Ah, English! One of the easiest or hardest languages you’ll ever learn—depending on whom you ask. However, even if we’re wizards of literature or native speakers, we all slip up from time to time. We can forget how to spell and even the most simple words can elude us. Especially when we’re stressed or distracted (but social media can be to blame, too!).
We've collected some of the funniest times that people’s minds temporarily shut down and their English language skills melted like butter in a hot pan from the 716k-member-strong r/ihadastroke subreddit. When you’re done upvoting your fave pics and enjoying this list, you can check out our previous post about people who forgot how English works right here.
Bored Panda talked about the pitfalls that come with learning English, what we can do to keep our linguistic skills sharp, and the effects that social media has on our grammar with Dr. Lisa McLendon, who is the News and Information Track Chair at the University of Kansas School of Journalism and Coordinator at the Bremner Editing Center. Read on for her in-depth insights.
Dr. McLendon from the University of Kansas said that some parts of the English language can be hard to learn for foreign students. A lot depends on the languages they already know.
“For students whose native language lacks articles (a, an, the), articles are by far the hardest category of words to master. Verb tense/aspect is also really hard—the difference between ‘I read,’ ‘I am reading,’ and ‘I do read’ is nonexistent in many other languages,” the professor explained.
However, memorizing common words doesn’t help overcome these difficulties. It’s all a matter of changing your mindset and practicing things until they become second nature. “These don’t pose any difficulties for native speakers who use them correctly without even thinking about it,” Dr. McLendon said. However, native speakers have other problems with English.
Did I Make A Reddit Account Just To Post My Grandpa Having His Seventh Typing Stroke Today? Yes, Yes I Did
In Dr. McLendon’s experience as an editor and a teacher, she has found that native speakers have trouble with past passive participles in speech (e.g. saying ‘I had went’). Meanwhile, in writing, they have problems with punctuation, homophones (peek vs. peak, etc.), and misplaced modifiers.
But for those of us who feel confident in our English and feel like there’s nowhere else to go, the journey isn’t quite over. We can’t rest on our laurels.
“Read! Read widely and frequently. Read magazines, newspapers, novels, even cereal boxes,” the expert said. “But be careful when scrolling through social media, which although it can give you a good idea of current slang and shorthand, is often not a great model of clarity, accuracy, or good grammar.”
Grandma Not Doing To Good
Dr. McLendon previously told Bored Panda that people forget words all the time because of temporary ‘blips’ in the information retrieval process in our minds. However, modern life and the easy access to technology also have an effect on our ability to spell well.
Spell-check, auto-correct, and editing software are now very common and they can shut down our ability to think and write for ourselves.
“Because spell-check and autocorrect are everywhere, what seems to be the biggest problem is words that are spelled correctly but aren’t the right word, like ‘form’ instead of ‘from,’ ‘it’s’ instead of ‘its,’ or ‘defiantly’ instead of ‘definitely.’”
Improving our writing skills requires conscious effort on our part. Editing and proofreading are very important, so we should take the time to carefully read over what we’ve written. Several times if necessary. Knowing what mistakes we tend to make most often is also an advantage because we can then avoid those pitfalls.
However, there are times when editing, stepping back for a while, and sitting down to edit again isn’t enough. Dr. McLendon suggests having someone else read over what you’ve written to catch any mistakes left behind.
“When you’ve written something, your brain already knows what you’re thinking and what you meant to say, even if you didn’t actually say it. So when you read your own writing, you unconsciously fill in missing words, skip over typos, fail to see ambiguity, etc. Another person, someone who sees only what’s on the page and not what’s in your head, can help you spot mistakes and improve your writing. This is especially important if you are carving something in stone or getting a tattoo with words in it.”