Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Learning to Talk More Gooder

My biggest pet peeves EVER are poor grammar and punctuation misuse (or a complete lack of punctuation). I realize that I've just set myself up to have at least fifteen mistakes in this post as karma and I have a very fuck-me-in-the-ass kind of relationship. It doesn't really bother me to see grammar abuse in a text or a personal e-mail. Most of us are e-mailing from our phones and it's hard enough to navigate the itty bitty keys and the autocorrect surprise attacks. Professional correspondence, however, is a different story. Anyone who sends me an e-mail at work with egregious errors either gets their email deleted or gets an e-mail back with corrections. Some say I'm an asshole. I say I'm an unpaid English tutor.

I ran across a drawing The Oatmeal did a while back ago on homophones. I will buy this poster and hang it on my office door. My biggest pet peeve EVER is interchanging your and you're. A puppy dies every time you do this. Please stop, for the love of puppies, and rainbows and sparkle peens.

An easy way to remember this is "You're going to get your ass kicked if you don't learn the difference."

Let's move onto a harder concept. Their / they're / there are words autocorrect likes to interchange. Stop changing all of my "th" words, Steve Jobs.

Here's an example of the difference: "They're having their loud ass orgy over there."

Let's hit then and than next. This is another autocorrect booby trap since the a and e are too damn close together.

Here's an example: "I thought I was better than TK, then I realized I was dreaming." Ok, that was a little too asshole-y, even for me.

Probably the most common homophone mistake is substituting it's for its. One means "it is" and the other is possessive.

Example: "It's about to get real when I have to give Renesmee its bath." Some might think I used the wrong pronoun. I stand by my assessment.

Just because words sound the same doesn't mean they are the same. I have no idea how someone can learn English as a second language and not say "fuck it" after two minutes.

Give it a second if you don't see it right off the bat.

Let's talk about the comma. There is a huge difference between "Let's eat, Bella!" and "Let's eat Bella!" The former will get you cake; the latter will get you fucked up by Edward Cullen. Please use commas. The life you save could be your own.

"I just want the first piece of cake, Edward!"

Grammar and punctuation are your friends. Don't be afraid to utilize them. Think of them as friends with benefits.

The consequences for disrespecting the English language could be dire.

"I rebuke punctuation errors, bitches!"

Do you have any language-related pet peeves? Have you ever dressed anyone down for speaking like the Lolcats in real life? If not, you don't know what you're missing. Please share in the comments and feel free to mock any of my errors. I'll be dusting my glass house.


  1. I admit to my comma phobia. Maybe that's why no one answers me when I say something. I do make fun of it but at least I don't mess up you're and your. Maybe one day I'll beat my comma phobia.

    I guess a peeve of mine would be lose and loose. It is so crazy how so many people say loose when they mean lose. I've even seen looser and they weren't talking about looser pants.

    English can be confusing but Spanish is pretty confusing too.

  2. I'm a teacher with one degree in English and another in Literacy, so of course these are my two big pet peeves, TK! Since it's summer, what do I have to do but read fanfic, right? The two grammar kills that have been bugging me lately are taut/taught (as in nipples or abs) and peaked/peeked. Can I get a hell yeah on this?

  3. Just ran across this today, great timing. Enjoy. The English language is so F@#Ked up.

    1) The bandage was wound around the wound.
    2) The farm was used to produce produce.
    3) The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.
    4) We must polish the Polish furniture.
    5) He could lead if he would get the lead out.
    6) The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.
    7) Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present.
    8) A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.
    9) When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.
    10) I did not object to the object.
    11) The insurance was invalid for the invalid.
    12) There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.
    13) They were too close to the door to close it.
    14) The buck does funny things when the does are present.
    15) A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.
    16) To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.
    17) The wind was too strong to wind the sail.
    18) Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear..
    19) I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.
    20) How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?

    First time to comment, so I hope this wasn't a total screw up.

  4. Since we're showing so much love to The Oatmeal, I feel it only appropriate to give a nod to Hyperbole and a Half, as she is a fellow Grammar Nazi. She's the creator of the Alot, and I love her for that...

    I can't really say anything about my own habits because I am laaaazy and when I am online, it's as if the usual respect I have for the English language goes all slutty. I don't know how TK tolerates me, to be honest.

    And if I can borrow a little bit more from The Oatmeal, here's what he has to say about people who feel the need to email him about grammar mistakes on his blog -

    Do not email me with grammatical errors or typos unless they are huge, glaring mistakes. When I say glaring, I mean writing something like "When fall arrives, I have to rape the leaves in the yard." I realize that a lot of people are judging my website rather harshly because I created a few comics about spelling and apostrophes and now expect everything on here to be grammatically perfect. Let me be the one to break it to you: my website is far from perfect, and I don't care.

    I want Matthew Inman at The Oatmeal and Allie Brosh at Hyperbole and a Half to get together and create a superior race of humans. Is that too much to ask? They can include The Bloggess if they want to swing that way.

  5. My grammar isn't perfect, but I'm totally with you on this. My list goes on for days . . . breathe/breath [how the fuck can you get those confused?] . . . bear/bare . . .OK. OK. I have to stop before my blood pressure goes up.

    Another thing that really twists my nipple is ground vs floor. It seems like EVERY FREAKING TIME some fanfiction author writes about dropping something while they are outdoors, it falls on the floor. Yet when they go inside, they place their bookbag on the ground! Pull-eeze!

    And can we please not ever say "anyways"?

    Help me Jesus! Why did you get me started?

  6. @Anonymous that was awesome!

    If I had to learn English as a second language, I would definitely throw in the towel after about three minutes.

    I have a few, but I am pretty forgiving when I see mistakes.

    their, they're and there
    Desert vs. dessert
    Loose vs. lose
    And my favorite: I have seen whine instead of wine. I definitely prefer wine over whine.

    That's why, as an author, I worship the ground my editor walks on and have nominated her for sainthood.

  7. I'm a teacher too and every day I either do a vocab word or a homophone/contraction. And I'm a MUSIC teacher so you KNOW this bugs me!! I had a teacher in 8th grade, Miss Feinman,who ruled with an iron fist and a worn copy of a little blue book on grammar. She had "F" errors and reminded us everyday what they were. Example- alot is a lot and if you put them together you failed whatever the assignment was. Ah the good ole days! Some have obviously been forgotten but many things remain screaming in my head. Dessert-Desert sweat-sweet Oh and every word with long E sound here in Pittsburgh is said as "ill". We are the "Stillers". Is that for "rill"? I don "fill" like stepping outside. Get the notion it's hot here? There are lots more but my brain is melted!!

  8. STY, I am SO with you on that beautiful combo...I LOVE Allie Brosh
    and The Bloggess! Besides you lovely ladies, they are my faves.

  9. I read some fanfic where the author referred to "duck tape" - ouch. I've seen that more than once.

    Another cringe-worthy one: add hock.

    @Anon, I love the your long list!

  10. I feel your pain TK. Receiving work emails with poor grammar drives me crazy. Another pet peeve for me is past/passed. I once got a lovely email announcing a name change for a colleague that had gotten divorced and… wait for it…she was "formally" known as…

    When I first started reading fan fiction I thought the author of one story must be foreign because she kept messing up bear/bare and at least 2 or 3 homophones. I realized at some point from the author notes that English was her first language and felt incredibly sad. Characters were well-developed but the grammar kept distracting me.

  11. Me and I -- for instance, nothing pisses me off more when someone labels a picture -- "TK and I". WHAT THE FUCKITY FUCK??! I know it sounds smarter, but guess what? It's fucking wrong! If you're alone in the picture, would you label it "I"?

    I'm sure I'll think of more later.

  12. Thank the faching Lord that there are others who have issues with all this also! I was an English major and it drives me nuts when I get emails (especially from professionals) that contain massive errors. People think I'm a bitch too but I just tell them they are mad because I'm more educated!

    **word verify** 'jakeated'.....which I read as 'Jake eated', which the phrase "Jake eated Renesemee" immediately popped into my brain!

  13. ooh That was too funny. It bugs me as well when people mess up their, there, to, too, you're, your. I do remember a time when I would write "would/could/should of" instead of "would/could/should have". It really bothers me when I'm reading fanfiction and I find myself refraining from sending the author a note about grammar.

  14. I hate bad grammar. It makes texting a nightmare for me. If I am in a hurry, I don't capitalize properly, but it really bugs me!

    I was called the Comma Nazi at my previous job, a title I wore proudly!

    FF sometimes kills me, but I can blaze on through, if the writing is good...or lemony!

    I try real hard to write better than I speak, and I am constantly trying to improve both my writing and speech. Having a child and trying to teach him the correct way to write and speak has been a real challenge and eye-opener. I still make mistakes; but I try and I care about trying, and I think that is what is missing from the education system...caring and trying! [Getting off the soap box!]

    Anon...I LOVED your list :) loves you!
    TK...I bought the Oatmeal posters a few days ago. I love you hardcore for featuring them here. You are one sexy, smart bitch! :)

  15. I am a grammar whore until I do something on my phone. Then I just get so pissed off at the autocorrect/predictive text that I just say 'Fuck it.'

    I felt like a traitor when I was so obnoxiously stoked that I finally got Fifty Shades uploaded to my Kindle and cringed every time a spelling error or grammar error popped up. I was extremely upset that she would let this go to publish with all of the errors that were in there. Now, do I want to be the assholic fool who points these out? Hell fucking no. I still love it, still wanna hump walls when there's (See that proper use of a contraction? Dig it.) delicious lemony RRoP action, and I will reread it when the mood strikes. But I will always die a little when I run across those snafus. Did anyone notice them in the paperback?!

  16. I'm with LKW on the me vs I thing. If it's the subject, it's "I," if it's the object it's "me." Same with she/her and he/him. To take it one step further, I die a little whenever I see someone do "Edward and I's copy of the Kama Sutra." There is no such word as "I's," people. There just isn't. Also, I randomly get enraged over less vs. fewer. Fewer is for countable items. "Go to the far aisle in the grocery store if you have fewer than 12 items. You will spend less time waiting in line."

    Grammar is one of the hardest parts about being a fanfic addict. Even if the premise seems good, I cannot read a story with poor grammar.

  17. Ha, I like your humility. I try to avoid correcting others because I inevitably make an error and look like a douche.

    But...since you asked :>)

    It's judgment NOT judgement

    Should have "gone"


    Should have "went"! (Or even worse, Should OF went...arrrghhhh)

    And didn't you hear? "Your" is the new "you're". No other explanation.

  18. I'm so glad I'm not the only grammar Nazi out there! Spell check has made so many people lazy. It really gets my goat when I see glaring errors in captions or crawlers on the TV news. Grrrr! And how do books make it to print with errors? Are there no proofreaders any more??
    My biggest pet peeves in print right now are wretch/retch and reign/rain/rein.

  19. I have to say I have a major issue with text type. I hate ur, I hate everything about it. Ever since I started texting I have always spelled things out. I also have to say that I am terrible with punctuation. I never really took to english and I am a terrible speller. Also you just taught me the difference between then and than, cause I never know when to use which. So thank you!

  20. Oh Lindsay Rae, my dear...I, too, cringed while reading Fifty Shades. I think the grammar is worse than when it was free on the web! Or maybe I hold it to a different standard because I am paying for it! I still LOVE it. I still want did you put it...hump the walls when there's RRoP action! I needed a "portable" fix, so I am reading it again, but I'm using a pencil as a bookmark this time!

  21. I hear you on this! I'm not perfect either, and I don't worry too much depending on the situation, but the simple things that the average person does wrong drive me nuts. I try not to correct people all of the time, but I can't always help it. It came in handy for my friends when they wanted me to double check their papers, though. I didn't always catch everything (and sometimes I just mulled over parts because it would have just been too much to explain to my friends). I'm great with grammar, but my spelling could use some improvement.

  22. I could go on and on about sign errors. chrissake. Doesn't anyone remember anything they learned school?
    My fav sign? On a cash register "We need one's" Arrrgh !


  23. I love semicolons; they make life worth living.

    I've been the grammar nazi in my writers' group for 20+ years. So those glaring errors in a lot of FF really bug me. You guys have already pointed out most of them, but may I add "him and I went." Say what? Him went where?

    I blame this on the lousy quality of most English education in this country. We may not have been splicing DNA when I was in high school, but we could parse a sentence.

    While I cringe at errors, I can also assure you that no matter how thoroughly you, five other writers, an agent, an editor and a copy editor go over a manuscript, errors will still sneak through. They are impossible to eradicate. You can only hope to get most of them. And then blame the remaining ones on spell/grammar checker. (On which you can never rely. See - I did not end that sentence with a preposition!)

    And I must confess that I still really don't understand the subjunctive. Is it "if I WAS 30 years younger and really hot I would try to pry RPattz loose from KStew," or is it "if I WERE 30 years younger...?"

  24. Holy Fuck TK, I think I'm in love with you.

    *motorboats and dry humps*

    We are sisters from another mister, clearly. AMEN.

  25. I agree with Latchkey - when people don't know when to use me or I. I get so tired of hearing kids (and some adults who should know better) say "my friend and me went...". I was always told to take out the other person (the friend) and then decide if it was correct.

    Also, the other one that drives me nuts is when people say " I SEEN him at the store yesterday." For crying out loud - think about how stupid that makes you sound.

    I read a whole fanfiction that the writer used the word seen instead of saw when it was proper and it drove me nuts. It was a great story but that little detail had me givng it a so-so rating.

  26. These things bother me too.

    Lindsay Rae - I noticed all the errors in Fifty Shades of Grey as well. I almost started marking it up with red pen! I don't think the errors existed in MOTU. I think the proofreader just got lazy (especially near the end of the book.) I just had to overlook it because I love the story so much! Can't wait for Fifty Shades Darker next month!

  27. People who use 'your' when they mean 'you are' irritate me.
    They probably slept through English class.

    I don't usually point out grammatical errors unless I'm helping a student. I don't want to be nit picky, heck, we all get a little lazy with the language sometimes.

    There was this one fic that I was reading though, that I went full grammar Nazi on the author. She had such a great story but her mistakes were atrocious. I offered to proofread for her because she obviously didn't use a beta. She thanked me for the offer but said her sister always proofs her stuff before posting. Obviously, they both slept through English class. The last chapter of her story, I counted over 60 stupid errors. My review pointed out each one. I felt like a shit head for doing it but I couldn't stand it.

    The Oatmeal site is hilarious. Check out the one about calling Customer Service. He obviously deals with AT&T, too.

  28. @Anonymous - that list was fucking hysterical. If English was my second language I definitely would just throw my hands up.

    My grammar isn't great but I try. I tend to fuck up the it's vs. its, even though I know what it should be.

    The one thing that pisses me off is quiet vs. quite. Makes me INSANE and so many people screw that up.

  29. Ugggggh I hate bad grammar like I hate Carlisle's Eclipse accent. It drives. me. bananas.

    The improper use of punctuation is a big one for me. Questions DO NOT end with a period, period. An apostrophe is not required to create a plural (apostrophe's... grrr). Also: sentences should NEVER end with a preposition. Aaaaaagh.

    One other pet peeve of mine that wasn't on the list is failure to use the Oxford comma. There's even a facebook group called "Society for the Preservation of the Oxford Comma." I didn't start it... someone beat me to it.

  30. Pretty much all of these are spot on for me also. I have to say though...I SUCK at the whole comma thing. I am never quite sure exactly where they should be.

  31. @My After Car - You like Vampire Weekend too??? ;)

  32. At.

    Where's it at? Where do you live at? Where'd you get that at?

    Drives. Me. Effing. Crazy. The woman who sits next to me at work is guilty of this infraction multiple times a day. If I didn't like her so much I'd have snapped and CP'd her by now.

  33. I want to reply to each of your comments and say "Yes! Yes! A thousand times yes!" I started to write about all my other language gripes, but the post was turning into a novel.

    @My After Car--My Achilles heel is the Oxford / Harvard comma. It was not in "fashion" when I was in college & I was trained not to use it. Now I can't make the switch back.

    I totally forgot to include the story of how I was accepted to a College of English at a fairly prestigious university. I was so shocked I almost didn't read the letter in its entirety. The acceptance letter had 3 run on sentences, 4 misspellings, & 2 punctuation errors. I corrected the errors in red pen & mailed it back to them with a note saying I would be declining their offer.

  34. I love you so much, Texaskatherine. I read fanfic all the time and just shake my head at the mispellings and mistaken words or the words that were thrown in there to sound "grown-up" or sophisticated. get a beta, or let me edit it for you, novice writer. So many times I'm reading a story with promise, but have to stop and move on to another one because I'm so skeeved out by the inability to spell, use vocabulary or a thesaurus. Thanks for calling BS.

  35. This is a sample of the menu that is currently chalked on the blackboard outside my office canteen.

    Various Salad's
    Jacket Potatoe's

    I will spit on my finger and rub the offending ' out!

  36. This post reminds me of my favorite bit from Zach Galifianakis:

    "She had a crack baby."
    "She had a crack, baby!"


    @Jacksonstat - Around my parts, I hear a lot of Where dat at? Where you live at? Where you get dat at?

    Oh I just reminded myself of one!
    It's A LOT not ALOT!

    I receive emails almost weekly from kids either about to start college or already in college looking for a scholarship, and most can't seem to understand that you should not send a formal email (requesting assistance to pay for higher education - hello!) without attempting to fix what auto correct has highlighted FOR their lazy ass - the whole damn email had to have been bright red before they hit send!!!

    TK - how was that for a run on sentence?

  37. I suck at the use of commas, apostrophes, semi-colons, pretty much any symbol really. I don't know when to use them and when not to. But I try to use the words that were mentioned correctly. However I never ever know when to use 'whom' What the fuck is that word anyway, bullshit I say! My spelling is also terrible, I need spell check on EVERYTHING! It still amazes me that I was able to obtain my Bachelors degree with all of my poor writing skills.

  38. @MrsKassieCullen--An easy way to remember the difference between "who" & "whom" is you can replace "who" with "he" & "whom" with "him." That's how I remember it.

    @Cheri--One of my favorite lines ever (that I stole from someone) is "Spellcheck yourself before you wreck yourself."

  39. My husband's spell check debacle: he's rushing to finish up a report before a meeting with his bosses and customers. He knows he is a horrible speller so he always accepts the spell check correction. Being rushed though, he didn't notice that he had changed dunnage to dungarees throughout his 10 page report. Naturally, he made a copy for everyone so they are all following along. They all shared a pretty good laugh over it. Most executives can't spell worth a damn, anyway.

  40. @TK—Thanks for the tip for "who" vs "whom." Although, that tip would require one to know when to use "he" or "him." Thankfully, I do. LOL!

    Question: What in the world is an "Oxford comma?"

  41. @JJ - As a matter of fact, I am a fan. And, *I* give a f*ck about Oxford commas :)

    @TK - I'm sure you could be convinced to make the switch. How about you hand over your collection of Robporn and I delete one for every infraction? It's all about the motivation, baby. PS, I love your response to the poorly-written acceptance letter. You and I might be long-lost siblings... or soul mates.

  42. I felt compelled to come back to this post and tell you that I just spent three hours editing a document for work. This is an information booklet about a disease that is sent out to hospitals around the country and is aimed at the general public.

    I removed about a billion 'however's from the text, you don't need that word in every second fucking sentence!

    I also added about a gazillion oxford commas. I love them. The original author of this document clearly didn't, and had no idea that you don't need your entire paragraph to be one sentence.

    *WELL AWARE that preceeding two paragraphs of this comment both consist of almost only one sentence*


  43. What pisses me off is
    pacific/specific suposebly/supposedly

    how do people get that shit wrong? I also hate when people use "literally" for everything. "I literally died when I saw that" Really? Really!?

  44. I LOVE that you've drawn other Twitards' attention to The Oatmeal :-) A colleague and I at work are forever sniggering at the articles on this off-the-wall site :-)

    In fact, the same colleague and I are also known as the grammar-police. We obtain great joy and satisfaction from ripping the work of our web-team to shreds, and I regularly get twitchy palms when I see some of the shoddy press releases they post. I have been known to step into the site via the back door to correct their work on more than one occasion. And they call themselves the 'Communications Team'? Lord, have mercy!

    Have to say, I'm totally with you on this one. I can't even read fanfic that's badly written :-/

    CC x


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