Declining standards or adaptation?

Today, I was having a discussion with a copywriter about the difference between “all right” and “alright.”

The correct usage and spelling is “all right.” But for a number of reasons over the years – ignorance, ease, laziness, texting, etc. – the “alright” spelling has become more and more common. I shared in his lament (and slight irritation) about the slow erosion of our language.

Interesting that language, like many social mores and beliefs, falls under the weight of those who are unable or unwilling (or ignorant of) acceptable usage. Funnier still that the smart phone is near the center of the change.

Just like it’s no longer the norm for people to notice or acknowledge each other in the streets (if not actually running into each other) because their face is buried in their smartphone, it’s texting and Twitter that has led to so many bastardizations of the English language.

People can’t be bothered to write things properly, and so we end up with a greater percentage of society who can’t write a grammatically correct sentence.

I’m confident this puts me squarely in the “old-fashioned” camp. But as a marketer who has bent the English language many times to serve marketing copy, I believe you have to know and practice proper grammar to even know when and how to break it.

And don’t even get me started on how few people actually know the proper usage of “it begs the question.”


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