Ben Jonson (and me) on Words

Ben Jonson (the poet, not the athlete) once wrote that poor speech discredits both the speaker and our opinion of his reason and judgement. Today, when so much of our communication is done over the Internet via writing, I’d like to expand Mr. Johnson’s statement to include poor writing as well.

Yes, I know I’m not the world’s best writer. Sometimes I use words wrong, and my grammar and sentence structure can occasionally use some work. And, of course, there is my atrocious spelling ability. (Thank goodness for spell check!) But at least I make an effort to express myself as clearly as I am able. I wish the same could be said for everyone.

As a lover of words, a logophile, it brings a tear to my eye when I see a message on the Internet that has been hopelessly mangled. No capital letters, no attempt at punctuation or grammar, and forget about using spell check! The computer would probably start to smoke if you even tried.

As a Wiccan, I am aware that words have power. By using words poorly, both in speech and writing, who knows what we might be conjuring up. I don’t mean to suggest that we should police our expression, but rather that we should be more careful about writing clearly and saying exactly what it is we mean to say. Lately, I have noticed that I have a tendency to use words like “crap” very often when I am speaking, and that doesn’t go a long way towards accurately reflecting who I am or what I want in my life.

I know I sound like a crotchety old woman, well before my time I might add, by we have such a beautiful language, capable of such a wide range of expression in both its written and spoken form. It seems a shame to me that so many people don’t even try to use it to a fraction of its full worth.

Here are some interesting links that fellow logophiles and grammar police may enjoy:

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