Sunday, November 7, 2010

Don't Worry - I'm An English Major!

Disclaimer: This post is about grammar. I sincerely apologize, and may God strike me down dead, if I am incorrect or if the post itself contains grammatical errors. Alas, no one is perfect.

Grammatical errors make me angry. They make me want to stab unicorns.


Don't worry, I only hunt unicorn for food, not sport.

I don't look down on any one who makes a grammatical mistake, or uses incorrect punctuation. I make those same mistakes as well. That being said, let me take you back to high school English class ....

English teacher: If you’re combining two independent clauses you should use a comma and a coordinating conjunction. Here’s a fun acronym to help you out.. FANBOYS!

For
And
Nor
But
Or
Yet
So

Student: Wha..? And also, Zzzzzz.....

Forward five to ten years in time. You’re writing an academic paper, or maybe a memorandum for work. You don’t remember how to use commas, and the phrase FANBOYS conjures some sort of vague memory involving pop music and perhaps Bartles and Jaymes.

For heaven’s sake don’t just make up grammar as you go along! Consult a manual, a website or a friendly English major for advice.

The following errors make me particularly twitchy...

1) Their / There / They’re

“Their” is a possessive adjective

“There” refers to a place

“They’re” is short for They Are.

Example: They’re grateful their ponies are over there in the kitchen.

2) A lot / Alot / Allot

"Alot" is not a word.

This sentence should not exist: I have alot of beer-drenched ponies in my kitchen.

"A lot" means a large quantity.

Example: I have a lot of beer-drenched ponies in my kitchen.

"Allot" is a verb. It means to distribute.

Example: I allot each blogger one beer-drenched pony.

3) Affect / Effect

"Affect" is a verb. It means, “To influence or to have an effect on.”

Example: The type of beer used affects how many beer-drenched ponies will fit in your kitchen.

"Effect" is a noun. It means, “Something brought about by a cause."

Example: A positive effect of the beer-drenching incident was ponies with a rich malt flavor balanced by a slight hoppy bitterness.

4) All Right / Alright

"All right" is a synonym for okay or satisfactory. It can also mean “all correct.”

Example: It's all right to store your beer-drenched ponies in the kitchen.

Alright is not a word. Neither is gorleshabib. No amount of non-standard usage will make it so.

This sentence should not exist: You should always store your beer-drenched ponies in the kitchen.

And don’t even get me started on “Irregardless...”

3 comments:

Sandra said...

I'm suddenly mentally scanning my previous posts wondering if wrote "all right or alright" and "a lot or alot!"
Suddenly feeling like an 8th grader, but appreciate the post, because personally (and don't tell anyone I said this) but I get so annoyed with bloggers who can't write for shit. I'm like, "Why are you blogging then?"....don't judge me, I'm judgemental I know!

Angela Pelnar Wherritt said...

I totally get what you're saying. Fear not, no one is perfect! I contemplated whether even to publish this post for fear of coming across as a judgmental jerk or a hypocrite.

Angela Pelnar Wherritt said...

Hmmm...upon re-reading this post, I'm finding that, as I harped upon in a previous post, I still can't use commas correctly. That's what I get for getting all ranty at 1:00 in the morning.