Should I correct even the smallest errors I notice, even if it is time consuming? Or should I just accept it and spend that time to write new posts?
For apostrophes, I still use the rule handed down to me by my 7th-grade English teacher. No. 2 actually contradicts the AP Style Guide, but it’s far simpler:
1. Contractions: Apostrophe replaces the missing letter or letters. 2. Possessives: If a word ends in “s”, the apostrophe goes at the end of the word, whether or not it’s singular or plural (“the boys’ title loans Alaska baseball bat,” “my boss’ desk.”) If it doesn’t end in “s”, then put an apostrophe followed by an “s”. However, possessive pronouns (its, his, hers, ours and yours) do not take an apostrophe.
That’s it. Don’t use it for plurals (although I make an exception to this rule for one-letter plurals – “She got all A’s on her report card,” “mind your p’s and q’s – since it would otherwise look like “As” or “ps”). But I agree that people are generally better off using fewer apostrophe’s – err, apostrophes. ??
Another one you could add to this last that always drives me crazy is using ‘your’ vs
My writing is laced with grammatical errors. I’m working on that though! I’ve never taken any sort of journalism or writing class beyond entry level college English. My writing itself is OK enough to get by on but I tend to use run on sentences far too often.
In a list like this I’d include the common misuse of adjectives in place of adverbs, as in “he played good”, “eat healthy”, “think different”. It’s very common in the US, though less so in the rest of the English speaking world.
Don’t forget “He did this as best as he could”. What was he doing? Was he running as fastest as he could?
Thank you for this
Could you also note that definitely is never spelled with an “a” and that a point can be moot but never mute?
Also, I noticed the character rendering issue mentioned above and thought I might be able to help. You should easily have been able to avoid this issue by shutting off curly quotes and other non-ASCII characters in MSWord or whatever program you use to write this. That’s the usual culprit there – hope that info helps. If it doesn’t – well, then, it’s not so easy is it?
Gretchen, I thought the non-WYSIWYG WordPress editor compensated for curly quotes and other non-ASCII characters transferred from MS Word, but I just tested it and it does not. Good catch.
‘you’re’. That one has driven me crazy since high school and I still see people doing it wrong all the time.
Brian – thanks for the great post. I agree that posting on the internet is a more casual form of communication, but that doesn’t mean it is o.k. to do things wrongly.
Here one that drives me nuts – the use of its and it’s. That one’s a bugger to keep straight.
Dan and Jeff, I covered both of those in my last post on grammatical errors, which I link to in the second paragraph of this post. Yes, those two upset a lot of people!
Wonderful! I’ve never known the difference between e.g. and i.e. until now (never taken the time to look them up). I also seem to write e.x. a lot when I’m talking about examples, which I realize now makes no sense.