Sunday, February 22, 2015

28 Days of Writing 19 : Grammar Gripes

Given that I'm an English teacher I spend a fair amount of my day trying to convince my students of the worth of good spelling and grammar. The point of written language is to communicate meaning to others and while I accept that it is possible to glean some meaning from poorly spelt, randomly put together sentences, there is also a lot lost in the translation of twisted homophones, missing punctuation and lazy pronunciation.

The need for clarity in our writing has never been more important. Texting and social media posting makes up a huge amount of our communication these days and the opportunity for our mistakes to be seen and judged exists on a global scale.

I admit that I do judge people by their spelling and grammar. I can't help it. A poorly edited status update makes me shudder. Ill worded responses to controversial topics elicit a smirk. Lack of punctuation sets my teeth on edge. In my opinion, taking the time to edit your writing on social media is akin to dressing appropriately for different occasions or using good manners.

I understand that not everyone cares as much as I do. And I admit that I, too, occasionally make an error. In fact, sometimes I worry so much about whether or not a word is spelt correctly that I rearrange a whole sentence to avoid it. However, in the interests of grammar pedants everywhere, here's my top 10 list of "please don'ts".

Thanks to Grammarly for the accompanying images.

1. Write your when you mean you're - This is just bone laziness. It drives me NUTS. You're means you are. You can get this right people!
2. Put an apostrophe in a plural - There is NEVER an apostrophe in a plural. Just because you see an s doesn't mean you bung an apostrophe in there!

3. Use a lower case i for the pronoun I - Sometimes you must have to turn your auto spell off to get this wrong.
4. Say pacifically when you mean specific - I do try not to laugh.

5. Put a double m in tomorrow - Tom Morrow is someone's name, not the day after this.
6. Refer to my friends and me, (yes, that should be me, not I), as yous - This word is spelt ewes and they are sheep, not a group of people to whom I belong.
7. Say seen and done without their helpers, have or had.
8. Put an X in espresso or especially.
9. Use the wrong there/their/they're

10. Use 'of' instead of 'have'. Think it through. I'm pretty sure that's lazy articulation as well as poor grammar.

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