Living Outside The Lines: Here Come The Grammar Police!

Despite this simple rule, many folks, especially Texans, insist on misplacing the apostrophe in this manner “Ya’ll!” Come on people, the apostrophe in that slot serves absolutely no purpose, it’s just taking up unnecessary space.

Becky J Miller

What better way is there to start the New Year than with a grammar lesson? There are many people who may profess English as their first language, but that claim alone doesn’t necessarily equate to mastery.

Airing from 1973 to 2009, Schoolhouse Rock did a lot to teach children about proper grammar. Come on y’all, who among us today doesn’t still sing, “Conjunction, junction, what’s your function…” Just me?  #lies  Those public service cartoons were a staple of my childhood, having such an impact that I purchased the entire video set for my own children.

In the nine years since the retirement of Schoolhouse Rock, it seems our grasp of the English language has greatly declined. Perhaps I’m reaching, but those of us who are card carrying members of the grammar police cannot help but cringe every. single. time. someone uses a contraction incorrectly, mixes up a homonym or just completely misuses a word.

One of the saddest realities is that most grammar abusers are completely immune to their deficiencies. For the sake of time, I shan’t address the plethora of misapplications but rather focus on the select few that this author finds particularly annoying.

Let’s start with contractions. The purpose of an apostrophe in a contraction is to replace a letter or letters. For example; “You all” becomes “Y’all” with the apostrophe standing in for the “ou” while they grab a quick lunch. Despite this simple rule, many folks, especially Texans, insist on misplacing the apostrophe in this manner “Ya’ll!” Come on people, the apostrophe in that slot serves absolutely no purpose, it’s just taking up unnecessary space.

Call me Judgey McJudge Pants, but every time I see a grammar mistake, I wince, shake my head, and wonder what the heck?? Errors amongst everyday folk can easily be blamed on public education, sincere apologies to all my friends who are educators, but grammar errors in a publication people pay money for, are inexcusable.

Another common mistake is the use of “Your” and “You’re”. “Your” is a personal pronoun, or the possessive form of you. For example, when my brother tells me, “Your mother is coming to visit in December” she is my mom, so the use of “your” in this instance is absolutely accurate.

However, if my brother were to state, “You’re mother is coming to visit in December.” I would stop in my tracks since “You’re” is a contraction, with the apostrophe replacing the “a” in are. Remove the apostrophe and the sentence would read, “You are mother is coming to visit in December.”  #huh??

How about “Their, There and They’re”??  #oyvey provides this easy to follow guidance, “Their” implies ownership, “there” is a location, and “they’re” is a contraction for “they are”. “They’re sitting over there, next to their dog,” is a terrible sentence nevertheless it accurately uses each form of the commonly confused words.

Admittedly, the proper use of “capital” and “capitol” stumps even me on occasion. Generally I use this little trick; Austin is the capitol of Texas so any contextual use of the word outside of that arena is spelled, “capital”. Basically, capital refers to currency except when denoting the use of capital letters. Those pesky rule breakers are confusing, so in this case, I recommend using “upper and lower” case letters instead of capitals.

Let’s not even get started on, “irregardless!” It’s NOT even a word, y’all!!! The word is “regardless”. I don’t care how strong the intent, it is never. ever. okay to say, “irregardless.”

I’ll end my grammar tirade with an easy one, seriously, I learned this in seventh grade; principle versus principal. Are you ready? This revelation is going to be so shockingly simple people are going to wonder how they never knew. The school principal is a friend. Get it? Ruminate on that one for a while.

Until Next Time,
Becky J Miller
“Warrior Princess”

Becky J Miller is a contributor and is exclusive to SM Corridor News. You can read more of Becky’s columns in Lifestyle.


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