9/24/08

A Small Grammar Lesson

I simply cannot contain myself any longer, I have seen this mistake one too many times to remain quiet any longer. This will probably rub some of you the wrong way and I'm sorry if it does, but please don't send me email about it. These are my personal feelings, my personal blog, and this is still a free country, at least for now. I know I am not perfect and am not suggesting that I am, but these are simple grammar skills which should be common knowledge to anyone over the age of 10. I like messing around with the language as much as the next guy but these are just flat-out mistakes:

Stationary:

1. standing still; not moving

2. having a fixed position; not movable

vs.

Stationery:

1. writing paper

2. writing materials, as pens, pencils, paper, and envelopes

One letter makes it an entirely different word. Go figure!

Then there is the rampant misuse of apostrophes (you will notice there is NOT an apostrophe there). Some people misuse them so often that I am quite sure they have exceeded their lifetime allotment of apostrophe use and have put us all in danger of being totally apostropheless (not a word, I know) in the very near future. In fact, I would love to have the opportunity to permanently remove that key from their keyboard!

Excerpted from Grammar Girl:

Apostrophes have two main uses in the English language: they stand in for something that's missing, and they can be used to make a word possessive. The most common place to find this kind of apostrophe is in contractions such as can't (for can not), that's (for that is), or to indicate possession. For example, the aardvark's pencil, where there is an apostrophe s at the end of aardvark, means that the pencil belongs to the aardvark. It does not mean the plural of aardvark, and it does not mean "The aardvark is pencil."

For some reason, people seem especially prone to apostrophe errors, and most especially people who write signs and flyers, such as a sign in a vegetable market advertising “Banana's $1.50.” Banana's apostrophe s, as though a banana was carrying around pocket change. The apostrophe before the s makes the $1.50 a possession of one lucky banana.

Just a couple of small things that make me crazy, and gives me serious doubt about the education system in this country. I know English is a difficult language but it IS our native language here, albeit not the "official" language of the U.S., thanks to our esteemed (ahem) government officials. Don't get me started.

I can hear you saying I should have better things to do with my time (I do, actually), but PLEASE, people, buy a dictionary or better yet, access one online. Whatever your choice - USE IT! Have a nice day :-)

7 comments:

  1. What about somebody that's about to loose their marbles...how does one loose marbles...let them go in the street? That one is getting to me! I wouldn't mind at all seeing posts about grammar and spelling! Keep up the great work...I'm all for good grammar (and spelling!)

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  2. I see your point, but some people don't know any better and some just can't type or think well when they do. LOLOL I am the world's worst typist when I do comments and half the time I forget to use Spell check. If I drive you crazy, tell me. LOLOL

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  3. Again, amen! Thanks for posting, although people just don't seem to give a hoot whether they use proper grammar or spell correctly at all! I do. And I agree with Denise....what's with the loose/lose? And I see tons of posting that use the word "to" instead of "too"! Grrrr. Oh dear don't get me started!
    Have a happy grammarful day!
    LeAnne

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  4. These days, I have stationery that is very stationary (cheating, by looking at your spellings). When in doubt, I always search for the word to make sure I am writing what I mean to. Here is my excuse :-) English is not my first language. Can I get an exemption or exception? :-))

    Thanks for posting this. I will be more careful, even though I sometimes feel like I have better English skills than some who's first language is English.

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  5. I am so with you on the grammar thing! One of these days I am going to write about the demise of the hyphen.

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  6. Wonderful post!

    And don't get me started on principal/principle!!!!! I see the wrong form on SCHOOL publications, GAAAAAH!!!

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