Is Technology Making Us Stupid?

I love the convenience of online news. Its immediacy keeps me up-to-date, and because I do my best to be conscious of living sustainably, I appreciate knowing that no tree has been sacrificed for my information consumption.

A July 25, 2014, article on huffingtonpost.com caught my attention: 8 Ways Technology Makes You Stupid. Some of it reinforced what I already know:

  • Staring at a screen (laptop, tablet or smartphone) can disrupt our ability to sleep.
  • We’re more easily distracted by what we perceive as a need to frequently check our electronic devices.

Other negatives relate to compromised ability to remember information we’ve “consumed.” Even GPS is suspect because it deprives us of the ability to develop a part of our brain that can help avert memory problems later in life.

Because we also know that illustrations and movement attract more attention than just words, this article includes five animated graphics. Here’s a caption from one:

How can you read this? There’s no pictures!

It triggered the ruthless editor in me to write this post. Had the writer of that caption not used an abbreviation, it would read:

How can you read this! There is no pictures!

IS no PICTURES?

Using the contraction there’s when we should use there are is possibly the most common grammatical error I see — and hear — day after day in both writing and speaking.

I recognize that language evolves, but oh how I wish we could remember something this basic: there’s is not an acceptable contraction for there are.

Kathy Watson
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Kathy Watson

Kathy has a love/hate relationship with grammar; she loves words and the punctuation that helps them make sense, yet she hates those pesky rules. A self-proclaimed ruthless editor, she prefers standard usage guidelines of The Associated Press Stylebook. Her easy-to-use Grammar for People Who Hate Rules helps people write and speak with authority and confidence. She encourages and welcomes questions and comments. (Email)

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Kathy Watson
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