The only redeeming thing about English classes was the time spent on grammar. Ooooh, I loved the grammar. Rules, wrongs and rights...it was all so beautiful to my mathematical mind. And given the fact that my mother studied English in college, she helped enforce and put into practice those rules. (Ignoring the fact that her incessant reminders on correct usage were quite annoying. I look forward to doing the same thing to my children.)
Back in March, my friend Gretchen blogged about her grammar pet peeves. Today I'll do the same.
- First, please learn the the difference between "its" and "it's." One is possessive; the other is a contraction. How do you know which to use? If you can substitute "it is" in place of the word, then use "it's." If not, use "its." For example...do not say, "Membership has it's rewards," as a poster at my gym does. "Membership has it is rewards" just sounds silly, as well as just plain wrong.
- Second, "their," "there," and "they're" are separate words with separate meanings, as are "your" and "you're." Please don't tell me, "Your special," because I'll ask, "Your special what? Your special dog's tongue is touching my leg? Your special sister has a sweet spirit?"
- Third, if you use the "Emily and I" statement in the subject of a sentence, then good for you! If, however, you are using it as the object of a prepositional phrase, then shame on you. You're just trying to look smart. For example, "Give the Hot Tamales to Emily and I" is soooo wrong, but you think you're so smart for using I. I bet you wouldn't dream of saying "Give the Hot Tamales to I," now would you? I thought not. The correct sentence is, "Give the Hot Tamales to Emily and me." Now really...give me the Hot Tamales.
- Finally, although I'm not sure if this counts as grammatical or not, I have to mention it. There is a big difference between $0.75 and 0.75 cents. The former is equal to three quarters, or three-fourths of a dollar. The latter is only three-fourths of a penny. So if you are a store and you want to advertise something for 0.75 cents, don't be surprised when I plunk down the item, give you a penny, and tell you to "keep the change." I won't be surprised when you then tell me the true price is actually 75 cents. But then don't you be surprised when I then sue you for false advertising.
Hopefully I haven't made any egregious grammatical mistakes here. But feel free to flog me if I have.