I’m a staid old grammar person, for sure. When I read something like “your going shopping, arent you?”, I shrink from it.
Today, I’ll be discussing the worst of the worst grammar mistakes a person can make.
First, I must naturally address the your versus you’re. I refuse to believe that someone doesn’t know the difference between the two. Surely the sinner must know what you’re stands for in the first place. Assuming so, there can be only one other possibility as to why anyone would make such a cruel error: he is simply too lazy to add an e to the end of your. I believe people generally write on their phones, texting & whatnot. Well, if you simply add an e to the end of “your” to make it youre, Autocorrect adds the apostrophe for you. It’s as simple as adding the e! Yet many people don’t. This mistake is hideous & shameful & I devoutly hope the epidemic of incorrect your‘s will subside soon.
Second on the list is that poor phrase not-only/but-also. Sure, you only learned it to pass the SAT, but that doesn’t mean it should be neglected after that. It’s probably only me in my strange little world who does this, but whenever I see not only in a sentence, I can’t rest until I find (if I can find) the but also. Not only is it simply correct, but it also makes more sense & lends the whole sentence dignity.
Speaking of dignity, whatever happened to the poor little semicolon? He’s starving in a dark corner, suffering through everyone’s scorn & criticism. Supreme Court justices aren’t the only ones who use this or should use this. Personally, I adore semicolons; if it wasn’t for the intolerance we have for them, I’d use them everywhere. As it is, I feel guilty if I use more than two in a paragraph for fear I’ll look too facetious. Why the stereotype with semicolons? Sometimes one becomes tired of using the hyphen to connect two related sentences together – the hyphen is so exhausting & sticks out so badly. On the other hand, a well-placed semicolon is discreet. No, it’s more than that; it’s a flawless segue into a new sentence while still connecting the two. There is poetry in the semicolon. Maybe someday, when this world is more perfect, we shall all come to accept & appreciate the semicolon. Its time will come. To convince you further of the semicolon’s potential, here’s another noble post on it.
The fourth error which I firmly believe is an error is the absence of the Oxford comma. I absolutely require the Oxford comma in everything I do. Grammar would not be grammar without the Oxford comma. Let me give you an example of it:
Melanie wanted a pygmy owl, a baby hedgehog, & a sugar glider.
The last comma in that sentence is an Oxford comma. Without it, the sentence goes:
Melanie wanted a pygmy owl, a baby hedgehog & a sugar glider.
(It hurts me just to write that sentence without the Oxford
comma.) Without the extra comma, it seems as though the pygmy owl is a mix of hedgehog & sugar glider. False, as far as I know.
Here’s a post on the Oxford comma by that same courageous woman who so valiantly defended the semicolon up there.
Last but not least, when did people start ignoring the word fewer? No, these days it’s never fewer than seventeen cats, it’s always less than seventeen cats! Where did that spring from? Who just decided that stage time for fewer was over? I don’t know what the world is coming to.
Now, after all that critical analysis, it only remains for me to reassure you that I make a great many grammatical mistakes myself. I even intend to make mistakes sometimes because it conveys my meaning better. When chatting with a friend, I’m not about to write, “Could you please pick up cookies?”. I would probably say, “Could ya get coookies??”. Please don’t take me for a crazy grammar person.
Another grammatical “error” I use all the time is an error up to interpretation. Grammar Nazis say that you cannot begin a sentence with but. But I say to heck with that! I like starting my sentences with but. However is altogether too stick-y-out-y.
I’m sure more grammar posts will be forthcoming, but I’m going to try not to harp too much. Grammar people get on my nerves as I’m sure they get on everyone’s nerves. It’s simply a sad fact of life. Yet let it be known! I respect grammar people immensely. They are pulling the weight of all the other grammar slackers. They are trying to correct & enrich the world.