As the world grows older and more complex, the need for communication devices and information technology grows even more. Thankfully, our engineers and technical minds appear always ready with answers to every level of advancement and growth.
I am however, very curious when people use expressions like:
- “Tons of people,” “Tons of money”, “Tons of time”, “Tons of problems”; “Tons of tears”, “Tons of babies”, “Tons of everything……” … All that crazy silly talk of shallow copycats!
- “Amount of people“
- “There’s five reasons why…..”
What we fail to study or have plans for is the salvation and preservation of human language and the communication art. Experts in this field make reference to how e-mail and text messaging have almost eroded the core thrust of communication, and how fast things are going towards irreversible negative lowest ebbs. My contribution in this discussion is a mirror of the slow demise of genuine human language, constructive reasoning and proper conversational aptitude in modern society. More disturbing is the fact that even the most educated and enlightened people are excusing, indulging and even applying these corrosive elements without knowing it.
The most diminished and bastardized language in this regard is the American English. The grammar, the purity and delivery systems are going down by the minute. The art of logical reasoning and constructive thinking are considered the most “un-cool”proposition among the youth and the not-so-very youth, alike. The idea of good penmanship, social order and proper conversational aptitude are totallyforeign to everyone.
I recently picked a line in an article in a highly rated professional magazine:
“…as the CEO of a rapidly growing company. We are adding “tons of great people to…”
I was so shocked and disappointed that I had to react immediately to this article. Some of you must have read my note to that effect. The word “Ton“ is a measure of weight, not a statement of numbers. You can only rightly apply it to humans or even animals, plants, money, time, etc., when talking of a shipload or truckload of them.
Expressions and phrases like “amount of people“, “tons of people” would be superb phrases to use if we could as well consider their twin relatives: “quantity or quantities of people“, “quantities of babies”, “quantities of countries“, “quantities of mothers, fathers“, and what have you. Nothing else can replace the purity and simplicity of sense. And the sound of good language, who can misjudge! The respect and acceptance we seek is in its domain. More people respond positively and responsively to sound of good language than we can ever imagine. Words rightly applied attract answers in measures unprecedented! The use of the words “few, a few, many, lots; groups, or numerous, a number of” will be more appropriate in most of these instances.
Next, the use of proper tenses, singular forms and plural forms of things (nouns/pronouns), and the place of helping nouns/verbs like: Am, Is, Are, Was, Were, Has, Have, Had, can never be replaced by our arrogance, insensitivity and quick acceptance of anything but proper norm and acceptable order.
Modern society appears to fill the blank in the old preposition: “Their glory has become their shame” Honestly, what seems to gain ready acceptance in our communities and societies today are things, actions, expressions and choices that erstwhile were completely unacceptable. Nobody cares for the right. Actually, the more proper you try to be, act or speak, the more repulsed, humiliated and unfitting you become. Who cares about “Proper?”
Steve C. Ibeawuchi, M.Com