Is English Dead?

Friday was National Punctuation Day. Hooray for correctly placed commas and appropriate apostrophes.

It seems few actually celebrated, judging by some of the articles I’ve read lately. In the Washington Post, columnist Gene Weingarten mourned the death of English, as clearly seen in the nation’s newspapers. He pointed to words and phrases used incorrectly and corrections that contained spelling mistakes.

These guys, meanwhile, have taken it upon themselves to correct poorly written signs across the country.

Are the people irked by bad grammar, spelling mistakes or a careless approach to punctuation just a bunch of old-fogey curmudgeons? Will the next generation of writers and readers accept such phrases as “doggy dog world” to describe how hard life can be? Is this really the end of English as we know it? Is a new vernacular, based on misunderstood words, forming to replace what we know as proper English?

Maybe. But hundreds of readers responded to Weingarten’s column, to agree and offer up more evidence. The sign correctors have a book out, and plenty of supporters. Maybe these sympathetic souls are the last few people who care about writing. I hope, instead, that they are the next generation of writers and readers who believe in upholding standards, even as the language evolves.