Sunday, April 28, 2013

Top Ten Grammar Gaffes

I was asked by fellow author and friend, Elizabeth Seckman, to put together an entry for her blog. She said, “A top ten list is always popular. Maybe you could give the top ten most common grammar errors.” Well, she must know how I think because the following blog entry veritably flowed from me. I don’t know that these are the worst or the most common or even my biggest pet peeves. They are simply what happened when I started to write. So the following are the Top Ten Graffar Gammes—I mean Grammar Gaffes. (I actually mistakenly typed “graffar gammes” and thought the error fit the posting nicely).

1.       Your and you’re.  Your going to be scratching you’re head when you read this blog post, but if your just able to remember that “you’re” always means “you are,” then you’ll be sure to spell both words good from now on.

2.       Good and well.  “Good” is always an adjective, like … good Lord, I don’t spell good. I know, I should have used “well” at the end of that sentence because “well” is an adverb used to describe a verb. You actually spell “well.” And spelling well would make you feel good, wouldn’t it? No, it wouldn’t. You don’t feel good because even though “good” is an adjective, you are supposed to use “well” as an adjective when its referring to health.

3.       It’s and its. I’m messing with all of you as I misuse these words, but its important for me to show you that correct spelling has it’s rules. “It’s” always means “it is” and is never possessive. Possessive nouns use apostrophes but possessive pronouns do not. Apostrophe’s, by the way, are not used to form plural’s. That bit of advice was free. Please try not to loose your mind as I continue.

4.        Lose and loose. You do not loose your mind, nor should you ever climb a ladder with loose shoelaces. Safety first, and all that. I understand that the “oo” sound is the same sound we use when we pronounce “lose,” but I’m going to loose my mind if people don’t stop misspelling that word. I see it alot.

5.       A lot. Yep, it’s two words. Alot of times, I see it as one. It makes me want to scream—alot. It’s always two words. We don’t say bring me alincolnlog, or I’m opening acupboarddoor, or I’m chewing afishstick. “A” is an adjective. “Lot” is the noun it’s describing. And by the way, it would be nice to see that their are people who use “all right” as two words in they’re spelling too.

6.       There, their, and they’re. Are you getting frustrated with me? (Why? Did you not notice that I spelled “to, too, and two” correctly all three times in the above sentence while you were focusing on the misspelled words?) Surveys show that nine out of ten doctors recommend amputation of fingers every time “there, their, and they’re” are written or typed incorrectly. Not really…but a few amputations might go a long way toward solving the problem. “They’re” always means “they are.” I don’t see why people ever spell that incorrectly. “Their” is a possessive pronoun that means “it belongs to them.” The word is spelled correct as “there” in every other instance their is (I crack myself up).

7.       “Ly” has a use. Yes, if we want to spell correct, and write fluent, and communicate proper, and impress intelligent ladies sufficient, we should learn that “ly” is a suffix that is added to an adjective to turn it correctly into an adverb. And adverbs—those “ly” words—should have been used to describe the action verbs I used in those horrifying previous sentences to tell how the action was done. “Ly” is a useful little tool to show the opposite sex that we took our educations seriously…literally.

8.       Literally. This word actually has a literal definition. It means to adopt the exact meaning—nothing figurative…nothing exaggerated. It’s true—a strict interpretation of the words. I mean, I literally want to die when people use this word incorrectly. My head literally explodes and my eyes literally bug out of my head. I don’t have no other words to express the pain I feel.

9.       Double negatives. Some people, I swear, don’t know nothing because if I took those previous words literally, I would have to assume that if people don’t know nothing, they must know something. So if I want to say that people don’t know a single thing, I’d say they don’t know anything. What I’m trying to say in this blog is I don’t want no more bad grammar and spelling. It effects my mood.

10.   Effect and affect. My suggestion here is that when one of these two words comes up, just flip a coin and write something. Who cares if it’s correct or not because unless you know grammar, it’ll never make sense (I wasn’t being serious). “Affect” is a verb—an action verb. “Action” starts with “A” and so does “affect.” The word “effect” is a noun. If you can put “an” or “the” in front of it, it tells you a noun is coming. I like to remember “the effect” with “the” pronounced like “thee” and then there are two long “E” sounds in a row. Thee effect. That’s how I remember it, anyway. 

There, wasn’t that unpleasant? Grammar and spelling are pains—pains that nearly drive us all crazy. If you’re trying to get your grammar right, however, it would be a good idea to learn the rules well. It’s definitely possible to learn a word’s spelling and its usage. You don’t have to lose your mind or jar your brains loose over this issue, but there are certainly a lot of rules to know. There are people who know their grammar because those rules, well, they’re learnable—so I carefully chose ten to teach that may not literally drive me nuts, but they certainly bother me. I, personally, don’t ever want to make any of those mistakes. The effects could dramatically affect how people perceive me, and I’d like for people to think I’m an intelligent guy—even if they think I have a weird sense of humor.