularly in comments, "to" has become almost interchangeable with "too." When I first started noticing the error, I assumed it was just a typo, resulting from someone being in a hurry. But it has become far too -- yes, too -- common to be anything other than ignorance in most cases.

A dumbed down educational system and  a post-literate popular culture mean that words are learned by hearing them, in speech or on TV, rather than reading them. So naturally the difference between homophones is incomprehensible.



green mamba said...

I've been noticing this a lot lately, even among semi-intelligent people. It's disturbing, a sign of the idiocritization of our culture.

In the last couple of years, I've also noticed the use of redundant comparatives like "more better" - also by reasonably intelligent people!

Rick Darby said...

Green Mamba,

How about "future plans"?

Anonymous said...

To be or not to be, that is far too much to ask.

Sheila said...

Too many bloggers and commenters have internalized the left's educational standpoint - grammar is irrelevant; only emotion in content matters. If anyone dares to offer a correction, they are attacked as a "grammar nazi." I believe correct grammar is a sign of an educated individual and is indispensable for clear transmission of meaning. Call me an "elite" or a "nazi," but when someone still hasn't learned the difference between a pronoun and a contraction (my children did in second grade - yet even the office memos from their Christian school contain these same errors) I expect (and usually find) less than stellar logic in the individual's comment. To/too; their/there/they're; your/you're; its;it's: learn the difference and use them correctly - it's not brain surgery nor Ivy League elitism. (Note: I am not immune from certain errors myself, but these all-too common ones are not among them.) Take pride in your language and use it properly.

Rick Darby said...

Good on ya, Sheila!

But speaking of internalizing the left's "narrative" (or however their academic jargon would put it) -- why write, "Call me an 'elite' or a 'nazi,' ..."? It's as though you're still kind of apologizing.

Never apologize for being civilized!

zazie said...

how true! one should never apologize for being civilized.
Of course, Sheila is right when she mentions those too(!) comon mistakes ; I spent a few decades fighting them among my pupils ; I nearly gave up when I met the same errors among my younger colleagues.. They never called me "grammar-nazi" aloud, but they often implied it!
Being French, my pupils added "two" to the couple "to/too" ; probably because of "2be3", which of course led them to the couple "free/three".....

zazie said...

sorry! "common" of course!

Anonymous said...

Two funny.

Martin B said...

Herewith, some of my pet language peeves:

"Advocate for": one advocates something or one is an advocate for something - one does not "advocate for" something.

"Utilize": does not mean the same thing as "use".

"Issue": i.e., what we used to call a "problem". "Issue" is a weak, colorless, euphemistic word derived from pop-psychology.

"Going forward": a phrase now used to describe the temporal direction of plans or events. As opposed to.......what? Going backward in time?

Martin B said...

Rick, I think you doth protest to much.

Okay, Van Wijk did it first, but I had to chime in.

Anonymous said...

This post and some of the comments are both homophonic and Xenophonic.

(According to Wikipedia, Xenophon of Athens "didn't believe in [Athens'] political morals, which leads some to believe that he was an oligarch", ie. an elitist.)

Rick Darby said...

Martin B,

I actually debated whether to write this entry about "to/too" or the egregious use of "issue" for "problem."

Why are the kinds of things that used to be called problems now called issues? I suspect it's because "problem" carries a taint of responsibility. If I say there's a problem with something I did, then it's by implication either my fault or my job to fix it. But an issue is just a question or situation. No judgment. Why doesn't someone (else) do something about it?

IlĂ­on said...

"would of" for "would've"

Martin B said...


Re: Issue/Problem

I'm glad to know it is not my pet peave alone. I suspect this usage crept into our language from the psychology / therapy world. I guess it's not nice for a therapist to say his patient has "problems", so instead he says that he has "issues". Although, if you ask me, Charles Manson and Ted Bundy didn't have issues - those dudes had problems.

I have heard the word used in a medical context - so and so has "health issues", which I found laughable. I would not be surprised to see it completely usurp the role of "problem". Students will talk about their "homework issues". Theologians will discuss "the issue of evil". Astronauts will declare "Houston, we have an issue."