I absolutely despise the “Internet Generation”. I know that every generation thinks the next one is a bunch of no-good kids, but the current generation of younglings are just awful. The technological boom that occurred just before they started school has caused them to become very different than previous generations due their constantly being connected to everything and everyone. One of the worst aspects of these kids is that despite having the world’s information at hand, they have grown to be illiterate, uneducated, lazy, and just plain stupid.
One would think that if a person had information on any topic available at any time, they would be super smart because they don’t have to wait to learn it in school. Unfortunately this has had the opposite effect. Young people figure that since the information is always available, then they don’t need to bother learning anything because they can just look it up. That couldn’t be a more wrong way to think.
It presume that they will always be able to look up whatever information they need even though that is not guaranteed. There have been network outages, electrical outages, phone/computer problems, and so on and so forth. Worse, the times when you really need information are the times when you more than likely cannot look it up. If you are stuck in the middle of nowhere, trapped in a snowstorm, stuck in a post-apocalyptic world of any of countless varieties, then you cannot just “Google it” or look it up on Wikipedia. Then what‽ How are you going to figure out how to purify water to drink, how to make a battery to charge your phone to call for help, how to make penicillin to avoid dying of an infection? I bet you wish you bothered to actually learn these things now.
Another problem with the Internet generation’s laziness aside from their general lack of knowledge, is their illiteracy. Texting has led to a form of “1337speak” which super-abbreviates everything. Instead of typing out full words and sentences, they type short strings of characters that represent actual words and characters. While this made sense in the early days of mobile communications due to SMS’ 140 character limit or even a little later when phone carriers charged by the byte, it is unnecessary and even harmful today. Children grow up using text-speak at ridiculous proportions. They exacerbate things by not paying attention in school, which means that text-speak becomes the norm for them. It is a wonder they can even read real, full text.
One all too common example of their illiteracy is the Internet being littered with occurrences of should of, could of, and would of. Obviously what has happened is that these youth have heard people use the terms should’ve, would’ve, and could’ve and simply transcribed the sounds that they heard, not realizing that they are contractions for should have, would have, and could have. How on Earth do this kids have grown up, not having heard the un-contracted terms or learned about using contractions in school‽
Some may attempt to explain it as being due to the poster being foreign and English being their second language, however that is a specious explanation because it is quite clear when someone is a native English speaker or not. In most cases, the people who type the aforementioned bastardizations are indeed native English speakers who are simply illiterate. Even accounting for constant-access information and text-speak, there is no excuse for (unintentionally) using flat-out wrong language.
Yet another example of the Internet generation’s illiteracy and laziness is their terrible spelling. Even when they are typing full words and sentences instead of hyper-abbreviations and acronyms, they still spell abhorrently. Granted, they probably don’t pay attention in English class and instead just text their friends, but even that is not an excuse because their stupid phones and computers almost always have a built-in spell-checker these days, so they are just being extra stupid by typing incorrectly and ignoring the spell-checker’s vain attempts to make them sound at least moderately intelligent.
I fear that one day, this incorrect usage may become accepted and even make its way into dictionaries due to common, widespread usage. This thought is particularly offensive and inexcusable. Just because a lot of people do something wrong does not make it right. De facto rules are common, but forcing a change to the rules due to mass ignorance is disgusting.
English has always been a mercurial bastard language to begin with, but this sort of apathetic and blasé attitude towards sloppy usage will only make it twist and mutate into something even more inconsistent and sloppy. Foreigners frequently complain about English being so hard to learn as it is; imagine if it was even less structured! (I used to say that with English, it doesn’t matter how or even what you say, so long as you get your message across, and that may work for an informal language like 1337zp34+, but certainly not for an official language.)
As far as I am concerned, the only acceptable usage for “*ould of” is something like:
I was just wondering; could ‘Of Mice and Men’ be made into—another—movie?