Thursday, June 4, 2009

Here Come the Grammar Police...

I am crazy about good grammar. I try not to correct mistakes I see or hear, but privately they eat away at me. I'm trying to work on it...But honestly, why should I? Rules exist for a reason. And while some rules were made to be broken, rules of communication should never be meddled with.

I am consistently shocked when I see a Facebook status or an email riddled with grammatical errors that simply shouldn't be made. College graduates make these mistakes! Teachers make these mistakes! With Google and M-W.com at their fingertips, they still make these mistakes! It sadly seems to be a larger issue than simply typing too fast or "not thinking," because if you know what's correct, you really shouldn't make mistakes. After all, you would never say "eye no" if you meant to say "I know," right?

I wish I could attribute my tendency to abide by the rules to many hours spent diagramming sentences in my middle school English class. (I wish I HAD paid more attention to sentence diagramming, but I was too busy being the class clown...) Instead, I learned to tread carefully and keep my grammar in check after some unsolicited criticism came my way at an early age.

Story #1:
When I was 8 years old, I sent a letter to a friend and wrote something to the effect of "your nice." My 9-years-older sister made fun of me upon seeing this error. She told me that if I didn't understand the difference between "your" and "you're," I would be made fun of for the rest of my life. Thanks, sis! You seared that lesson into my brain for all eternity (and I'm actually very grateful for it). Your criticism proves that you're the best older sister I could hope for!

Story #2:
In 7th grade I wrote a big report on the history and migration of ballet from Europe to the U.S. In addition to the written paper, we students were also required to create a tri-fold presentation board summarizing our research. Someone recommended, orally, that I organize my poster according to "Cause" and "Effect." Not seeing the latter word in writing led me to headline my poster: "Cause" and "Affect." My teacher was humiliated, and made me correct my board before it was allowed to be put in the library with the other students' boards.
Now I know that if a situation affects me, there will be long-term effects.

Here are a few other thoughts...

Who's = CONTRACTION of two words: "Who Is" or "Who Has"
versus
Whose = pronoun, POSSESSIVE form of "who".
(These are completely different words that should never be confused.)
-----
Then = SEQUENTIAL. "I did this, THEN I did that."
versus
Than = COMPARATIVE. "I would rather do this THAN do that."
-----
Further = I like to think of this in terms of physical, mental or temporal EXERTION.
"I had to push myself FURTHER". // "Furthermore, I would like to add..."
My mnemonic connects the "u"s: pUsh fUrther
versus
Farther = Used in reference to DISTANCE.
My mnemonic connects the "A"s: trAvel fArther
-----
Lose = What happens when something is LOST.
versus
Loose = The circumstances when something is NOT SECURE/TIGHT.
-----
Advise = VERB.
versus
Advice = Noun. What you produce when you advise someone.
-----
Decent = ADJECTIVE. When something is good, nice, appropriate.
versus
Descent = NOUN. Lineage (Chinese descent), slope (steep descent), act of descending
-----
A lot = Two words. You would never write "alittle"

Class dismissed.
Cxx.

4 comments:

tamara said...

Oh Christine, you are a girl after my own grammar-loving heart.

what about:
it's - it IS or it HAS.
and
its - belonging to it.

ms. mindless said...

I make grammar errors all the time, mostly because I get super lazy when blogging. I am virtually putting my wrist out to be slapped. sorry!

Laura said...

What about this one?

-"Who's on the team?"
-"John, Sally, and myself."

Wrong.

CJM said...

Lala, I'm guilty of this one for sure! Missed that day in class? Welp, sowwy.