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Imperator
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When I read letters and documents from 50 or more years ago, the writers, in general, have excellent grammar, spelling, and word usage. Much better than most people today, even with our availability of spell checks, grammar checks, and thesauruses built right into computer typing programs. Even kids and teens spoke and wrote and spoke much better than most adults do today.

My question is: Why? What causes this degradation of our language usage over time? It can't be because of popular slang, they had slang back then too. Is it because they read more? But, then again, I know people that read all the time and their verbal and writing ability still doesn't compare.

I wish I had suitable examples, but I can't really think of any off the top of my head. I'm sure some of you know what I mean though.
 

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kills jihad on contact
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well i write like crap and i dont really care about my grammer skills ,only if i am writeing something for school i take my time but other wise i speed right through it
 

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We're learning to get the basic gist of whatever we want to communicate across with fewer words, letters, characters, etc.

I for one prefer to be as explicit as possible with what I'm trying to say, which is why the majority of the time I use the best grammar and spelling I can muster. The only time I resort to e-shorthand or whatever you want to call it is when I'm texting on my phone, due to lack of a real keyboard, and on AIM I sometimes use shortcuts such as "u", "wtf", "lol", etc. etc.
 

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We The People
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This is an example from way further back than the 1950s, but when I read your post, Dooms, I immediately thought of an excerpt from a letter that Alexander Hamilton wrote to his brother (I have a biography on him - very interesting):

"what has become of our dear father? It is an age since I have heard from him... Perhaps alas! he is no more, and I shall not have the pleasing opportunity of contributing to render the close of his life more happy than the progress of it. My heart bleeds at the recollection of his misfortunes and embarrassments."

-Jin
 

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kills jihad on contact
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back then people really had nothing to worry about hardley no distractions like cell phones etc. they really had nothing better to do back then so they figured that they whould just study all their life
 

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Erect member.
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that and there is no penalty now for not being able to read or write well. Back then, reading and writing held a lot more weight to it than it does now...I guess it's just that we just take for granted that we will be taught to read and write, and so we place very little pride in it. That's my musings, nothing more.
 

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Allen
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I used to have very good writing and grammar skills, but I went for several years where I didn't have a use for and forgot most of it. As for the degradation of todays grammar skills, I blame it on the Government and States. School systems seem to be making tests easier and easier every year for kids so more will pass the tests. I went to public school form 3rd to 6th grade, my friends little brother is doing the same stuff I was in 4-5th grade and he is in 7th. I might just be weird and a little anti Government but thats what it looks like to me.
 

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Its never lupus
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I think our literacy rates have drastically been steadily improving since the US was founded. Back then the contrast was much more extreme (you either wrote well or you didn't write at all). Also the best writing was the stuff that made it into the history books.
 

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I used to have very good writing and grammar skills, but I went for several years where I didn't have a use for and forgot most of it. As for the degradation of todays grammar skills, I blame it on the Government and States. School systems seem to be making tests easier and easier every year for kids so more will pass the tests. I went to public school form 3rd to 6th grade, my friends little brother is doing the same stuff I was in 4-5th grade and he is in 7th. I might just be weird and a little anti Government but thats what it looks like to me.
I agree and disagree with this statement at the same time. I agree that the national and state governments are putting too much pressure on school test scores (it's all about the funding) but as far as I have seen, the schools are teaching very differently than they did when I was in. My little sister is learning things now that I learned about three years later, but she has also skipped over some critical foundations (the basic stuff, like math and grammar). It's kinda funny, she thinks she is sooo much smarter than me...but she's still about 6 years behind.
 

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I think our literacy rates have drastically been steadily improving since the US was founded. Back then the contrast was much more extreme (you either wrote well or you didn't write at all). Also the best writing was the stuff that made it into the history books.
Batta bing!
 
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