Monday, July 16, 2012

I should have known better

One of my major pet peeves is the misuse of should have.  I frequently hear people say and see people write should of instead.  I think this may stem from the contraction should've, which sounds like should of when said aloud.  Go ahead, try it.  Okay, that is all about that one.  It's just wrong.  Don't use it.

Another one that drives me up a wall is using the word ran when it should be run.  This seems to happen most often when the word is paired with have.  Many people say/write: "I should have ran," rather than "I should have run."  Incidentally, that is the correct usage of should haveRan is the plain past tense of the word runRun is used in instances of had run, have run, and will have run. 

It amuses me when people try to use a common phrase, but actually say the exact opposite of what they mean.  For example: "I could care less about that movie," when they actually mean "I couldn't care less."  Could care less isn't the phrase anyway, but it also does not mean that the person doesn't care at all.  That's what the phrase is supposed to mean.  Another example of this is someone saying: "I don't care to go to the movies," rather than "I don't care if we go to the movies."  Don't care to means you don't want to do something; whereas don't care if means you don't mind doing something. 

Please, think before you speak!  And look twice when you write!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Grammar for Gamers

People who know me well probably know that I do some gaming.  I play a few online role-playing games primarily.  I'm not a hardcore gamer by any means.  But I have noticed a number of misused (and misspelled) words while reading blogs and forums related to these games. 

Some of these have really been bothering me.  I only have a few examples here, but I'm certain more will come to my attention.

The first one is using board rather than bored.  The poster was discussing things gamers do when their game is down and they are board.  The post was entertaining, but I really wanted to reply to it and correct the grammar.  In case you're not sure:

  • Board is a piece of wood or a surfboard.  It could be used interchangably with plank, as in a "plank of wood."
  • Bored indicates a person feeling like they have nothing to do, or that they wish they were doing something different than they are.
This is just another example of words that have absolutely nothing to do with each other except sounding alike.

Another error that irritates me is using the word loose for lose.  I see this one frequently both in-game and in the forums.  The only difference between the pronunciation of these words is, of course the "s."  In loose it is pronounced "s," but in lose it is pronounced "z."  I don't know why that is, really.  It's just one of those oddities of the English language.  I started to compare loose to words like moose and goose, but I went on to add choose and realized the rule broke there.  Because the "s" is choose is pronounced like a "z." 

Examples of the correct use of these words:

  • You can lose your dog; but if you loose it, you have intentionally let it go.  Loose isn't used this way much in modern English, though.
  • We use it more often thus: his pants are loose, her dress is loose, loosen your tie.

I'm only going to mention the last one briefly, as I have already addressed it in a previous post.  The contraction you're is frequently replaced by your.  I am quite certain that in most cases this is usually done for expediency.  It is still irritating to a stickler for proper grammar.

I'm not trying to pick on my gaming friends!  But I know that it is possible to be a gamer and still use proper grammar and spelling in most game related communication.  Of course, there are always exceptions.

Monday, May 21, 2012

To...Too...Two Bad

By request, I am going to address one of the most common errors people make when they are writing.  These three words are frequently mixed up and misused - two, to, and tooTwo is perhaps less mistreated than the other two.  (See how I used it correctly there?)  From my observations of online forums and other media, it seems that most often to is used in place of too, and less frequently the other way around.  Sometimes, I think the mistake can be a simple typographical error - hitting the o too many times, or not enough.  Oh, look! I used it correctly there!

Here are the basics of these words:

The easiest to remember is two, the number 2. 

To is a verb usually used in conjunction with other verbs.  It denotes action: "I'm going to the store." "I have to be there at two o'clock."

Too is an adverb.  It means also, or as well.  "I need milk, too." "That's too bad."  "I have to be there at two, too."  Okay, that last one is a little silly.  I wouldn't actually write a sentence like that, but it shows all three words in their appropriate use.

My greatest vexations, however, are the people who are just too lazy to hit the extra o.  Really, people!  It's just one letter.  Please, use it!  I promise you won't break your fingers (or your keybord, for that matter).   

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Whelp/Welt

I've been wanting to write about this little annoyance for a few weeks now.  I hear it all the time and bite my tongue to keep from correcting everyone.  Many people use the word whelp when they mean welt. A whelp is a puppy or cub.  To whelp is to give birth.  I believe dog breeders still use the term whelping box.  A welt is a red mark or raised area of skin from being struck or stung.  A welt does not whelp up

These words have nothing to do with one another, except for sounding a little alike. I understand that some non-standard English is acceptable in everyday conversation, but it bothers me that many Americans, apparently, don't know their own language well enough to realize there is a difference.  I want to scream every time I hear it! Am I a grammar Nazi? Yup.  I live with it and try not to irritate other people by correcting them.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Misused Words

Many words are often misused or confused with others that are similar.  Some of these are seen often on the internet - social sites, blogs, forums, etc. (By the way, sites is one of those words). 

Site is used for a website or a work site; whereas, one cites a reference in a paper or a person for recognition.

Another example is the dreaded there/they're/their.  There primarily designates a location; they're is the contraction of they are; and their is a possessive pronoun.

My house is over there.
They're coming to my house.
They're going back to their house.

A similar example is the use of the possessive your, rather than you're.  I see this one frequently in texts, instant messages, Facebook, and forums.  Ex: your coming to my house, right?  I growl and want to correct the person every time I see it.  I even had a hard time writing that sample sentence.  I know many people use it because it's shorter, but really, it is only two characters more to use the correct word.  Yes, I am one of those annoying people that types out nearly every word in a text.  I only start abbreviating if my message is running on to two or three texts before I'm done.  But if you've ever recieved a text from me, you could understand it, couldn't you?

Another group of words that are commonly misused is right/write/rite/wright.  Right can designate a direction, but is also a synonym for correct.  Write probably the least misused of this group.  If you need a definition of that one, you're in big trouble.  A rite is a ritual, such as a rite of passage.  A wright is the maker of something, such as a wheelwright.  How many knew that last one?

I could go on for pages with other misused words.  These are some common ones.  I'm sure I'll think of others to write about another time.  English is a language that is both fascinating and irritating because of its complcated rules.

Monday, April 2, 2012

To Be...Or Not

One of my greatest pet peeves is people leaving out the "to be" verb when they speak.  They may say, "It needs washed," or "The dog needs walked."  It looks and sounds so wrong, but I hear it often in Oklahoma.  I wonder if this is a regional tendency, or whether people in other parts of the country drop the poor "to be" as well.  Is it more economical to leave out those two words?  The meaning and intent are still conveyed, but these are very short words that don't take long to say. 

People, please don't sacrifice the "to be" in order to say what you want to say just a little bit faster!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

1 April 2012

This is my first attempt at writing a blog.  I wanted a place to express my frustrations with the seeming degredation of the English language.  Every day, I hear people misuse words and sentence structures.  Signs with grammatical or punctuation errors make me cringe!  I certainly do not claim to have perfect grammar, but my mother drilled it into me throughout my schooling. (Thank you, Mom!)  Because of her, I love grammar and spelling!  So, here are my thoughts on the subject.