When I first started compiling and keeping a list of common writer mistakes, I really didn’t think it would/could go on for so long. But it seems like when I post something, one of you post a brilliant comment and I find even more stuff. So, I guess I’ll do these posts until I run out of goof-ups.
So, another thing that irks me is “yea” used in place of “yeah.” Rarely do I see it the other way around, but I’m sure it happens. “Yeah” is slang for yes. It’s the equivalent of Yep, yessir, yes ma’am, or, if you’re Japanese, hai! “Yea,” does NOT mean yes. It has a couple of meanings, but we probably would want to use it most to show excitement. As in “yea, I made the football team.” Translated to redneckian (of all geographic locations), it would read, “hot dang, I get ta bust some heads!” Some of the older ones among us probably think of it in Biblical terms: “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death…” Well, you know the rest (and if you don’t, shame on you!). It still doesn’t mean “yes.”
Anyone older than, oh, 30, knows that Facebook and smartphones will be the death of our language. It drives me bonkers when I see Brittany’s friends post “awe” on her pictures. The first time I ever saw it, I asked her what her friend was so in awe about. She explained to me that it was supposed to be a “that’s cute” reaction, meaning “aw.” I said, “oh.”
I set her straight pretty quick. But now when I see it, and I still see it a lot, I tease her and read it aloud as if it was pronounced “ah-we.” I understand the reaction, because Southern girls are always saying “awwwwwwwww” when they see “cute” things. I get it. It is still NOT spelled “awe.”
As I grade student papers and even do freelance editing, I’m continually amazed at how many writers ignore the little green and red squiggly lines so kindly provided by MS Word. Granted, we should not take the word of MS Word as the be-all, end-all of grammar or spelling. However, when you see them there, they’re probably there for a reason: something’s a little off. Don’t ignore them. Seriously, don’t “ignore” them. Yes, it is true. I know that some writers—when they don’t know—will simply press “ignore” in MS Word so that the lines will go away, but the problem does not. It’s like they’re trying to hide it. When you don’t know the spelling of a word, look it up. MS Word will generally offer you choices.
Don’t guess. We can tell.