Wednesday, December 12, 2007

English 101

I have a pet peeve, and it involves spelling. I have really begun to notice it more, as The Offspring is writing papers for school. I have to look them over, and make sure she doesn't use the words "u" and "idk" and "b/c" in her writing. You would be surprised how often I have to correct her.

But even worse, I think the 'net phenomenon, along with the rampant use of email, has hampered our ability to spell. As a child whose letters to my grandmother were proofread before they were sent out (my mother knew my grandmother had impeccable spelling skills), I have been raised to be meticulous about the written word. Here is your lesson for the day!

If it belongs to you, it is yours. But no apostrophe is needed, as with the other possessive pronouns, such as "his," "hers," and "theirs." If you ARE going to do something, then use the contraction: YOU'RE. If you are in doubt as to which word to use, substitute YOU ARE in the sentence. If YOU ARE doesn't work, use the non-contracted YOUR.

I admit that the English language is extremely difficult. No doubt about it. Usually, when you are faced with a vowel-consonant-followed-by-"e" combo, the vowel is long vs. short. The "a" in "ace," and the "i" in "ice" sound like the name of the vowel. But this next mistake pops up EVERYWHERE, and it annoys me to no end. If you watch television, you can save yourself. If you can't find something, you have LOST it. People write that they "loose" something, which makes me want to stab myself in the eye. You "LOSE" something - and then it is "LOST." Notice how each word has ONE "O?" Remember the show "LOST," and you will never spell "lose" incorrectly again. "Loose" has an extra "o" - and the way to remember this is that if your pants are "loose," then there is room for an extra "o." Same with loose women.

End of lecture. And if I've spelled anything incorrectly, I'm sure you'll let me know. I know this post is particularly snarky, but I'm just trying to raise my site hits to the level of the ever-snarky Willowtree.


Matt-Man said...

As far as grammar is concerned, my skin crawls when a person says, "I got it FOR free." One doesn't get something FOR free. They get it free. Okay, I'm done whining and I love your's blog Tigger. Cheers!!

Anonymous said...

OH MY GOD. Thank you for providing this public service.

My latest grammatical pet peeve:

The phrase, people, is "for all INTENTS and PURPOSES". I don't know who decided it should be "for all INTENSIVE purposes", but I would like to hit that person with a shovel.

That's all. Thank you. ;)

Sandy said...

Since you did such an excellent job regarding spelling, let me jump on the grammar bandwagon. My pet peeve: as per.

Thanks for a forum.

M@ said...

Tigger, the novel died decades ago and we're moving into a more visual, less literary media environment--which is not necessarily a bad thing, I don't know.

I am fortunate to have grown up in an environment lacking cable television or social distractions... just a library of the English and American canons.

M@ said...

Is she serious about the "b/c?"

She needs a spanking. Not like that. I mean, by her parent.

Kaycie said...

You forgot there, their, and they're. It drives me insane when someone uses those incorrectly. OH! And what about its and it's. That one is so simple, yet I see it used incorrectly every day online or in the newspaper. Not the one Laurie (Three Dog Blog) edits, of course.

I do think there are things I do that might annoy people. I use gonna instead of going to, or wanna instead of want to, and other things like that when writing very informally on a blog or something. But in a paper or a letter or anything else formal? Nevah!

Desert Songbird said...

Let's not forget its/it's, either. Argh! My son is learning this stuff in third grade!!! Makes me wonder how many adults slept through third grade.

I agree with you; I think many people have drifted far away from formal writing. They fail to remember that, at times, formal writing is what is needed.

They also fail to remember that with homophones, sometimes using the incorrect version can change the meaning of a sentence.

ChrisB said...

Oh dear I should probably go and reread all my posts. My eldest daughter is always pulling me up on my grammar. I know all the rules but somehow fail miserably when I blog in a hurry~ which almost always!

Willowtree said...

I know what you mean, that's how I feel when people can't spell centre, colour, neighbour, faecal or anaesthetic.

My pet peeve is "General consensus of opinion" a consensus is a general agreement of opinion, so the phrase is simply "consensus"

And if I hear one more newsreader say 'vunerable' instead of vulnerable I'll put my foot through the screen (I won't really, that will just cost me money, but you get my point).

Kaycie said...

Did you notice that Willowtree spelled all of those things he's fussing about WRONG?!?


theotherbear said...

I could not agree more.

By the way, what is idk?

Heidi said...

Thank you! I can't imagine how people get loose and lose confused, but I certainly appreciate your bringing it to the forefront.

I'm the kind of person who drives down the freeway and points out all the spelling, grammar, and usage errors to my husband. He really loves it . . .

Heidi said...

I would imagine Willowtree is British, and therefore spelled them all correctly. I love the British spellings!

Willowtree said...

I'm not British, but I do speak ENGLISH and that's how they are spelled (or spelt) in English.

TOB, as far as I'm aware idk means 'I don't know'.

laurie said...

oh boy, misplaced and unnecessary apostrophes drive me wild too, tiggerlane.

i have even seen her's and hi's.


Karmyn R said...

Yes - all of these are aggravating. But do you know what drives me the craziest?

I seen it yesterday.

NO: I saw it yesterday.

Thank you for letting me gripe.

Dreaming What ifs...

Tiggerlane said...

matt-man - thanks for pointing out another one!

melissa - you have schooled me - LOVE IT!

sandy - as in, "as per your request?"

m@ - this has to be the most intelligent comment you've ever made on my blog - thanks!

kaycie - you are SO RIGHT! I thought about the "its" vs "it's" tack - there are many more - thanks for the contribution!

desert songbird - too true - and I think the fact that we don't READ much (unless it is the ticker on the news channel or blogs) contributes to the problem.

chrisb - It's okay - on a blog, it's not formal writing...don't feel bad! But I may provide future lessons.

willowtree - you are right. I saw a video today on youtube that correctly spelled anaesthetist, which shocked me - but then, it was made by Brits.

kaycie - you're going to find out how snarky willowtree can be!

theotherbear - willowtree is right again - it stand for "I don't know." My kid used "ho" today, and I was like, "Who you callin' 'ho'?"

heidi - you and I would make great driving buddies! I even correct the grammar of news anchors while I'm watching the news. And you're right about WT.

and willowtree - you are a modicum of correctness today. Now tear THAT phrase apart!

laurie - amazing, isn't it? I haven't even started on the use of the word "irregardless." ARGH!

Tiggerlane said...

karmyn r - we cross-posted! I hear ya - we have some fun ones in the South, too...maybe I should start a series? I have LOTS of material!

Kaycie said...

Heidi, I was baiting Willowtree.

Okay, Willowtree, if you say so. But you'd flunk spelling here in Oklahoma.

And Tiggerlane, 'irregardless' is just not a word. Well, you'll find it in the dictionary, but I still maintain it's not a real word.

Willowtree said...

Ok Tiff, I'd be inclined to say that I was a paragon of correctness rather than a modicum.

modicum meaning a small, moderate or token amount; whereas paragon means an exemplary person, a model of correct behaviour and integrity.

Kaycie, how could I flunk spelling in Oklahoma, they don't even teach it there, ergo there are no tests!

Tiger Lamb Girl said...

It definitely happens a lot!

You forgot to add 'a lot'. It drives me nuts when I see it spelled 'alot'.

And I'm with Melissa on the shovel thing, lol.

Tiggerlane said...

kaycie - ooooh! I love Willowtree-Baiting! And you're right, it's NOT a word - and I had no idea it was in the dictionary. Idiots.

willowtree - I said modicum, not paragon, since you're spelling isn't "hip" anymore. Only your accent.

tiger lamb girl - I may have future lessons - I'm remembering SO many errors that people make that peeve me!

Kaycie said...

Contrary to popular belief, we no longer live in longhouses and tipis here in the Sooner State, WT.

Kaytabug said...

Ok this just makes me feel stupid. I know I make loads of grammatical errors on my blog and in comments...spelling that firefox doesn't pick up as well. I do think I slept through 3rd grade, possibly 4th, maybe 5th.... I still type and write alot and then self correct. I think it is just a bad habit. I will just look at these posts as refresher courses! Thanks!

Pamela said...

I worked in the Securities Industry during the 70's.

We had a communication device that required our words be abbreviated.

I still find myself writing DK (don't know) and other shorthand that today's kids think they created.

"Short-hand" WAS a subject in high school, and that was the ultimate challenge.

Robocop said...

idk wat UR talkin' about. I C nuttin' wrong w/her spellin'

Angelina said...

Strangely enough, I think writing on the internet has improved my spelling. It's mostly because of spell check, we have arguments between us which forces me to open up my giant dictionary. You'd be surprised how often I win. It keeps me on my toes and I have a little game to try and write a post each day with as few spelling errors as possible.

I love this subject.

Kaycie said...

How are we doing with raising your comment count?

Tiggerlane said...

kaycie - I AM surprised you have electricity, tho - you must not be ice-laden.

kaytabug - I would never go as far as to correct another blogger - I know our society is to blame for these 'lost' skills. But I'll be happy to provide more lessons!

pamela - I am always envious when one of my friends writes in shorthand - it is a lost art, to be sure! And I love that you are so cutting-edge...the kids have NO CLUE!

robocop - tell her science teacher that! Cute comment, btw!

angelina - actually, I'm NOT surprised by how often you win - you are a GREAT writer! I bow before your awesomeness!

kaycie - I NEVER thought a post about a pet peeve would create such hooplah! And to think, I almost didn't write this, b/c it sounded so petty and snarky!

Sauntering Soul said...

I am also guilty of using poor grammar when I blog, but never when I'm at work or writing more formally.

The attorney I worked for at my last firm thought its' was a word. That drove me insane! I would correct it in documents and she'd go back in the document and change it again. Gah.

Bond said...

Matt and Songbird beat me to the other two that make me just want to #1 though is your/you're...

The one I even struggle with at times is then/than...and I did not sleep through the third grade!

Dan said...

I cant blame u. I h8t when folks mispell 2. Your write to b mad. But who really looses? They loose, not u.

Tiggerlane said...

sauntering soul - I can only imagine how irritating that must have been! Maybe its vs. it's should be my next lesson.

bond - I have problems with lie, lay, and the -ing forms and when to use them. I'm not perfect, but striving.

dan - AAARRGGHH!! You comment is like nails on a chalkboard! (But glad to see you!)

thethinker said...

The you vs. yours thing really bothers me. I also hate how people have somehow gotten the idea that "it's" shows possession.

Marie said...

I agree, the apostrophe thing really gets me in general. I have always disliked abbreviations of any kind. I only recently started text messaging, and I still refuse to abbreviate. Another really common mistake is "it's" (it is) vs. "its" (posessive). Hate that!

Anonymous said...

To be honest, if it wasn't for spellcheck...I'd be lost. As for your two words up isn't so much a spelling error as it is a misuse of the proper word :-)

Willowtree said...

snarky = comments

Tiger Lamb Girl said...

Argh - I can't stand when people write in text-lingo. All those ridiculous abbreviations do my head in. Definitely nails on a chalkboard, TL, lol.

Susan in va said...

I understand, Tiggerlane, I understand. I, too, have some pet peeves about spelling, in addition to grammar and mispronunciations. I wrote about this a year or so ago in one of my posts. You could also have added "THERE vs. THEIR vs. THEY'RE" to your list.

My biggest pet peeve is the misspelling and mispronunciation of the word "MISCHIEVOUS" - notice that the ending is spelled "VOUS" not "VIOUS." Thus, the pronunciation is "mis-chuh-vuhs" NOT "mis-chee-vee-uhs."

Ahhh....I feel better now.

kitten said...

I have always had a hard time with spelling. I have always had a dictionary close by, but have noticed that since I do a lot on the computer I let spell check do my checking. The only problem is that I don't have the means to check my grammar. With me Home Schooling my kids and I have seen how lazy I have got using the computer so, I push the dictionary a little more.
Sometimes my brain goes faster than my hands. The other day on the last FM post I put "reef" instead of "wreath" and because my spell check didn't pick up on it I didn't either. Somebody else did thou. I couldn't believe I did it, but I did. I guess I need to pay closer attention.
Thanks for sharing!

Tiggerlane said...

the thinker - I totally think I need to do an it's vs. its post next.

marie - I have to admit, I do abbreviate while texting. Of course, I am also guilty of texting while driving. I know, I suck.

sirdar - so true! Hadn't thought of it that way, but you're right.

willowtree - I feel like I'm learning from the comment guru.

tiger lamb girl - Yeah - even though I'm guilty of it at times, it's still not necessary to abbreviate EVERY word!

susan in va - Now I feel like I got an education! I have mispronounced that word a LOT! Thanks!

kitten - spell check is NOT good in some cases. It will catch words that aren't spelled correctly - and The Offspring relies on it, and argues that it is sufficient. It doesn't catch when she misuses the word...nothing beats a human proofreading!

Memphis Steve said...

I am so with you on this. When people email me and misspell the same things over and over, I just loose it.

HA HA!!!

OK, it wasn't that funny, and I'm probably about the 400th person to do that, but I'm sick so cut me some slack.

Tiggerlane said...

memphis steve - You are seriously making me want to poke out an eye - but I'm sorry you are sick!