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When did grammar become unnecessary?

YOU have to hand it to Sinn Fein, they keep on giving their opponents ammunition on a weekly basis.

Thus we got to hear the chilling phrase 'The end justifies the means' as the Mayor of Boyle Councillor Jane Suffin went on John Murray's show to swat away criticism of her garbled postings on Facebook, in which she railed against Roscommon people who'd failed to attend a protest against the closure of the local A&E.

Suffin said she was delighted with the publicity and that the posts had been made 'in the heat of the moment'. At 11.14pm and 11.59pm -- we all know how heated things can get at those moments.

The furore about Suffin's postings centred around the language she used, but mistakenly concentrated on the fact that she swore. Instead, what was remarkable was how the woman appears to have a very little linguistic ability.

Her diatribes were littered with shocking misuse of words and dreadful spelling. Thus her screed has 'your' when she meant 'you're', showed appalling misuse of the apostrophe by inserting 'kitchen's' instead of 'kitchens' and descended into teen text-speak by resorting to 'u' when she meant 'you'.

The people of Boyle should be shocked that they're represented by someone who appears to be on distinctly unfriendly terms with English, although being a Shinner she'd probably claim that Irish is her first tongue.

Suffin's shocking grasp of grammar and basic spelling is unfortunately symptomatic of an increasing laziness about the basic building blocks of the written word. As someone who feels compelled to use correct punctuation in even the most basic text, it's genuinely disturbing to receive messages where people use abbreviations which take longer to type than had they used the actual word.

This malaise has spread to newspapers and I was horrified a few weeks back when the 'exclusive diary' of some bimbo began with the phrase 'Me and the girls ... '. She may have used that phrase when she dictated her copy down the phone, but we're looking down a strange rabbit-hole when such debasement of language is allowed to appear in print unchecked.


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