Saturday, December 19, 2009

A Gift from the Language Curmudgeon

There is a difference between your and you’re. When someone writes, “Your welcome,” it turns the adjective welcome into a noun. So, my welcome what???

Don’t get me started on its and it’s. It’s means it is. Its is a possessive pronoun. I see an awful lot of it’s where I should be seeing its. Writers, please, before you throw down a superfluous apostrophe, substitute it is for whatever you’re referring to. An example, “The bull lost it’s horns,” would translate as “The bull lost it is horns.” Heinous!

Their does not mean the same thing as there or they're. Their is a possessive plural pronoun, as in “It’s their car, not yours.” There indicates a place. They're means "they are". If I had a nickel for every time I saw the word their instead of there or they're and vice versa, I’d be able to buy myself a ticket to Vegas and lose all the left over nickels there in one of their slot machines, then slam the machines until they're busted.

How about doing some proofing so you don’t leave off the last “o” in “too” when you want to express excess? "To much corn?" No, that means “toward much corn”. Doesn’t make sense to me, either.

The word I gets a lot of misuse. You hear “between you and I” all the time, but you should never hear it. The trick is to split it up, say: Between you and the light post. OK. Between I and the light post. Not OK.

Parting present:
A special dispensation is granted to non-politicians who mix up Slovakia and Slovenia. But if you want to impress people with your knowledge of countries having under 7 million inhabitants, Slovakia is the eastern third of what used to be Czechoslovakia. Slovenia was part of former Yugoslavia. In Slovakia you hear čardášes. In Slovenia, it’s waltzes and polkas. Ready for Slavic 2.0? All Slovaks are Slavs, but not all Slavs are Slovaks. Extra credit: the Baltics are Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. The Balkans are Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia, Bosnia, Croatia, Montenegro, Macedonia and Albania. The Serbs are from Serbia, making them Balkan people. The Sorbs are the smallest ethnic minority in Europe, located in Eastern Germany. Therefore, the Sorbs are Central Europeans. That may have been Too Much Information, but it's my gift to you. Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukkah, Kick-*ss Kwanzaa, Super Solstice, G'bye, Peace.

1 comment:

Psychic Accordionist said...

My intelligent and literate uncle in North Carolina pointed out that he often comes across "would of" instead of "would have". Yeah. Don't just write what you hear in your head, use what is IN your head, then write what is correct. And if that doesn't convince you, consider that your resume will look pretty stoopid (sic!) if you make an error like that.