I know I’m not the only one bothered by this not-so-infrequent occurrence. In case I didn’t make it obvious enough already, I’m specifically talking about the incorrect usage of the words to/two/too and their/there/they’re.
If I recall correctly, I was first educated in the differences between these apparently “perplexing” trios in elementary school, though I don’t quite remember exactly what year. Ever since, I have never once failed to recall how to distinguish the differences between these threesomes. All writing experience aside, knowing when to use which has always been second nature to me.
This brings me to my main point: How do college-educated Purdue students STILL not know how to use basic English? I have encountered more instances of the misuse of these words than I care to count. And I’m left wondering how these kids are still making these easily avoidable mistakes.
First, how do students get away with this, especially at such a prominent university? Second, has no one told them any different by now? And finally, how is it they can’t seem to remember the differences between these six simple words? Haven’t we all written enough by now to understand these variances? Heck, even MICROSOFT WORD lets you know when you’re wrong!
I cringe when I see the improper use of these trios and it puzzles me that most professors I’ve encountered never seem to do a thing about it. Is this because they’re not sure what they can do or because some students seem to not care? Either way, there is nothing more unprofessional than using to/two/too or their/there/they’re in the wrong context, in my opinion.
So, are students just that lazy that they don’t want to put forth the effort to write correctly? This is what I want to know. Because I find it extremely difficult to believe that so many Purdue students actually don’t know the differences between these words, and if they truly don’t know, well…then…I might as well go ahead and lose faith in my generation now (metaphorically speaking, that is).
The misuse of these triads is disturbing to me as it indicates that students don’t care a whole lot about how they are viewed, what they are saying or about being professional. It’s more than just bad grammar, its laziness.
I suggest that professors re-teach this concept to students in writing intensive courses and take off points every time they incorrectly use these words. Maybe students won’t be so lazy if their grades are influenced by it.
We are all communicators and obviously all know how to do so effectively. But, that doesn’t mean the rest of the world (as in Purdue) can just reject learning how to correctly use the English language. Communication is, after all, the basis of all human interaction. Professors should be focusing on perfecting the most basic grammar mistakes before they begin teaching students linear algebra and organic chemistry, in my opinion.
Holly Keehn is Senior in Ag Comm with a minor in Forensic Science.