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Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Day 2: Educating the reader....

In an effort to write more frequently, I decided to take part in the Blogging Every Day in May challenge. I know I’m coming into it a few days behind, so I’ll be posting quite a few things in the next couple days as I get caught up.

When I saw the topic of Day 2 of this challenge, I’ll admit I cringed a little bit. Educate you on something? What? I don’t know anything well enough to educate someone! And then I thought about it a little bit more, and asked the opinion of a trusted family member, and 
realized that actually, I do know some stuff! Sweet.

One of my biggest pet peeves is when people make silly grammar mistakes, particularly where they use a completely wrong word because they misspelled the word they were trying to use. So in an effort to help people stop doing this (and look smarter to everyone else), here is a quick reference guide for some of the most common grammar mistakes and misspelled words. Feel free to bookmark the page and refer back to it! J

Your vs You’re: The easiest way to remember the correct spelling to use for this word is to put it in context – what are you trying to say? Are you telling someone that they are..something? You’d you “you’re”, the contraction for “you are”. Example: You’re going to love the show we’re seeing tonight. Or, are you telling someone that their book is sitting on the table and needs to be moved? Use “your”, because that shows possession, or reference. Example: Your book is on the table. Could you please move your book? We are going to your show tonight, about which I know you’re very excited.”

Their, they’re and there: These can get confusing, and admittedly, it took me a while before I got the hang of all the different spellings, too. But once you get them down, it’s almost impossible to get the wrong again. Use “their” when you are referring to someone else, or a group of other people. Example: It’s their turn to cook dinner tonight. Are we going to their house? “They’re” is a contraction, so if you can remember “you’re”, then you’re halfway to remembering “they’re”. It’s just another way of saying “they are”. Example: No, we are not going to their house, they’re meeting us somewhere else. And last but not least, use “there” only when referring to a place. The way that I remember the spelling is by thinking of the word here, which is also a place, and is the basis of the word “there”. You can also use the word “where” as reference for this as well, because “there” answers the question “where?”, and is spelled basically the same way. Example: Here? Where? There.

Definitely vs definately: When I was learning out to spell this word, I just sounded it out, and spelled it phonetically. People don’t pronounce an “a” sound when saying this word, long (like the sound in the word “tray”), or short (like the sound in the word “apple”). They do, however, say the short “i” sound (like in the word “igloo”). So if you spell it like you say it, it’s easy to remember that it’s an “I” before the “t”, and not an “a”. J

These are just a couple little things, but they can make a big difference in someone’s quality of writing.

What about you? What grammar mistakes do you notice people making?

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