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English Expressions - "A Double-Edged Sword"

A double-edged sword is a thing that can help and harm the user at the same time, and so should be used carefully.

The internet is a double-edged sword.  It is the most powerful, most widely used communication tool ever devised.  It is the biggest factor in the spread of English around the world.  It is the reason we can meet here and learn.

On the other hand, the internet is the biggest source of poor or incorrect English ever seen.  There is often no way for the student to know if the language is right or wrong.  And wrong information is usually worse than no information.

English is rich in expressions and figures of speech.  I love them!

Jan 9, 2015 10:47 AM
Comments · 23

Eddie and SuKi, I couldn't agree more. There is now such a divergence between what is in the grammar books and what is out there on the net that many students are thrown into confusion. What's worse is that teachers get confused too! Being constantly bombarded by bad English, I start doubting my own words, and my advice to students.


The internet is utterly brilliant, and I love it! However, it truly is a double-edged sword. It is lubricating the spread of really awful spelling and grammar. I sometimes wonder if the internet is a cohesive force for the English language, or whether it will deepen the division between those who speak correctly, and those who grunt inarticulately.


Hmmmmm ?????

January 9, 2015

Quite.  And the more careless and sloppy English is around, the more this seems acceptable. People have come to confuse informality with laziness.

Recently on this site, a member with an otherwise reasonable standard of English wrote an question littered with 'u' and 'i' and 'cuz' and 'wanna'. There was barely a recognisable word on the page. I corrected this, and pointed out that she should use standard forms when writing. For my efforts, I received the ungrateful response 'Yes, I know those rules. But this is a message.'

Oh dear. I have visions of a return to formless chaos when we dinosaurs are long gone.


January 9, 2015

meanwhile, yet another topic with number of comments shown there greater than the number of comments whown here:(

So was Eddie right in that the language change are too dangerous a topic for a humble language  site?...
For all my life I concidered sociolinguistics such an innocent girl:)

January 10, 2015

Every species evolves and specializes itself to cover free natural niches, Charles Darwin tought it to all us. When America was discovered, the species English took possession of the new niche and specialized itself for it. As well as when the Internet was 'discovered', the species American English, at this point different from the original one, covered the new spaces and it is specializing itself to them.
That's biology baby, biology and there is nothing you can do about it.... nothing! :-)

Probabily yes, Eddie; both "i xe fora cofà balconi" (are out like balconies) IMHO :-D

January 10, 2015

Kuba ~

I see the same and worse.  I call it "Chat Room English."

In order for us to learn, any of us, we must first acknowledge that we do not already know.  If we are unwilling to do that, no one can help us.  Su.Ki.'s experience demonstrates that.

I'm new here. I am under the impression that the purpose of this site is learning. And yet I see Chat Room English in common usage, with no apparent interest in correcting it.  I don't entirely understand what I'm seeing.

A young man comes to my house to shovel snow. He's a decent kid in his early 20s, I like him.  But he can't read.  He believes he can, but I've seen what he calls reading.  I call it 6th grade.  I would help him if I could, but I can't.  He thinks he already knows.  I see a lot of this.  Nothing can be done about it. 

January 9, 2015
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