As you probably might have known, yes, I am an English major. And as a person whose concentration is on reading, writing, and more writing, it is essential that I have impeccable grammar.
And I have to admit, I have pretty good grammar. At least, I try to; sometimes, I slip up, but for the most part, I aim for accuracy.
Unfortunately, though, not everyone has perfect or even close-to-perfect grammar. The grammar Nazi in me always cringes whenever I read posts or status updates on Facebook, Twitter, or even WordPress. Yes, even WordPress: granted, we sometimes don’t catch errors before publishing them, but if your posts are riddled with grammatical faults in each line, then we’re going to have a problem…
Seriously, I think technology/social media has made us “dumber” when it comes to spelling and grammar. We don’t proofread anymore: once we finish typing, we hit “Send” and off it goes into the cyber-world, with no chance of returning. Once it’s out there, it is subjected to critique, even criticism. Like a pack of wolves, your spelling errors just might eat you alive.
In any case, I have compiled a short list of the common grammatical errors that I have seen floating throughout the Internet. Really, people- get with the program. 😛
1. “Your/you’re.” This is the most frequently misused pair to ever surface on my Facebook Feed. My fingernails just curl at the sight of this atrocity. Posting something like “Your beautiful, babe” is just harrowing; IT’S NOT CORRECT! I would much rather you write the text-version “UR beautiful” as opposed to the incorrect word choice; at least “UR” can also imply the actual correct term “you’re.” Rule of thumb: “your” is a possessive (i.e. “your blanket,” “your teacup”), and “you’re” is a contraction of “you are.” Get it straight!
2. “There/They’re/Their.” An irksome trio. It is amazing how people use “they’re” (which is probably the most complex term out of the three) to write something like “They’re is a dog.” NO! That’s not right! How can you turn something already complex into something so complicated? It’s simpler than that: like “you’re,” the word “they’re” is a contraction of “they are.” For “there,” it refers to a location (i.e. “He is sitting over there”), and “their” is the plural possessive (i.e. “their tree,” “their home”).
3. “To/Too/Two.” I can see people having trouble between “to” and “too,” but not “two.” It’s a number, for Christ’s sake! As for the other two (pun intended), “to” is a preposition, use for marking phrases like “I went to the store.” On the other hand, “too” is either used to mark a higher degree of something (i.e. “I ate too much,” “I ran too fast”) or placed at the end of a sentence to add or affirm the statement (i.e. “I feel the same way, too“). Another thing when using “too” is to add the comma before the word; I’ve seen cases where people don’t add in the comma, and for me, that’s a bit disconcerting.
4. “Its/It’s.” Ugh, I can’t stand it when people use this pair incorrectly. Like in the case of “they’re,” I have seen people complicate it by writing “The dog scratched it’s back.” INCORRECT! Again, whenever you have a contraction, it is bringing together two words; in the case of “it’s”= “it is.” “Its” is the possessive once more: “its towel,” “its back.”
5. “Lose/Loose.” I always smirk a bit whenever people write “We’re gonna loose our minds!” Like, does it imply that your brain is unraveling from its position? Or are you using the idiomatic expression to mean “Let’s get crazy!” I really hope that you’re referring to the second option; I would hate to see your brain actually unraveling… “Loose” means “not tight,” like “a loose shoelace.” “Lose” means to be deprived of something (i.e. “I lose my keys all of the time”). Of course, the expression “lose our minds” works a bit differently, but still captures the essence of the word’s definition.
6. “Lets/Let’s.” Not going to make a big deal about this (considering that I’ve been repeating it over three times now for the others): “lets” is the third-person verb, meaning “to allow:” “She lets me use her kitchen every day.” “Let’s” is the contraction for “let us:” “Let’s hang out!”
7. “Lie/lie/lie.” I admit, these can be fairly tricky. Some of my classmates had issues distinguishing the trio in my poetry class last school term. There are two verb meanings for “lie:” 1) to recline back, or “lay” (i.e. “I lie in my chair”), and 2) to tell an untruth (i.e. “I lie to her about my job”). It can also be a noun, directly related to the second verb definition: “I told a lie to her.”
– The Finicky Cynic