TV ads are replete with spelling and punctuation errors

Dear Editor,

How can our children excel at English exams when they’re exposure to the language is of the poorest in the electronic media, especially on television? Some of the most horrendous spellings can be seen every single day on the television and sometimes I wonder when it is going to end. Media houses that have been in existence for quite some time are regularly guilty of allowing their employees or whoever prepares these advertisements to crucify the English language as it were.

Isn’t there anyone to check these typewritten advertisements before they go on the air? In Berbice, the same nonsense is going on. The guilty parties know who they are and yet continue with advertisements containing incorrect spellings and missing punctuation marks too. Commas, full-stops, capital letters, colons, hyphens, semi-colons, etc, are not placed where they’re supposed to be. I used to work for a TV station a few years back as a control operator. Part of my job entailed preparing these advertisements. At the end of the day, someone would come in and check the grammar and spelling of the advertisements. I do not know if this still happens either there or in other media houses. But the question should be are our TV stations employing persons who are qualified for this so-called ‘control operator’ job which entails typing advertisements and death announcements to go on the air?

Editor, do you know that the requirement to get a job at these places nowadays is a mere Grade III in English Language? Then isn’t that a recipe for disaster? When we employ persons just out of high school with Grade III passes in Maths and English, it is another sad day for our country. These people should know that either they should upgrade their grades or be left out of the job market. I know that sounds harsh but it is the right thing to do.

Can you editors say, too, what the quality is like of the letters you receive for publication? Proof readers are put to the task to glance through and spot the mistakes, right? I know some of my correspondence, though very, very rarely, has spelling and punctuation errors.

Even the best make mistakes. I saw numerous spelling errors on CNN’s ‘news-bar’ in times past. But we need to make extra effort that what we put out to the public is of the best quality. Of course, there might be a time when an error is made, but not habitually. Programme guides, advertisements, death announcements, notices, vacancies, and the list goes on and on, are a few of the presentations which contain numerous errors.

We are not showing our children the way English should be spelt, written and laid out on the TV screen. And yet we expect them to do better at CXC English Language?

If we are not certain of the spelling of a word, let us keep a reputable Oxford Dictionary at hand, or do like I do − Google the word. The other day, I was challenged as to the existence of the words ‘enthused’ and ‘fierceful’ (even my computer has placed a ‘red line’ underneath ‘fierceful’) but I found out that they do exist and are part of the English language.

Let us get familiar with the uses of the various punctuation marks and we can either take or retake a few courses in Grammar. It would benefit us much, for the pens, the pencils and now more than ever, those keyboards are all making mischief with our written language. Who to blame?

Yours faithfully,
Leon Jameson Suseran


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