i realize that we all have our strengths and weaknesses. i realize that not everyone is as hopelessly (annoyingly?) devoted to writing correctly as some. and, i realize that we all have the occasional typo. but, see, here's the thing - we live in a world with spell-check, grammar-check, and instant connections to people who can proofread for us. meaning, i just don't really think there's an excuse for poor grammar and punctuation/bad spelling. it absolutely kills me in blog-land and on facebook. kills me. and i find it quite often in the real world, too. i don't think you need to know every rule in the book (commas themselves can get confusing in a complex sentence), but at least know the basics.
before i lost all the photos on my blackberry, i had a nice little photo collection of incorrect items in print and on signs. it somehow made me feel better to document their painfully blatant errors. it's sad i can't share them with you. and i'm not the only one all of this dreadful grammar/spealling bothers - my friend lindsey (who is a very wise high schooler) recently said that she often wanted to tell boys they would be much more attractive if they just learned how to spell. so true. not that you asked for it, but here are a few of my most major pet peeves...
1. the your and you're conundrum. i realize this is apparently very difficult for some people, but it drives me insane. incorrect use of "your" is only one of the many truly terrible things about this shirt above, but still, you'd think someone along the line of production would have caught this.
your = possessive (as in, the noun belongs to that person): "that is your shirt.", "can i borrow your car?", "i loved your present."
you're = you are: "i'm so glad you're coming tonight.", "you're so funny."
so simple, yet so seemingly difficult.
2. woman vs. women. this one really isn't hard at all, yet i see it often. even a headline in a magazine was misprinted recently.
woman = singular. like one female.
women = plural. like a group of females.
3. the there/their/they're conundrum. again, it is killing me.
there = a place/location: "we're going there after lunch.", "i'll meet you there at 11:30."
their = possessive: "that's their table.", "i was going to take their offer before i received yours."
they're = they are. that's all. so easy, right? "they're coming over after the movie."
4. effect vs. affect. this is probably my favorite one in the bunch. and by favorite, i mean, i literally have to suppress the urge to correct people on blogs/facebook.
effect = noun. as in, it is the result of something. "the effects of using poor grammar are dangerous."
affect = verb. as in, it is causing results. "your poor grammar is really affecting our friendship."
5. please, please, please stop ending sentences with prepositions. this one is acceptable in every day speech with friends/family, but do you know when it's not acceptable? in a presentation at work. or, on the nightly news. not okay. and never, ever, ever in professional writing. i know some say that this rule is a myth, but i'm going to go ahead and say that you sound smarter and more sophisticated if you follow this rule. and, bonus, i will think you're cool. here are some examples:
bad: "who did you speak with?"
good: "with whom did you speak?"
bad: "who did you give that cake to?"
good: "to whom did you give that cake?"
bad: "which desk did you leave my coffee cup on?"
good: "on which desk did you leave my coffee cup?"
see? it's so easy. now you try it.
6. and, finally, the apostrophe rule. an apostrophe signals possession, not more than one of something. one of my favorite examples? a sign in downtown concord that reads: "artist studio's available." i really can't even stand to look at it. the studios are owning nothing in that phrase. instead, there are more than one of them available. so really, the sign should read "artist studios available." the same rule applies above. i'm pretty sure those tats aren't owning anything. apostrophes are appropriate only when someone owns something: "those are sarah's grapes." see? the grapes belong to sarah, so she gets an apostrophe. there are multiple grapes, but they own nothing so they don't have an apostrophe.
...aaaand that's just the tip of the iceberg. i'm tempted to do a weekly grammar lesson post focusing on the countless errors i see, but i'm pretty sure the few readers i have would then also be lost. anyway, the book, eats, shoots and leaves has been on my reading list for quite some time now and apparently the british author was inspired to write it after being driven nearly mad by poor grammar and punctuation. i feel like we should probably be friends.
forgive me for taking such a long time on my soapbox this evening, but i just couldn't hold it in anymore. i'll leave you with this facebook status i saw a few days ago. if you can't figure out what's wrong with it, then i'd advise you to maybe figure out how to use spell check on your computer. and maybe stop posting facebook statuses yourself until then...
"i really hate it when people don't get the whole there/their/they're consept."
oh. my. gosh.
images 1.pinterest 2.tumblr 3.flickr 4.abcnews.com