Tuesday, August 12, 2008

371st Post - Get It Right!

I read quite a bit. Not as much as I used to. Before I was dating, back in those lonely days, I read voraciously. I'd read before classes in university, in the student union building, in the car after classes were over (and the car was parked). You get the idea.

I used to correct people's English. "No", I'd say. "You say 'It is I' not 'It's me'!". Or, "Don't say 'Between you and I'; say 'Between you and me'!". And don't get me started on the times people confuse "who" and "whom".

Because I wanted friends, because I was ticking people off, because I matured and stopped caring less about how people said things and more about what the content was, I pretty much stopped correcting people's speaking and writing.

Pretty much.

There are still a couple of mistakes people make in their writing that, when I see them in a blog or an e-mail or whatever, I stop reading the whatever. I figure that if they don't respect me enough to know the correct way to express such fundamental things, then I have more important things to do with my time than read the whatever.

Would you like to know what a couple of those things are? Sure.

1. People who don't know the difference between "it's" and "its". They are two entirely different words. If you write something like, "I enjoyed the movie very much. It's strengths far outweigh it's weaknesses", then you lost me with the first word of the second sentence. I'm going to bail out on whatever you are writing. When you write "it's", then that is a short form of "it is". "It's a great movie. You have to see it." makes perfect sense and is grammatically correct. But "It's strengths far outweigh it's weaknesses" is just wrong as the correct form of the possessive for an object is "its".

2. When people confuse "they're", "their" and "there". "They're going to be happy because their car is over there", once again, is correct. "They're" is short for "they are". "There" is the opposite of "here". And "their" is the possessive for a plural person, place, or thing.

3. Learn when and how to use a comma, people. As the story goes: Alexander III personally wrote the death sentence of a prisoner with the following words: "Pardon impossible, to be sent to Siberia." His wife Dagmar (daughter of Christian IX, king of Denmark) believed the man innocent. She saved his life by transposing the comma. The sentence then read: "Pardon, impossible to be sent to Siberia."

The simple transposition of the comma in that sentence was enough to have the man set free.

So, don't tell me that it doesn't matter where commas are used, or whether they're used. It does.

What is your English grammar pet peeve?



Kirk said...

My English grammar pet peeve: When people use the word "of" when they mean "have."

Bevboy said...

I agree completely. I should of thought of that one myself.

Tee hee!

Do I know you? Have you posted here before?


adSimba said...

it's true, but it is a natural evoloution, in speaking replacing " 'ave " with of, but in writing it's unpardonable

Bevboy said...

Thanks for writing, adSimba.

Where are you in this great world, anyway? Have you been reading my blog for long?