The English Disease

I know it’s kind of weird to discuss a defect of Dutch-writing people in English, but it bothered me that much I just had to mention it. So here goes. My personal rant on misspelling and general neglecting of rules in writing Dutch.

Whenever someone is ranting on a defect, there’s a website on that subject. This is also true for the wrongful use of spaces in Dutch writing. The website www.stopspatiegebruik.nl specifically targets the errors like “spatie gebruik”, “kern competentie” and “ontwerp keuze”. We Dutchies all know these should be “spatiegebruik”, “kerncompetentie”, “ontwerpkeuze” yet there are hordes of people determined to neglect it and expect anyone to know what is meant.

Thing is: you’d expect certain spelling and grammar errors in text written by people with lower education. When working with people who, without exception either are bachelors or masters, it comes as a surprise. You’d expect these people to have been able to write according to the rules at some point in their lives. Why not now?

So here you go: when you have to correct 50 or so spelling errors in the near-final (and probably 10th) revision of a document, something is wrong. Is this true in your organization (or client-organization)?

3 thoughts on “The English Disease”

  1. 1) Yes, it happens (in all organizations I have been in). Some – naturally – are worse than others.

    2) In general, I believe all of those bsc’s or msc’s knów what it should be, but are too lazy or – in my opinion – arrogant. Arrogant because they think – as you stated – that people will understand them anyway so why spend time on correcting texts?

    3) Our policy is that any final draft of an official document – proposals, contracts, final deliverables – passes our secretary office, who always make a final sweep of the documents. I make a point of doing my own and making them do ‘useless’ work (although they always pick up sóme points… it’s impossible pick up everything, but that’s not the discussion), because of exactly my disgust of this attitude, but it’s a hopeless struggle…

    My personal pet peeve is ‘aantal’. People keep saying ‘er zijn een aantal ‘. It’s such an obvious sign of people not thinking even a split second about what they are saying. Unfortunately, this is exactly a case where in the end, laziness and ignorance will ‘win’ as it’s already a commonplace and thus will replace the áctual grammar. Instead of educating people, we just lower our standards… typical!

  2. I’m at this moment mostly worried about writing correct English.

    I’m getting crazy with correcting my Thesis with a red pencil at this moment. 🙂 What a mistakes 😀

  3. Timmo, that is exactly what I’m fussing all about, although the arrogance of mis-writings to be understood correctly is less common in the places I tend to be in.
    It’s mostly the commonality of the errors I listed that annoys me most, until the point I am capable of asking the people how they even get their diplomas. I’ve not done it yet, yet the thought is growing on me. 😉

    Arjen: heh, I could’ve done that up until now and still not get all errors…

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