Generally speaking, being somewhat pedantic about English, it drives me crazy to see how the language is often abused; often by people who are at a high level, academically and career wise i.e. Master’s degrees or even PHDs or high level executives in major companies in South Africa.

This does not reflect well on us as a nation, which being in something of an economically disastrous condition, both locally and internationally, should be looking to present ourselves globally as striving to better our situation as we strive to overcome the damage that was done, particularly in the Zuma era, and earlier.

If you want to see clean, beautifully expressed English with no unnecessary frills or clutter, you can look at the #American author John Steinbeck, who wrote short stories and novels, set in the 1920s California “dustbowl” era. for example “The Grapes of Wrath” and short stories such as “The Pearl and “Tortilla Flat”

Here are some examples of what I call “lazy English:

  • “filler” words or expressions in speeches, such as “basically” “like” and “ehhh” or “whatever” or “you know” … which convey no meaning whatsoever, except to show that the speaker’s thought process is so sluggish that he/she needs time to think of what to say next …
  • The use of words that do not fit the the context of a piece of writing, as the meaning simply does not fit. I read this as an attempt to impress the reader by using esoteric words that do not even fit the subject (“bull … baffles brains”). However, it has the opposite effect, instead; showing the writer’s ignorance of the meaning of the words, and causing confusion in the reader’s mind. Google is an excellent source for finding the exact meaning of words – so there is no excuse for such poor usage.
  • In the case of #academic writing, this misuse of language shows the likelihood that the author is simply being slapdash about his/her academic writing or simply does not understand the subject he/she is writing about.
  • The other thing that must surely infuriate professors and supervisors is the’lifting of chunks of text from published authors’ texts and presenting them as their own, without acknowledging the author. Much better to absorb the published authors material and then rewrite it in the student/graduate’s OWN WORDS!
  • The big question is: What happens when these graduates manage somehow to land a high level position after graduation – and are then expected to do work that is commensurate with their qualification(s)?

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