Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Grammar Lessons

Okay, grammar is one of my pet peeves. Driving around town I see English grammar mutilated by people who want my business. If you don't care enough to use your native tongue properly what assurance do I have that you'll treat me properly as a customer? I won't go on about all of the ways supposedly educated people abuse the English language but I will touch on a few.

Apostrophes. Never has such a small piece of punctuation been so horribly abused. Let's get this straight. And in case you were wondering what an apostrophe is, it is in "let's". Of course if you were wondering what an apostrophe is you probably wouldn't be reading my blog. The only proper use of the apostrophe is to either denote possession or ownership (John's shirt) or as a contraction of two words into one (Let us = let's, would not = wouldn't). Got it? An apostrophe is NEVER, NEVER, NEVER used to make a noun plural. This is where I gnashed my teeth when I saw a sign advertising "Puppie's"! That would denote belonging to Puppie, not the plural of baby dogs. Aaaarrrrrgh! When pluralizing our last name it should be the Meissners, not the Meissner's, and the possessive would be the Meissners', i.e. the Meissners' car. Also, when denoting a possessive if the persons name ends in the letter S then it is proper to place the apostrophe after the S, i.e. James' toys, not James's; my kids' teachers, not my kids's teachers. Got it? Let's go on.

Alot is NOT a word!!! It is "a lot", two words, meaning many. Always. Forever. It has never been any different. Anybody omitting the space between the A and the L should be whipped.

Now for one bit of confusion that I have a hard time understanding why it's (apostrophe!) confusing for anyone who was paying attention in class: There, their, they're (again with the apostrophe!). Pay attention! There denotes in a particular location, i.e. over there; never, never, never is it to denote possession or mean they are. Their is the one that denotes possession, i.e. their car; never, never, never does it mean a location or is it a contraction of they are. They're is a contraction of they are, i.e. they're coming over at 7:00; never, never, never does it mean location or possession. Learn and memorize these and life will be better.

And the final one upon which we will touch today is the misuse of your and you're. Your is the possessive, i.e. your raincoat; it belongs to you, it is yours. You're is a contraction of you are (that's what the apostrophe means), i.e. You're late for work (you are late for work).

Unfortunately I realize the people who most need to learn these lessons probably won't read this. If I can save at least one person from writing like a fool, my work here is done.

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