I happened to be scrolling through my past blogs a couple of days ago, feeling nostalgic and also slightly embarrassed for whatever reason I cannot fathom (probably the massive fangirl sessions on aliens and vampires and goodness-knows-what-else that I foolishly posted on the internet and that will now haunt me forever and ever amen) when I happened upon my statistics page. No matter what I’m doing, it always seems to end up in me checking my stats. Foolish – I know. Vain… probably. I can’t help it. A small part of me likes to know that people dare to come to this blog when they’re procrastinating, and it makes me feel the slightest twinge of joy.
Okay, maybe it makes me feel a lot of joy.
Anyway, it turns out that after over a year, my Grammatical Errors blog is still going strong. In fact, of all my blogs and reviews, it has the second most page views (after ‘My Night(mare) In Hospital'… evidently my pain is deeply amusing to you people… not that I’m complaining). That’s pretty intense. So I decided to do another one.
Now, it’s fairly well known news that I recently joined Facebook (my personal account – still working on the blog page). Don’t get me wrong; I don’t regret it all the time. Okay, in all honesty, I regret it about 99% of the time. Facebook is only useful in keeping up with old or faraway friends; all it does apart from that is provide me with a cheap, unsatisfactory form of procrastination.
Of course (and I’m sure you saw this coming) it also makes me gag – quite often – at the disgusting misuse of the English language that people dare to put on their timelines. I’m not an English teacher, nor am I a lecturer in the English language, but I am passing eleventh grade English, and I still know more grammar than about forty-percent of people using Facebook. Isn’t that sad? It makes me sad.
I will not be posting pictures of the posts I’ve seen in my own feed that abuse the laws of language, because that would be downright stupid. The entire point of social media is to be able to critique people gently without directly assaulting them, is it not? (I want to laugh at the irony in that statement… I really do.) So I’ll use general pictures that I’ve gathered from the Internet to illustrate my points.
I hope you’ll make use of these rules when next updating your Facebook status. Tag me and I’ll applaud you.
Rule #1: Punctuation is everything
There are these things that everybody learns about in their first year of school… They’re called “sentences”. I know that it’s a difficult concept for some people to grasp, but when you’ve finished making a point, put a full stop. It’s that dot on your keyboard below “L” and next to this thing: “?”. No, it’s not a piece of dirt... or a cookie crumb.
Sometimes you can ramble off a long sentence to create a specific effect (NOT “affect”: effect is the noun, and affect is the verb), but don’t just string a whole lot of random things together and call it a sentence. That’s disgusting. It’s like taking a whole lot of different songs and playing them all at once.
Rule #2: … But never too much punctuation!
Okay… It’s alright, Amy. Breathe, breathe… This is one of the most common mistakes I’ve seen on Facebook, and surprisingly it seems to generate and multiply in the adult world. Come on, people, you’ve passed high school already! But just a refresher:
Ellipses (singular: ellipsis) are those dotty thingies that you use to pause for dramatic effect. You know the ones: “…” as in “She threw off the long white cloth to reveal… a wardrobe.” Please – PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE – do not use them in a trail like this: “………………….” No. Just… no. We are not Hansel and Gretel leaving crumbs to find our way back to the previous word. We are connoisseurs of the English language. We do not need petty trails to find our way around sentences.
Exclamation points look like this: “!”. We use them when we get excited about certain things, such as: “Holy meatballs, that man’s stealing my car!” Only under very strict and appropriate circumstances do we use two exclamation points. Even then, it is frowned upon. We do not ever use more than two, unless you are a bestselling author – then you can do what you want.
Hint: when you use a string of ellipses or exclamation points, it immediately triggers this thing that is found in some people’s heads called “intelligence” and they automatically get annoyed, or just ignore what you were saying completely. Either way, your point will never get across in all its glory, no matter how good it was in the first place.
Rule #3: Your and you’re. There, their and they’re.
Well… I guess he tried.
This honestly makes me cry when I’m lying awake at two in the morning thinking of all the ways humanity has disappointed me. It is such a simple rule. Write it on your mirror and repeat it every day until you get it right.
I even went over this in my first Grammatical Errors blog, but let’s recap, shall we?
Your: possessive pronoun. “Your life has been wasted.”
You’re: contraction of “you are”. “You’re annoying.”
There: an adverb showing place. “She is over there.”
Their: possessive pronoun. “Their stupidity is irksome.”
They’re: contraction of “they are”. “They’re failing school.”
Now, let’s put all of it into a sentence! (Remember, that thing we discussed earlier?)
You’re wasting your life on their grammatical errors because there is no hope; they’re doomed to illiteracy.
I hope this was somewhat helpful.
Another tip: If you realize your mistake but a Grammar Nazi has already corrected you, claim that it’s “poetic license”. I promise it works like a charm.
If you don’t realize your mistake and a Grammar Nazi corrects you, please go back to primary school. Scratch that – D.M. me on my blog’s new Twitter account (@Blog_ATA) and I will teach you all that I know. If your problem is too advanced for me, I will direct you to an English teacher, or a Grammar Nazi.
Together, we can make this world a grammatically safer place to live.