Last night as I sat on the tube, I got rather irritated. Although the intense heat and stuffiness of the tube was rather annoying, (as was having my head placed under the sweaty armpit of the man in front of me, and the coughing and spluttering of the woman behind me, who provided a nice sprinkling of saliva at regular intervals), the thing that annoyed me the most was an article that I read in the Metro. The nature of the article in question was not what offended me, oh no, what annoyed me was that it cut off mid-sentence.
Having worked on the University’s student newspaper over the past year, I know how easy it is to make mistakes such as the one that offended me so much, so I have sympathy for the editors of the Metro. However, the proof-reader and perfectionist in me was desperate to get out a red pen and underline the offending sentence. I have a similar problem when I read my friends’ blogs or essays, sometimes things just scream out at me, and I have to prevent myself from pompously indicating small errors to them, especially as I am more than aware that it is so much easier to spot mistakes in other people’s work than your own.
Yet, what lies at the bottom of my dilemma, is that ultimately I am a massive hypocrite. I am the world’s biggest offender when it comes to abbreviating things when texting, or instant messaging of any kind, to the extent that I have received replies asking me to translate my messages into English. Whist it annoys me immensely when someone replies ‘you to’ when they mean ‘you too’, I find myself replying ‘u2’ which is even worse. The thing is though, that abbreviations and acronyms have become a part of everyday life, especially with the increased domination of social media sites such as Twitter. Through limiting me to 140 characters I feel justified in shortening words, although I know that I have no such excuse when texting or replying to friends on facebook chat. Perhaps the reason for this discrepancy is that two major elements of my personality are in constant combat: the perfectionist and the multi-tasker. So there we have it, in essence I am a grammar snob, and a texting whore, who has g2g and proofread an essay.