It is the age of spell check, no-boundaries e-mail, and the decline of education. But that does not mean we should all be ignorant. Besides, ignorance is no excuse.
What I'm talking about is the abhorable grammar in use today. In speaking, certainly, but I also mean in writing. Homonyms, in particular. Sound familiar? It's something we learn in like first grade. I cannot for the life of me understand how someone can use "they're" in place of "their." Or "you're" instead of "your." How?!?!?!
A lot of what I learned about grammar and English actually came from when I was studying French. I think a lot of people take their foreign language requirements in grade and high school for granted. Most people aren't there to learn, just to pass. If I didn't hate oral presentations & speaking in front of the class so much, I would have taken a few foreign language classes in college.
And no one is a perfect writer, I'm not saying that. One day I told Aron (our staffer) what a good writer I thought he was (uses the right tenses and words, puts punctuation inside the quotation marks when appropriate). Just that day his teacher had passed out his essay as an example of what (or how) not to write. So everyone has off days.
At the beginning of the second semester of my junior year of college, my professor was finding some web pages I could design for credit. I asked him if he could find one more credit, so I would be able to drop my modern European literature class. "I want to drop it bad," I said. He handed me a special permission form to get my project credits but told me, "Maybe you should stay in it, then you'd know you want to drop it badly." I explained it was mostly poetry and wouldn't do me any good, and he agreed, but I felt stupid. I should have known that.
For you gramatically challenged folks, here's a quick reference:
An apostrophe (') means a contraction or possession.
You are cool. = You're cool.
It would have been nice if you would have done that. = It'd have been nice if you'd have done that. or It would've been nice if you would've done that.
It is Bob's. = It's Bob's.
Your = A possessive of you (it belongs to you).
Here is an Everclear CD for your collection.
its = something belonging to the pronoun "it."
This is not the same as the contraction "it's" ("it's" = "it is"). "Its" is the possessive of the pronoun "it."
The cat licked its fur.
The company decided to reverse its policy.
Whose is an adjective showing possession; who's is the contraction who is or who has.
Whose bike is this?
Who's winning the hockey game?
THESE ARE NOT WORDS: "your's," "their's," "our's"!!!!!!
Too = excessive, a lot. ("a lot" is always two words, by the way)
I won tickets to the Warped Tour. I really wanted to see Bob Burnquist skate. Some people think I like him too much.
Nine times out of ten, punctuation goes inside the quotation marks.
Commas and periods almost certainly go inside the quotation marks in a sentence. Exclamation points and question marks are a little trickier; they are only enclosed in the quotes if they are relevant to the quoted material.
I love the new Everclear song, "Father of Mine"! (the exclamation point is not part of the song's title, therefore it goes outside the quotes)
The interviewer asked, "Who's the person you admire the most?" (the quoted string is a question, so the mark goes inside)
Again, this is not meant to be ... whatever. I'm still lazy and make mistakes, using words like "'cause," "gonna," "gotta." I drop the "g" from some "ing" words, I still mix up "awhile" and "a while," and I've gotten into the bad habit of using all lowercase letters. There are probably errors in here, and I don't even know that "grammatically" is a word! :)
I know a grammar book isn't exactly interesting reading, but try having one on hand for reference. And a good dictionary is essential. I have a beautiful huge Webster's one on one side of the desk, and a little Webster's Desk Reference Library (Grammar Guide, Dictionary, Thesaurus, Spelling Dictionary, and Factfinder) on the other side. When I was younger I used to get word-a-day vocabulary building calendars. If you hadn't guessed, I would have gotten my degree in some field of English, if the job options weren't so low. So maybe it's a personal thing, but it's still a problem. And a potential employer or school will frown upon it too.
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