After I pick on a few common grammar errors, I thought I would share a couple of funny links I have come across. That reminds me: the other day I heard someone say “acrosst,” and my brain nearly exploded. I hope my face did not betray my treacherous feelings.
I’m actually looking forward to school starting soon, because I’m guaranteed to have more fodder for grammar discussion as soon as the assignments start pouring in. (For you students or former students of mine, know that you are indeed my blog material. Thanks for the great typos!) All I can say to my students, and to you readers, is “You should’ve PROOFREAD!”
Speaking of which, one popular error is the mistaken identity that “should’ve” takes, as well as “could’ve” and “would’ve.” What do those words actually mean? They are short for “should have,” “could have,” and “would have.” The common error is to mistake the “have” for “of” and then say “could of,” as in “I could of said that right, but instead I chose wrong. I should of kept my mouth shut.”
Rookie grammar mistakes include bad signage, which I have talked about several times before. Again, proofreading would be really nice. Especially when you pay good money for a sign, as a business owner, and no one has carefully proofed the sign before it goes up. (Sign companies: hire me!)
One such mistake is the mixing up of the words then and than. Oh, they sound so similar, yet they have such different applications! The word “than” is used for comparative purposes. “I have fewer grammatical errors than he does.” “Then” is an adverb, an adjective, or a noun, depending on its use. It gets mistakenly misused in place of that comparative “than.” Often “then” is part of a sequence (“after this, then that”) and can be misused at that time. Just remember “than” is comparative.
One more beef: The word until, which often gets shortened. The word to which it gets shortened is ’til. You know, when some letters get removed and replaced by an apostrophe? In this case, those letters are “un.” Many writers will replace it with till, a word with a completely different meaning.
One of my critics likes to argue usage to defend misusage. This person will probably say this mistaken use of ’til has been so often used, that it has become acceptable. Indeed, I have a book on my bedside table by CS Lewis, Till We Have Faces, which might prove this critic correct. It still makes me cringe, Lewis or not. I would argue that several wrongs do not make a right in this case. Till is a totally different word!
Now for some very funny grammar mistakes, and the fun we can have with them.
This comic shows how someone can have a physical reaction to bad grammar. I often feel like this.
And here is a test I would like the internet to administer before allowing people to use it.
Keep those grammar peeves coming! I could of used more this week then the week before… (twitch).