“Great,” you say sarcastically. “Someone really posted about grammar?” Yes, yes, someone did, and this post might just save your life.
There are a million books out there about grammar. (Okay, maybe not a million, but there sure are a lot.) The best of which, and most comical in my humble opinion, (and, no, I won’t use the acronym) is Eats, Shoots and Leaves by Lynn Truss. If you haven’t read it, then stop reading this now, go to Amazon, and buy it. Yes, it is that good. No, no, don’t use the look inside feature. Just buy it. Yes, you in the front row? You already have it? Well, then pipe down; I was talking to the group in the back. Yes, I know most of them are already asleep. No, I won’t stop rambling. Yes, guy with drool on his face in the back. You don’t trust me? Then, why are you reading this blog on grammar? I’m telling you, it’s that good. I mean the writer is British but we can all forgive her that, right? (I kid. I love the British. They give us great tea, and married couples to obsess about, and everything sounds so much more official in a British accent. Seriously, re-read my first paragraph with a British accent, and you’ll see. Just do it. Quit arguing. I know this is a long aside. Fine, I’ll carry on then.)
Wait, you still haven’t gone to Amazon? I told you like 167 words ago to do it. Did you seriously just count all of the words?
Well, did you start with the word like? I didn’t, and neither should you. It’s a colloquialism for goodness’ sake. See, you should learn to trust me.
Okay, I got off topic and I do apologize. I hope you will stop counting and at least check it out. It is a great book. Sure, you can use the look inside feature, but I will feel the gap in our trust.
I was introduced to it during my last year of undergrad work studying history. It changed my outlook on writing, and from thence I became the self-proclaimed Grammar Nazi. The book’s main purpose is to teach the reader about commas along with the author’s biggest pet peeve about people using them. I brought it up because I was going to segue into my biggest pet peeve, but as usual I followed the rabbit trail. (Oh, is that Ben Savage talking about Girl Meets World?) See, there I did it again. Apologies.
My biggest annoyance when it comes to grammar, or usage in this case, is improperly using homonyms. Your and You’re. It’s and its. There, their, they’re. To, two, and too. It is something my students and frankly many adults do way too often. We really do need to fix this.
Let’s start with Your and You’re:
Your indicates possession.
For example, your new car is super neato!
You’re is a contraction of the words you and are.
For example, you’re the bees’ knees!
Please stop using them incorrectly. It hurts my head.
Next stop: It’s and Its:
It’s is the contraction for it and is. See, that little dangly thing between the t and the s. Some people refer to it annoyingly as a “flying comma”. Vomit. It is called an apostrophe. They are necessary for contractions. They scream at the reader, “Hey, there is a missing letter over here! Hey, see me? I took its place!” (See I tricked you there because I haven’t explained its yet, and I used it. Correctly.)
For example, that is a nice scooter. It’s top of the line.
Its shows possession. See how there is no apostrophe? That’s because it is the only time when an apostrophe is not needed to show possession. Confused? Yeah, well how much more confused would you be if we were discussing it’s and it’s? See paragraph above for example.
Onto There, Their, and They’re:
There is used to show location. Notice the word here inside of it? T(here). That’s a little clue and a freebie from me to you.
For example, you need to put the dwarves over there.
Their is used to show ownership. Once again, notice the word heir inside? T(heir). You are correct guy in the back with drool on his face. An heir is a person who gets their wealthy parents money. (And by the way, thanks for cleaning up the drool. I was starting to throw up again.)
For example, their son is really good at dwarf tossing.
They’re is a contraction for the words they and are. Once again, the apostrophe. Girl in the front, if you call it a “flying comma” one more time, so help me . . .
For example, they’re a really cute dwarf couple. Aww, tender.
Last and certainly not least, To, Too, and Two.
To indicates a direction, and it is a preposition. It can also be used in the infinitive form of a verb.
For example, we need to go to the dodgeball tournament.
To go = infinitive. (By the way, don’t split it unless you’re spitting out awesomeness in the form of Star Trek.
To the dodgeball tournament = prepositional phrase.
Too indicates more than enough of something.
For example, that is too much mustard!
Two is the number. It stands for 2. Or 1 + 1. That equals 2. Or two.
For example, there are two dwarves on that dodgeball team!
Thus concludes my first lesson/rant. I hope I have enlightened your day.
And just in case you were wondering: No. No dwarves were harmed in the writing of this blog.