Nobody’s perfect (not even me)

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[Image credit: Stuart Miles]

The other day, I posted on Facebook and misspelled the word rode as road.  Not surprisingly, one of my friends commented right away.  For a split second, I contemplated deleting the status update.  But despite my grammar lessons (and upcoming “word-of-the-month” posts), I decided to let my imperfection hang out there.  After all, I’m the first to admit I’m not without fault.  And when we are in a hurry (like another recent update where I wrote soups on … without the apostrophe of all things), we oftentimes overlook words that look right because they are right — except for their context.   Other words I’ve noticed incorrectly substituted (by others, of course) include: loose for lose (not tight and not winning, respectively), affect (verb) versus effect (noun) and don’t even get me started on their, there and they’re (belonging to, location and they are).  Hopefully, your audience will be as forgiving as mine and laugh right along with you.  Because I guarantee … they’re not perfect, either.

What is a notable boo-boo you frequently see spelled correctly, but is used incorrectly?

Grammar lesson #1.5: an education on the apostrophe

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[Image credit: Grant Cochrane]

I hate to beat the poor misunderstood apostrophe to death, but lately I’ve noticed an increase in the gross misuse of this nondescript punctuation mark.  In my grammar lesson #1 about its and it’s, I discussed how the contraction in the latter usage is the result of shortening two words: it and is.  However, in the case of most singular nouns, an apostrophe is used to indicate possession; the absence of an apostrophe means more than one of something.  For example, my daughter’s new car sports a bright pink, fuzzy steering-wheel cover.  My daughter owns the car; therefore, an apostrophe is required.  And if I discuss my family and mention I have three amazing sisters, an apostrophe is not used because I’m talking about  quantity, not who owns what.  Simply stated: with means possessive, without means plural.

Do you, my readers, learn something from Always the Write Time’s grammar lessons?

Grammar lesson #1: it’s versus its

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[Image credit: Stuart Miles]

Last week I read a list of common grammar pet peeves circulating over the Internet and I shared the link on my Facebook timeline.  One of the irritations in question highlighted the use of its and it’s.  Although grammar has never been my strong suit (just ask my peers in my ASU writing workshops), the incorrect usage of the apostrophe in this instance irks me.  An easy way to remember the appropriate use of it’s is that an apostrophe shortens two words into one.  For example, don’t replaces do not and wasn’t for was not.  This same rule holds true when we use the word it’sit is simply an abbreviated version of the two words in question.  Its, on the other hand, tells the reader it belongs to someone or something.  Its lack of an apostrophe indicates possession.  Whose lack?  Its.  It’s not as hard as it looks.  Is it? 

What is the most aggravating grammar faux pas in your book?