Monday, December 10, 2012

Day 13!: Grammar Peeves and Awkward Things

Since I studied English in college, certain things about writing and manner of speech will ruffle my university-trained nerves. Here are a few pet peeves I see often, especially in the facebook and online world:

1) you're vs. your: you're = you are, ok? And your is possessive, as in YOUR grammar mistake. Example: YOU'RE making me feel uncomfortable with YOUR insistent use of improper grammar.

2) they're/their/there: they're = they are, their = possessive, there = a place. So, for instance: THEY'RE taking THEIR lunch breaks over THERE, in the side room.


3) here/hear: Here is HERE! I don't know how else to explain it, but it's not THERE. And HEAR, that's something you do with your ears. So, I hope you HEAR my words of grammar wisdom written HERE and utilize them.

And let's not forget...

4) its/it's: its = possession (even though there is not an apostrophe), it's = it is (a contraction)
Example: IT'S beneficial for a young animal to learn certain life skills on ITS own.

I also get peeved when people never capitalize, don't use commas for contractions, and excessively abbreviate, or make up words (people can't spell these days...sigh). Number abbreviations are also not cool. It creates very lousy statuses that make people cringe. Here are some examples using fake names for fun:

Janice: i so wont go w bob i just cant imagine being n nyc n like january
Bob: so janice says whatev when i asked her 2 go w me 2 nyc well i guess that iz her prob 4 her 2 deal w

Janice: I so won't go with Bob. I just can't imagine being in New York City in like January.
Bob: So Janice said "whatever" when I asked her to go with me to New York City. Well, I guess that is her problem for her to deal with.

And now for the awkward...The oxford comma! (aka, the serial comma)

Which looks better to you, 1 or 2?

1) The dog, cat, and bird played in the yard.
2) The dog, cat and bird played in the yard.

Well, the oxford comma is used in example 1, and for some reason, it feels more "correct" to me than example 2. Here is what oxford dictionary says about the oxford comma:

"The 'Oxford comma' is an optional comma before the word 'and' at the end of a list:

We sell books, videos, and magazines.

It's known as the Oxford comma because it was traditionally used by printers, readers, and editors at Oxford University Press. Not all writers and publishers use it, but it can clarify the meaning of a sentence when the items in a list are not single words: 'These items are available in black and white, red and yellow, and blue and green.'"

To me, the oxford comma makes sense. If the dog, cat, and bird are playing in the yard, there are three of them mutually having fun together. But, if the dog, cat and bird are playing in the yard, perhaps the cat and bird are closer buddies than the cat to dog or dog to bird. These are just things that pop in my mind. Basically, I feel the oxford comma makes things in a list equal, easy to understand, and tidy. And also, one should use the oxford comma often and talk about its importance because it sounds studious, learned, and pompous. ;)

Alright, enough for tonight!
Comment and leave me a note about some of your biggest grammar peeves!

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