Has anyone seen my high horse? Because I’m about to get up on it. I’m about to talk about the sad state of grammar in this country. And I’m going to let you on a few secrets that might help you get on the grammar train again.
I used to be a teacher. Not an English teacher, mind you, but having been a teacher, I can’t escape my desire to correct people. I also have this weird grammar-spelling-funkadelic kind of brain. I don’t look for errors. They find me. I can look at a newspaper, a flashing news title on TV, a billboard while driving 70 mph. Whatever the medium, I see bad grammar and spelling (you were supposed to say that in your best “I see dead people” voice).
It’s a blessing and a curse. It makes writing a little easier for me. But I think I sometimes annoy the crap out of people. Friday was NOT one of those days.
I made a casual comment on Twitter. Can’t even remember what it was and it’s not worth looking up. But it was some harmless comment about my grammar annoyances.
Did I ever touch a nerve! Apparently there are many of use grammar nerds out there and suddenly my Twitter stream was overflowing with “Ugh, I hate it when people use this…” or “I never can get this right…” and “Don’t forget these two…”
So without further adieu, I’m going to recount some of the most common grammar mistakes I see and, for the love of all that’s holy, please pay attention this time. Or I will smack your knuckles with a ruler.
LOOSE is not the same as LOSE.
If you LOSE weight, your clothes might become LOOSE. That is, if you’re not a LOSER.
I suspect people pronouce this wrong in their head so remember this:
LOOSE rhymes with NOOSE
LOSE rhymes with CHOOSE.
(P.S. If you are a non-native English speaker, I feel sorry for you. I think someone was drunk when they made up the rules)
YOUR is not the same as YOU’RE
If YOU’RE not careful, I’m going to steal YOUR iPhone4.
YOU’RE is a contraction for YOU ARE. If you can’t replace that word with those two, you’re using it wrong.
YOUR is possessive. Only use it when you are talking about YOUR belongings, thoughts, ideas.
EFFECT is not the same as AFFECT
The EFFECT of alcohol AFFECTS everyone differently. My cousin Joe eats pigs knuckles, for example.
EFFECT is a noun. Something has an EFFECT.
AFFECT is a verb. Something AFFECTS you.
THEY’RE is not the same as THEIR or THERE
THEY’RE going to the movies with THEIR ferret and will buy Cracker Jack when they get THERE.
THEY’RE is a contraction for THEY ARE. ‘Nuff said.
THEIR is possessive. This belongs to them.
THERE refers to a place or position. Or can make you feel better “There, there, dear, not everyone can wear fuschia and look good”
Now I’m going to totally blow your mind. This one makes perfect sense and no sense at the same time (non-native English speakers, move along. No one will expect you to get this right).
ITS is not the same as IT’S
IT’S a shame that the oil company hasn’t cleaned up ITS mess.
IT’S is another contraction which stands for IT IS.
ITS is the possessive meaning something belongs to IT. This is tough because if something belonged to Rudy, it would be Rudy’s. If it belonged to Rapunzel, it would be Rapunzel’s. But if it belongs to IT, it would be ITS.
Yeah, I think I’m done for today. If you have read to this point, congratulations. You are quite possibly a grammar nerd like me. If you haven’t read to this point, then you must be a LOSER (not LOOSER) and I can call you that because you’re not reading anyway.
Are your eyeballs still intact and your brain neurons firing? Good. Because I’ve just scratched the surface of this stuff. I had enough responses on Twitter to keep me going for weeks. I’ll see how long I feel like torturing you.
(Final note: If any of the above photos made you cringe in the slightest, you’re one of us)