Tuesday, March 4, 2014

National Grammar Day, Or: Do You Know Why I Pulled You Over?

It's National Grammar Day! The one day you're allowed to be the grammar police without fear of backlash. We've all been deputized, right? For today's Grammar Day PSA, I'd like to share some of my biggest grammar and spelling pet peeves and faux pas. I promise, I speak in love. We'll start with the grammatical equivalent of nails on a chalkboard:

1. Your/You're
Do I really need to say more? Winner of the "Most likely to annoy you on Facebook" award.

2. Alot
This one is for my husband. He's a very laid back guy, but I can't tell you how many times I've heard him say, "A LOT IS TWO WORDS!" One of the many reasons I love him. (Side note: He read this over my shoulder, saw the word "alot" and was this close to yelling at me when he read the rest of the paragraph and started laughing.)

3. Thru
Should only be used when accompanied by a side of fries. The fact that the dictionary actually allows this as an "informal spelling of through" makes me want to cry. NO. Just NO.

4. Lack of Punctuation
If reading your words aloud causes you to pass out due to lack of oxygen, you might want to consider some periods. Or at least a comma or two.

5. Autocorrect's Obsession with Contractions
I love my iPhone, but can someone please explain to me why autocorrect always insists on changing "were" to "we're" and "well" to "we'll"?

Of course, it wouldn't be fair of me to pick on everyone else without admitting to my own shortcomings. So here are some confessions of my own:

1. It's/Its
Yes, I passed the second grade. My only excuse for this one is that my pinky finger has a mind of its own. One of my very first assignments for the Institute of Children's Literature came back from my instructor with a whole lot of red-inked edits because I had misspelled every single its. How's that for embarrassing?

2. Lead/Led
Halfway through editing my last novel, it was brought to my attention that I have some sort of heavy metals obsession. I ended up having to do a search of my entire manuscript for the word "lead" so I could change them all to the proper word. Apparently, if I'm going to misspell something I go all in. At least I'm consistent, right?

3. Alright
Did you know this word isn't technically even a word? Because I didn't, until about nine months ago. Turns out it should be written as two words: all right. Except maybe when quoting Matthew McConaughey.

4. Necessary 
This word is my nemesis. Does the c or the s come first? Should there be one? Two? Forget it, I'll just right click and let spell check fix it!

5. Lay/Laid/Lie
If you automatically know which one to use without having to look it up, you're my hero.

On today of all days, I would be remiss if I didn't give a shoutout and a giant THANK YOU to my amazing friend Laurie, who is the most grammatically correct person I know. My book would be a hot mess if it wasn't for her eagle-eye error detection and correction skills. I owe her BIG TIME.

So what did I miss? What are the errors that annoy you most? Any confessions of your own? Share in the comments!

Now to cross my fingers and hope this post is error free...

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