Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Grammar Nazi, FTW

I like to think of myself as an open-minded and tolerant person.  I'm a big believer in the whole, 'I'll do my thing, you do yours, and we won't bother each other' philosophy.  Grammar, on the other hand, is a different story.  I'll admit, I'm pretty harsh when it comes to grammar, but I feel like learning the fundamentals of grammar is, for lack of a better word, fundamental.  Written word is sometimes the first impression that a person has of you--don't you want to give them your best effort?  Of course you do, so that's why I've put together this list of five grammatical errors that you really shouldn't make:

1. Your vs You're--Maybe I'm just a grammar Nazi, but I detest people who can't decide which form of 'your' they are supposed to use.  'Your' is possessive, as in, Your car is at my house.  'You're', on the other hand, is a contraction of the word you and are.  I know, I know, shocking.  To correctly employ this word you could say something like You're going to need to come get your car from my house.  Now that you've read it, you have no excuse for ever mixing the two of them up again.  Seriously, I haven't screwed those two words up since I was like 12--it's not rocket science, people.

2. Their, They're, and There--Here we go again, but this time there's a third form of the word to throw in.  'Their' is possessive.  Ex-Their heads are about to implode from the lack of intelligence in the world.  'They're' is a contraction of the words they and are.  Ex-They're moving in today.  'There' refers to a place.  Ex-Please move the car over there.  Piece of cake, right?  Good, now don't screw it up again.

3. Its vs It's--This is one that I've noticed people screw up A LOT.  'Its' is possessive, meaning the item you're talking about belongs to 'it'.  Ex-Can you hand me the camera along with its case?  'It's' is a contraction of it and is--noticing a trend yet?  Ex-It's raining cats and dogs outside.  To figure out which form of the word you want to use, try breaking the contracted word apart.  If you said 'it's' in the first sentence you would be saying "can you hand me the camera along with it is case?"  See, it doesn't even sound correct.

4. Lose vs Loose--'Loose' refers to anything that is not securely in place.  Ex-I've got a loose tooth.  'Lose', on the other hand, refers to the deprivation of something.  Ex-I'm going to lose the grammar war.

5. Affect vs Effect--If you think about this one, it's pretty straightforward.  'Affect' is a verb that means to alter something, whereas 'effect' is normally used as a noun.  Ex-The storm affected everyone adversely.  Ex-No one could believe how horrible the sound effects were.

Read them, study them, do whatever you've got to--but don't screw them up again.  And remember, a lot of these mistakes can be taken care of if you simply take the time to proofread.

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