I usually write super serious and intense blog posts about life, death, love and other mysteries, but I thought I’d change it up for today and share something a bit lighter. I will say, however, that you should read at your own discretion. This post may annoy you. Or teach you something. Or not.
Not sure if you’ve noticed but the writing quality (and ability) in the U.S. has deteriorated ever since the dawn of the instant messaging, e-mailing and texting age. Many people like to write shorthand; not the official one, but just a chaotic combination of letters and numbers that might shorten any word that’s more than 3 letters long. For a grammar stickler like myself, this is quite disconcerting. In fact, my friend gave me the title of “Grammar Fairy” not too long ago, and though I can’t really say that I deserve the title (there are many grammar rules that I’ve forgotten and much more that I probably never learned), I can say that there are certain grammar errors that have become pet peeves of mine, just because I see them so often. So I thought I’d mention a few of the most common errors that I’ve personally seen in the last few years:
1. IT’S vs. ITS – This, hands down, may be the most common error I have seen this past year. I think it’s because I’ve been tweeting a lot more this year and it’s so prevalent in Twitterland. I’ve also seen it on blogs of well-known authors and others, in books, news articles, etc. I know you know, but I will reiterate. “It’s” is only used to shorten “it is“. If you want to denote possession, leave out the apostrophe. I know it’s confusing because the apostrophe is used in other cases to denote possession, but this isn’t one of those cases. Examples of correct usage: This smartphone has its own apps. It’s hot today!
2. DEFINITELY – I see this word being misspelled ALL THE TIME. This one’s easy. It’s the word “definite” (think “finite” and “define”) with the letters “LY” at the end. It’s not definately, difinitely, defiantly or any other combination except definitely.
3. YOUR vs. YOU’RE – This one’s very similar to #1 above. “Your” is possessive. Your weird sister, your dog, your iPad. “You’re” is a combination of “you” and “are”. You’re brilliant. You’re annoying. You’re going the wrong way.
Okay, just one more.
4. THEIR vs. THERE vs. THEY’RE – Triple whammy! Gotta love American English! Again. “Their” is possessive. Their family, their bank account, their homemade pasta. [Omg, I spelled “their” way too much and now it looks so weird to me. Does that ever happen to you?? Moving on.] “There” denotes location. There is my awkward turtle. He’s dancing the running man over there in the corner. Why can’t we play there? Finally, “they’re” contracts the words, “they” and “are”. They’re here! They’re not supposed to be here right now. However, they’re coming no matter what you say.
I hope you’ve enjoyed Grammar 101 with Cate Song, Grammar Fairy. Please come again.