Friday, October 2, 2009

Because I can't take it anymore...


Yes, this is a Happy Friday post; laced with grumpiness. Why? I received what was supposed to be a professional email today from someone who makes INFINITELY more money than I do and it was laced with errors that make my fingers curl into claws and my eyes turn red.

Why? I don't understand. Didn't everyone have to go through the same tedious classes I did? Didn't everyone have to make the same exercises to learn the basics of writing? I guess not. It annoys me that professional people cannot understand just basic grammar! That I make a special effort to communicate in a decent way and highly paid dunces can get away with writing at the third-grade level! I'm no grammatical expert, but jumping Johosephat... It's not that hard to figure out! I'm okay with occasional typos... I have my share of those, and my own grammatical and spelling failures with the best of them... but there is no excuse for these mistakes... Really.

So I must do this... many pardons for being tyrannical about this:

Some basic clarifications for the people who don’t quite get the whole apostrophe thing… or the thing with plurals… or who don’t understand the concept of contractions.

THERE -- Used correctly: “She is over there.”

THEY’RE -- The contraction of two words They and Are. The apostrophe is in the place of where the letter has been removed. They’re.. See?

THEIR – Used correctly: “It’s their house.” (Notice the contraction It’s. That is because It and Is are have been combined, and the little i that got removed was replaced by an apostrophe).

ISN’T – Contraction of Is Not. What’s missing? The O! Yay! Then what happens? The little apostrophe goes where that O was. Not so difficult, right?

Try the following:

* Were Not.
* It was (a tougher one)
* Can Not
* That Is
* We Are

~ YOU’RE – the contraction of You Are. Used correctly: "You're a real grammar nazi, Stephanie."

~ YOUR – used correctly: “Your dog just peed on my leg.”

General Rule: Plurals do not require an apostrophe. Really. Seriously. You have one of something, and unless it ends in Y, you just add an S on the end. That's all there is to it.

Examples:

~ 1 Dog – 2 Dogs
~ 1 Pie – 2 Pies
~ 1 House – 2 Houses
~ 1 Piano – 2 pianos (do not add in any extraneous Es) unless, it’s Potatoes or Tomatoes… don’t ask me why.

If it ends in Y (in MOST cases but not all), then you do this:

~ Berry – Berries.
~ Sky – Skies
~ Fly – Flies

Apostrophes are okay if something belongs to something. For example:

~ This is Katie’s Dog.
~ Bob’s nose is the size of a Volkswagen Beetle.
~ This is the McMasters’ House (why is the apostrophe dangling on the end? Just think of it this way, it’s easier… There’s already an S there… no need to repeat it)

So here’s a little play on sentences… an apostrophe can change the whole thing.
* The Authors talk… A plural… two or more authors are talking. They like to do that.
* The Author’s talk… An author (single) gave a talk. It was riveting.
* The Authors’ talk…. A group of authors are giving a talk. Not so riveting. Make sense?

Now, see if you can go through this little diddy and pick out what’s right. Answer key below:

Mary was pretty keyed up. She’d spent the day at her [friends/friend’s/friend] house. They had spent the day making and canning a variety of [jellys/jelly/jelly’s/jellies] and had sampled quite a number of them. The sugar burned through her [vein’s/veins] like nitrus fuel. [Katies/Katie’s/Katys] mother found them in the kitchen sticky and hyper. Mary was eager to leave [their/there/they’re] house, and to go and do something to burn off the sugar high.

Okay… Think you got it?

Answers:
Mary was pretty keyed up. She’d spent the day at her friend’s house. They had spent the day making and canning a variety of jellies and had sampled quite a number of them. The sugar burned through her veins like nitrus fuel. Katie’s mother found them in the kitchen, sticky and hyper. Mary was eager to leave their house and go and do something to burn off the sugar high.

Now the contractions above:

* Were Not ~ Weren’t.
* It was (a tougher one) ~ ‘twas
* Can Not ~ Can’t.
* That Is ~ That’s
* We Are ~ We’re

Okay? Does that help? Please pass this on… so we can start improving the internet one apostrophe at a time. ::augh::

5 comments:

Lauren said...

LOL!!!! I almost blew water out my nose! Great post, Steph.

AlohaAroha said...

Amen sister!

My current vent is with people who take notes in meetings and turn statements like "I don't know how to operate a helicopter" into "She prefers to fly airplanes". Ummm...sorry, no, NOT the same thing!

In My Sepia Studio said...

Thank you for the award and thanks for the cliff notes version of Grammer 101..lol...I couldn't agree with you more!!

Bob said...

Nice post, but even this post is rampant with the new linguistic failure of the century - random capitalisation & consistency. E.g. "~ 1 Dog – 2 Dogs
~ 1 Pie – 2 Pies
~ 1 House – 2 Houses
~ 1 Piano – 2 pianos"
"Dogs", "Pies" and "Houses" should not have capital letters.

Sorry for being pendantic :)

Hungarican Chick said...

Bob... perhaps if I make $120,000 a year, these random capitalisations would be acceptable?

LOL. I know I have my affectations. I am not ashamed of Them. <-- random cap for good measure. ;)

Steph

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