grammaraltruist

Where grammar comes to live!

Grammar mistakes that make you look like an idiot

Today, I feel like complaining about writing mistakes that make people look uneducated and ridiculous. Nitpicking grammar errors  is probably one of my favorite hobbies, so it’s unnecessary to point out that I’m pointing out tiny errors. Regardless of how small they are, when you make these errors, my brain cries. Bulleted list? I think so!

  • First, the error that irritates me more than anything else on this earth: confusing ‘your’ and ‘you’re’. I’m not sure why people have so much trouble distinguishing the two, but they do. The difference between them is simple: ‘your’ is possessive, meaning that it shows ownership. Anything that you or anyone else owns falls into the “your” category (e.g., your car; your shoes; your hair; your face; your lack of intelligence). ‘You’re’ is short for ‘you are’. I mean…it’s not really much shorter. But that’s what it stands for. Think of the apostrophe as a placeholder for the ‘a’ in are, if you will. You use this word whenever you’re (oh man, look at that – I used it correctly) talking about the way someone is (e.g., you’re smelly; you’re in school; you’re going shopping; you’re talking on the phone). Not that hard to tell between the two. It always makes me laugh when I see someone write “your dumb”. It makes me concerned for my dumb – whatever that is – and I want to know what it’s causing trouble for.

    Someone owns a "not a bill", and it has clearly gotten into trouble, since it's unable to enter certain locations.

  • It drives me absolutely insane when I see someone write that they “could of” gone somewhere or they “should of” done something. First off, that doesn’t even make sense. Could HAVE gone somewhere; should HAVE done something. That’s really all I’m going to say about it. Use your brain.

This is what will happen if you use "could of" or "should of". A wolf will eat you.

  • I have a substantial amount of trouble understanding what someone means when they says “he/she is good people” when referring to only one person. That’s not really even a grammatical mistake, is it? It’s just stupidity.
  • One serious error I see made all the time that makes you look almost as dumb as confusing your/you’re does is confusing its/it’s. Believe it or not, they are two different words with two very different meanings. As usual, the one without the apostrophe is a possessive pronoun and is used in the same context as “your”, except it refers to objects (or other non-human things) rather than people. So, say you have a cat. You could say things like “My cat hurt its paw.” or “My cat is eating its food.” Easy, peasy. “It’s”, on the other hand, is a contraction for “it is”, and should only be used in contexts where you would use the phrase “it is”. Here’s a plethora of examples: it’s cold outside; it’s not that hard to distinguish between the two; it’s sad how dumb some people are; it’s time to move on to the next topic.

Which piece of the pie are you? Green, I hope.

 

  • Last one, and this one is my favorite: did you know there are actually correct contexts to use “you and me” instead of “you and I”? It’s true, there are. And I’ll tell you how to figure out which one is right! Let’s take the sentences “You and ___ went to the store.” and “Out of everyone in class, the professor prefers you and ___.” Either ‘me’ or ‘I will fit into each of the blanks. The way to figure out which one to use is simple: just drop the ‘you’ and insert whichever form makes sense. In the first sentence “Me went to the store” makes no sense, but “I went to the store” does – so you would put ‘I’ for a final sentence of “You and I went to the store.” Same thing for the other sentence. “Out of everyone in class, the professor prefers I” would make you sound like a pretentious, grammatically-inept idiot; however, “Out of everyone in class, the professor prefers me” makes perfect sense. So the sentence would be, “Out of everyone in class, the professor prefers you and me.” It’s easier than parallel parking!

 

That concludes today’s grammar lesson. I’m sure I’ll think of more to add. When I do, you’ll know. 🙂

 

It's true - good grammar IS hot.

Advertisements
1 Comment »

Things I hate about NIU (not grammar-related)

In light of my impending graduation (I finished my undergraduate coursework yesterday; I have two finals to get through next week, then I’m officially a college graduate!), I feel like it’s only appropriate to complain. Those of you who know me know that I am not shy when it comes to the fact that, aside from academics, I cannot stand Northern Illinois University, which is where I have spent the past four and a half years studying. On a daily basis, I find something new that irritates me, and to memorialize my time spent here, I am going to make a detailed list of the things that have made me lose my sanity, so I can remember them forever!

The number one thing that drives me insane is the fact that 90% of the university’s population doesn’t know what an “indoor voice” is. Everyone screams ALL the time. Bitch, I don’t care if you failed your test because you were out drinking too much for the past four weeks and didn’t study. I don’t care how hungover you are. I don’t care if your boyfriend broke up with you. I certainly don’t care what you had for lunch. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only person who doesn’t give a damn – the person you’re talking to probably doesn’t even care. But hey – they’re friends with you. I’m not. So maybe keep the conversation between you and the person next to you. Also, if I hear one more person use the ‘word’ “obvi” because they’re too lazy to add the last two syllables of the word “obviously”, I will hit them. You have been forewarned. Test me, I dare you.

It’s bad enough when people are incapable of speaking quietly in public places, but when I’m in the library and people are yelling, I swear my soul dies a little. If you want to have a conversation, go somewhere that isn’t intended for reading books and studying. Also, I support people who listen to music on headphones while they’re studying in the aforementioned library; however, if you’re going to blast said music loud enough for the people three floors up from you to hear it, the headphones are pointless and you’re an asshole.

One thing I have trouble understanding involves showing up late to class. Being five minutes late is one thing (still irritating, but whatever), but showing up 40 minutes into a 50 minute class makes NO SENSE AT ALL. Also, if you’re going to do something that idiotic, don’t proceed to raise your hand and ask the professor to review everything that was discussed during the time you missed. Either get notes from someone, talk to the professor afterward, or, hey – this is a concept – SHOW UP ON TIME.

If you’re an English major and you don’t know the difference between an adjective and an adverb, you should probably reconsider your academic choices.

It always makes me simultaneously laugh and cry when I’m in a building with windows that show the outside during any form of precipitation. If it’s raining, someone is bound to say, “Is it raining?!” And if, in the middle of December, it happens to start snowing, I will undoubtedly hear “Is it snowing? What?!” Seriously, people? SERIOUSLY?

People who walk extremely slowly with 4 of their closest friends, all standing side-by-side and inevitably taking up an entire hallway, drive me insane. I usually tell them that, too. And then they talk to me without using their indoor voices. I typically don’t listen.

If you’re going to be a douche bag and text in class, maybe put your phone on silent. You’re annoying.

Wearing a miniskirt in 30-degree weather doesn’t make you look cute. On the contrary, you look really stupid. Also, wearing a miniskirt in 30-degree weather combined with Uggs doesn’t make it any better. Dumbasses.

Oh, and men: pull up your pants. I do not understand the point of wearing a belt when you wear your pants below your ass. Oh wait – is the belt there to KEEP your pants below your ass? You probably wouldn’t have to walk with your legs spread apart if you wore your pants in the correct location.

Showing up to class empty-handed and then asking me to borrow a piece of paper and a pencil every single day is silly and it makes me question your intelligence. Invest in a 30 cent notebook and a 15 cent pencil. Disaster averted.

I have plenty more to complain about, but I have to leave DeKalb right now to re-enter the stratosphere of normal society. I’ll add more later. Have a fabulous weekend, all…unless you fall into any of the categories I just listed. If you do, I wish you nothing but a weekend full of thinking about your poor life choices.

2 Comments »

Welcome to Grammar Altruism!

Welcome to my brand new blog! I am probably only welcoming myself, since I doubt many people are interested in my grammar rants. So, welcome, me!

I recently noticed that I spend far too much space on my social medias (namely, The Facebook) bitching about and correcting the poor grammar of those around me – definitely enough to fill an entire website. And so, Grammar Altruist was born. For those of you who don’t know what an altruist is, here’s a definition, straight from dictionary.com:

altruist (n): a person unselfishly concerned for or devoted to the welfare of others

And for those of you who don’t know what grammar is (a surprisingly high number, I’d suspect), here’s a definition of that, too:

grammar (n): the study of the way sentences of a language are constructed; morphology [word form] and syntax [word order]

Put the two together, and you see where the blog title comes from: I am “unselfishly” (I’d like to remove that word, but I didn’t come up with the definition. Thus, I cannot) dedicated to and concerned for the grammatical welfare of my fellow English-speakers. I intend to use this blog to post various grammar lessons, as I deem them necessary. I hope someone aside from myself finds this entertaining, but it won’t upset me too much if no one does. I’m just concerned for the written form of my native language.

Small disclaimer: I never claimed to be nice. Typically, if someone’s grammar irritates me to the point where I feel the need to write it down, I’m in bitch mode. And I’m good at bitching. So if you’re easily offended, maybe you should learn some proper grammar and then you won’t need to worry about it. 🙂

My darling friend Jenna suggested I create this fantastic space thanks to a post on my The Facebook (I will always call it that – get used to it), related to using prepositions to end sentences. I can’t stress the point I was making enough, so maybe putting it in big font and bolding it will help relieve some of my frustration…actually, I don’t know how to make the font big so I’ll just bold it:

IT IS NOT GRAMMATICALLY INCORRECT TO END A SENTENCE WITH A PREPOSITION. Usually.

I am thoroughly convinced that this rule was instated by some crabby-ass elementary school English teacher who wanted to make the lives of her fourth graders more difficult. In fact, I can think of a bunch of different ways in which restructuring a sentence to end with something other than a preposition looks absolutely ridiculous and isn’t grammatically correct. Shall I show you? I think I shall!

Most of the examples I can think of involve passivizing a sentence, which is an entirely separate bitching point for me. I’ll just stick with examples, since this is already too lengthy for my personal preference (and I have Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica to watch).

Where are we stopping at? —> At where are we stopping? Looks exceptionally ridiculous with the preposition rearranged in the “right” spot

I don’t know who I’m having dinner with. —> I don’t know with whom I am having dinner. Go ahead and use the second one, if you want to look like a pretentious douche bag.

And, my favorite, slightly modified from darling Winston Churchill:

This is something I will not put up with —> This is the sort of thing up with which I will not put.

Yes, I am aware that the definition of the word “preposition” would suggest that the word is positioned before another word (hence PREposition), but this wouldn’t be the first time that English did something kind of confusing, now would it? Also, if we’re going to be grammatically correct (which we are, of course), a lot of the time, words that are often considered prepositions are actually part of the verb or adverb and not really a preposition at all. Of course, there are always exceptions to this rule, because it’s English and English is a language of exeptions. Most of the time, though, you’ll be just fine with your initial-final (whee, syntactic parsing!) preposition.

So shove it, elementary, middle, and high school English teachers. Well, not high school. I really liked Mr. Peters.

End.

Oh look, a nice list of prepositions, with visualizations as well!

Leave a comment »