Vail Daily column: Their they be at
It’s to whom, you illiterate fool.
Last week a friend posted a simple question on Facebook: “One space or two after a period in a sentence?”
By the depth and tone of the answers you’d think she asked for a comprehensive list of economic and theocratic differences between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.
Almost 60 responses during the course of a single day, ranging from simplistic answers like “one” and “two” all the way to extremely detailed reasons of why two is absolutely correct and one is the main factor for the decline of Western civilization and a sure sign our future American way of life is doomed.
I’m pretty sure one of them even implied it was Obama’s fault.
Not only were those insisting “two” is the correct answer showing their age, some were so stubborn they proudly refused to change in spite of the evidence, sort of like a creationist refusing evolution. I bet a few of them still have a cassette deck in their car, too.
But come on, is this really an issue for the Punctuation Police to handle, or should we leave it to the Grammar Nazis?
You know, those annoying online elitist putz (putzi?) who get off by first criticizing and then correcting others’ grammar and spelling because it makes them feel superior.
“Let’s eat Grandma!”
“Let’s eat, Grandma!”
Yeah, I suppose punctuation is important, or at the very least helpful for comprehension, but is it really worth all the effort just to make someone look like an uneducated buffoon?
I admit to cringing when people write “to” when they mean “too” and doing a face palm when someone apparently does not understand the differences in, “They’re over there with their things … ” but it doesn’t cause me to bemoan the literacy of future generations.
In HTML coding (basic Internetese), no matter how many spaces you type, they magically lose all but one. Go ahead and try it on Facebook, you’ll see what I mean.
What it all boils down to is, here in the 21st century, two spaces are no longer needed after a period. You can be stubborn and fight it all you’d like, but the Internet will change it either way.
And as for the irritating Grammar Nazis: A recent Vail Valley graduate was visiting the University of Texas in Austin and found himself lost on the campus. Approaching a student, he asked, “Do you know where the library is at?”
“Yes I do,” replied the student. “But, you know, you are not supposed to end sentences with prepositions.”
“Prepositions. You ended your sentence with an ‘at,’ which is improper grammar.”
“Oh, OK,” said our proud graduate, “Do you know where the library is at, jackass?”
Life should be so simple.
Richard Carnes, of Edwards, writes weekly.