People are stupid. Not all, but most of them are stupid. People are stupid enough when you have to hear the insignificant and superfluous words spewing forth out of their gaping maws like vomit out of a homeless drunk, but when you have to actually read those words, for instance, on the internets, well, you can really see just how stupid people actually are. We humans like to pretend that we’re all that. We like to think that we are the greatest species on the face of the planet because we’re the only ones capable of actually discussing it. To be fair, perhaps it’s not entirely human stupidity at fault. Perhaps this ridiculous language we speak is to blame as well. Although, it was created by humans…
There’s this website, Engrish.com, which makes fun of foreign translations of what they think is English. Not only is it heerarious, but it makes you appreciate just how difficult a language English actually is to learn. Those of us who learned English as our primary language are rather lucky. Not only is it the language most commonly spoken by default when you don’t speak the language in whatever country you happen to find yourself, but by having learned it as our primary language, us native Englishers have a leg up on those who have to learn it.
That’s not to say that native speakers seem to grasp the fundamentals of the English language any better than those who learn it as a second language. In fact, the contrary can prove true. Because it is our mainstay, because English speakers can speak it without thinking, well, we often speak it without thinking. Even worse, we type it. When I see humans beings with a working vocabulary of roughly 500 words, and most of them are “like”, “um” or “er”, it infuriates me. Language is probably the greatest thing this stupid species has ever created, yet most people take it for granted. Writing idiotic words instead of just saying them makes it all too clear how stupid humans actually are as a species. There’s no camouflaging dumb with words. It’s written right there in black and white.
The series of tubes we call the internet, on which you are reading this very post, has made people seem even more idiotic than they would otherwise seem if they were just speaking. Case in point, the following snippet was posted on a website for all posterity: “peaked my interest”. Peaked your interest? OK, allow me to attempt to translate. Your interest has reached its maximum capacity and can no longer hold any more interest? Your interest is pale because it doesn’t feel well? Your interest is the projecting part of a pointed shape? Your interest has reached the top? Your interest is a mountain, which you have climbed and planted a flag? Well, first of all, dear anonymous internet writer, you are an idiot. Good job! Secondly, it’s piqued. PIQUED your interest is the phrase you were looking for, you abject moron.
Homonyms, homophones and homographs are the devil. There, they’re and their. Two, too and to. Peaked, peeked and piqued. They make people think they’re saying the right thing when, clearly, they are not. If you are unsure of a word, look it up. In addition to having a bajillion examples of improper grammar, the internet also has countless dictionaries and thesauruses. They’re all searchable and contain oodles of information regarding which word to use and when to use it. If that is too much work for you, might I suggest rephrasing whatever idiotic thing you were trying to say? For instance, anonymous internet writer, instead of saying “peaked my interest” and coming off like a total buffoon, you could have replaced “peaked” with any one of the following: increased, stimulated, provoked, encouraged, kindled, triggered, activated, inspired, fomented… well, you get the idea. Even though “piqued” is the correct word in that phrase, did you know that it also has multiple meanings? Webster’s online entry says that, in addition to rousing to strong feeling or action, it also means to irritate, especially by repeated disagreeable acts: “Bob piqued Sally by repeatedly poking her boob with a pencil.”
Words have certain meanings and spellings, sometimes several, but there are rules. You can’t just go blindly using any old word, willy-nilly, as you see fit, which is why homonyms, homographs and homophones are the devil. So, people of the internet, please pay more attention to what you say, especially when typing, because nothing makes you sound more foolish than misusing a word. Not only that, but people like me will be inclined to not even read whatever it is you were trying to say because we get hung up on things like “peaked my interest” and your entire point will be lost. If that happens, you might as well not have said anything in the first place.