Ponder this:

Monday, August 20, 2012

Yet another grammar rant

The Girl's Like Spaghetti: Why, You Can't Manage without Apostrophes!
Image from Amazon.com


It/It's/Its
The only time an apostrophe should be anywhere near "it" is when it replaces letters and creates a contraction. It's is one of two combinations of words: it is or it has.
Its, without an apostrophe, is possessive. 


People have become afraid to use an s on the end of a word without throwing in an apostrophe. Last week I saw a license plate frame on a vehicle. On the frame there was written "The Hart's." I wonder which one of the Hart family owns that car, assuming it is not owned by a male of the red deer especially when over five years old. (Where would he fit his antlers while driving?)  If the meaning were that the Hart family owns the vehicle, it would have read "The Harts'".

I think, however, that those license plate frames are greetings rather than messages of ownership. The entire concept of announcing one's existence via license plate frames or little signposts in the front yard goes against my grain.

I/Me
There appears to be great fear of me abroad in the land.
My grandparents took my brother and me camping gets twisted into My grandparents took my brother and I camping because the writer or speaker fears using me. It's just as painfully incorrect as Hi, me am home. 
Please, please: My brother and I go camping with my grandparents.

Singular/Plural
Words for groups of things, people, etc., are, in essence, singular words.  Family is a singular word. I use the word family so I don't have to say, "My mother, my father, my sisters Beulah, Drusilla, Eustachia, and my brothers Billy Bob, Joe Bob, and Dan Bob..."
My family has its own car, not My family has our own car or, Heaven forfend, My family has their own car (What, are you suddenly not one of them?).

Oh, I could go on and on, but I'm beginning to twitch, and it's making me spill my ice water.

34 comments:

Retired English Teacher said...

Amen!

ladyhawthorne said...

I am with you on this, it drives me crazy. The texting abbreviations do as well. I don't text but people use it in emails and on facebook too. What? I'm not worthy of having you use proper English or a proper sentence?

DJan said...

You make me laugh. Some of the most educated people I know misuse the it/it's thing, and for years I had to be careful about the auto-correct feature on MS Word, since it ALWAYS inserted an apostrophe, no matter what the usage was. Sheesh!

And just this morning I pondered the use of "I" or "me" in a sentence, and rewrote it so it would be correct for sure. Usually I can tell by simply thinking about how it would be in a singular sense. But not always! My "inner stickler" gets its panties in a twist fairly often! :-)

cloudia charters said...

So prevalent! Thanks



Aloha from Honolulu
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georgia little pea said...

Lordy, very early on a Monday morning for grammar class. But since you're at it, are you a "dog who" or "dog that" kind of girl? Also i would like to blame the iPad completely for my sometimes lack of apostrophes. See how it didn't even capitalise the I in the last sentence? Bad.

Time for coffee. Have a great day, June! X

Linda Myers said...

Makes me nuts. If I come upon a webpage with an error like that, I don't patronize the company.

Eileen said...

I have my own pet peeves such as learned and learnt, well and good, and principle and principal. But the 's on everything is probably the one that drives me around the bend the most.

I'm with Linda Meyers - I tend to move on from a webpage if I find a number of grammatical errors.



June said...

RET and LadyH, I figured you two would be with me on this.

DJan, I know! Education seems to have no influence on the [mis]use of the language. I feel like a mean old woman ranting about this, but it bothers me!

Cloudia, isn't it though!

Typist, it was mid-Sunday-afternoon here. I never could have put it together first thing in the morning.

Linda, I have seen billboards and newspaper headlines with grammatical (and spelling) errors. I'd think that if it were somebody's job to communicate, he'd be able to write the language.

Eileen, I share your peeves, although I think "learnt" might be an English word that didn't make it to this century in the US.

June said...

Typist, I meant to answer your question. I don't know what I do, but I have given it some thought since you asked. I think, if I am personally acquainted with the dog about whom I speak, I say "who," but if it's an unknown dog, I say "that."
I think Proper Usage is "that," isn't it?

Rose ~ from Oz said...

Oh me, oh my I am going to have to lift my game - I have become lazy with not only punctuation and grammar but I was aware of two spelling errors I made this morning in my replies to comments and did nothing to correct them. See, lazy! June, you will continue to visit me though .... won't you?

VioletSky said...

For a time, I wanted to be a proofreader and travel the streets and correct menu boards. I thought I'd be able to write off my meals that way. I hadn't gotten so far as to figure out how I would get paid....

and I, too, have abandoned reading posts with bad grammar and/or spelling.

VioletSky said...

........aaaargh and there I go and spell my URL wrong.

June said...

Rose, it would take more than a lack of proper punctuation to keep me from reading your blog!

VioletSky, do you mean you to the Name/URL thing when you comment? I'd fail every time if I did that. I just stay signed in all the time.

Marcia said...

Billy Bob, Joe Bob and Dan Bob? So you're in WV?
I love your apostrophe rant. Every time I see a painted rock at the end of a driveway saying "The Moore's", I cringe.

Pauline said...

I've just realized I have been correcting my daughter on the I/me thing for 21 years. She's not a slow learner but refuses to acknowledge that I am correct in this case. I expect a reply something like "and who made this person the expert on this subject?" I admit she's smarter than me at most things but I absolutely refuse to give in on this one. It's important, dammit! Crikey, I'm almost fired up enough for a good rant. :)

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

You'd be permanently edgy here then . In Dutch , a word that ends in a vowel is given an apostrophe before the s when you make it plural .
Elton John's house , for instance , is probably full of piano's and Josephine Baker occasionally danced in banana's .

rachel said...

Breathe, June, breathe..... Just think how much worse it would be if you could detect glottal stops in the written word. Or wri'en word....

Rian said...

Oh dear, I'm afraid that I'm also guilty of the "it, it's, its" thingy. For a while I would check my spelling and grammar carefully, but with texting (and that auto-grammar thing can be quite amusing) and keeping up with my blogging and comments, I've gotten quite lazy. I will try to do better.

Hilary said...

The I/me thing also gets to me. I'm always surprised how many teachers, writers and newspaper/magazine editors allow that one to pass.

All one needs to do is remove the other person from the equation and if "I" still works, then it's appropriate. If not, the word is "me?"

C-ingspots said...

Oh, I cracked up at this post! I too, have had heebiejeebies at times over this very subject...not that I'm perfect, but come on people! I so agree with you, and found your words to be hilarious. You've made me smile this morning. Thanks!! :)

Friko said...

Oh dear me, you have it bad. I just snort, when I hear these grammatical mistakes and let my disgust appear clearly on my face.

How about 'the amount' instead of 'the number'?

The amount of people who get that wrong . . . . . its a real pain for I.

Anonymous said...

The apostrophe problem is the worst. I think this is all attributable to Spell Check on Word. It always uses apostrophes in plurals. I learned grammar and punctuation from nuns and now even I'm screwed up about apostrophes.

The Horror!

Vicki Lane said...

Oh, yes -- that stuff makes me twitchy too.

the veg artist said...

The I/Me thing drives me mad, especially when I hear it on television from the mouths of presenters who should know better.

June said...

Marcia! Marcia Marcia Marcia!

Pauline, it sounds as if your daughter is one of the many who say, in response to correction, "You KNEW what I MEANT!"

S&S, I'd be pretty edgy surrounded by the Dutch language anyway, I fear . . . having no clue to it. I can sort of figure it out if it's written, but not much...

Rachel, I think of glottal stops as more of a dialect thing. Dialectal nuances don't affect me the same way as grammar . . . nuances.

Rian, to me, it's one thing if somebody used to know better and is being bamboozled by state of the art electronics. What truly gets my goat is the people who've never known what's right. And don't care.

Hilary, BINGO! Yes! Thank you! Although I think that some people don't have the "ear" to know what sounds right.

C-ing Spots,I'm delighted that my sputtering gave you a laugh. It's ridiculous to get so worked up over this stuff, but I can't keep myself from doing it.

Friko, oh yes. Number/amount... That's another one, most definitely.

Anon, maybe you're right. My belief is that people don't read well-written articles and books anymore, so they don't see properly written words and sentences.

Vicki, I figured you'd be in the boat with me.

the veg artist, absolutely it is the worst of all to hear it from the lips of people who get paid to communicate.

Barb said...

June, I bet you liked to diagram sentences when you were in high school. I did, too!

June said...

No, Barb, I did not like to diagram sentences. I didn't know how. I went from a K-8 country school to 6th grade in a comparatively large elementary school and I had never heard of diagramming sentences. And then I was sent to the blackboard to do one. I still remember the laughter.

Beth Camp said...

Thanks for stopping by, June, to share the mermaids! This is rather a big deal for me. :) My personal grammar rant has to do with sentences that begin with "there are" or "it is" with no previous point of reference! You clearly point out what so many struggle with. Ooops! We're not supposed to end a sentence a preposition with! And how about answering the phone, "Whom may I say is calling?" Still, well done.

fiftyodd said...

Ranting right there with you! I used to be an English teacher but I gave up on the use of the apostrophe. So many kids just couldn't get it.

fiftyodd said...

I am ranting along right with you. I used to be an English teacher...

Isabelle said...

Indeed. People think that "I" is more polite than "me". Bonkers.

Morning Bray Farm said...

Haha. Love this post and love the names of your sisters and brothers.

fiftyodd said...


Are you familiar with Lynne Truss's "Eats, Shoots & Leaves" - also mostly about the misuse of the Apostrophe and Comma. Her title is about what a panda eats, but the comma placement gives the sentence a whole new meaning! My brother was telling me about a diet programme he had seen called (I thought) "Eat fast and grow thin". This would be good for me - I've always been criticised for eating too fast. However, the correct title was punctuated differently: "Eat, Fast & Grow Thin" . Not for me after all.

Olga said...

If I did not distinctly remember giving birth to her, I would swear that you must certainly be my daughter's real mother and I just adopter her.