Reader-submitted question: How do you feel about the idiots on Facebook who do not understand verb tenses? I recently saw "Susan Smith is hangover." The last time I checked, it would be impossible for Sue to be "hangover." Do you get as angry as I do and actually call these guys on their stupid mistakes?
Signed TOIUOT (Tired Of Improper Use Of Tenses)
I probably get more angry than you do, but no, I don't usually call them on it. Facebook idiots are civilians. They are not targets for Little Miss Know-it-All.
Facebook contributes to the problem by requiring all statuses to be in the present progressive tense, like this:
- Megan is bleeding to love her.
- Megan is looking out for love in the night so still.
- Megan is going her own way.
Some people don't understand this. These people end up with something approaching the title of this post. You stare at it for a moment, furrow your brow, and wonder if you should gently explain how to use the word "is". However, I do not recommend this, because your friend may change his status to something like "[name of friend withheld] is a little concerned that people are checking his status for grammatical errors -- you know who you are". You probably wouldn't want that.
Your hangover friend, however, is in a different category: a person who does not even understand the difference between verbs, adjectives and nouns. This person needs remedial help and should probably stay off the Internet entirely for the next few years while he studies grade-four English.
Facebook statuses do cause me a lot of grief, but fortunately it is not for the same reason. Most of my friends have figured out how to use the present progressive tense, so I don't have to pull Little Miss Know-it-All out very often. I am more concerned about the people who provide far too much information about themselves. This is a bit like the semipornographic photos of your former roommate, except that you can't avoid statuses. For a while, I was getting an updated list of one person's evening plans in much more detail than Prudence McPrude could handle. Even now, I squirm when I look at this person's status. I don't want to know that she's (wink, wink) tired, and I don't want to know WHAT the heck "crack filling" could be.