Grammar. Yeah, that probably made EVERYONE switch pages. No one seems to want to talk about, think about, or even acknowledge that grammar matters.
Yes, I will admit that I work with words for a living and I’ll also cop to the fact that I’m not perfect either. But I get embarrassed when I make grammatical mistakes whether noticed or not. I know that my mom would correct me if she saw it.
I spent 12 years in grade school and 5 years in college (yes, it took me 5 yrs) to learn a lot of rules about sentence construction, writing style, and yes…those pesky things we call punctuation.
So yes, I’m gonna talk about some punctuation marks. There are two that are stuck in my craw today. One I make a LOT of mistakes with and one I try to NEVER make a mistake with. Or, if you’d like that stated in more proper grammar, “One with which I make a lot of mistakes and one with which I try to never make a mistake…”
Commas. Yeah, I screw up commas a lot. And, to try to hide the fact that I make lots of mistakes with commas, I use the ellipsis frequently…did you notice that? Well, I do. I was taught that you use a comma when you would naturally take a breath. With me, that poses a problem because I can talk and talk and talk…almost NEVER taking a breath. Of course, I thought I learned that you us commas to set off such cliches as “Of Course” and “consequently” and even my favorite: “In the first place”. But…for some reason, I also thought you were supposed to set conjunctions with commas. AND, (see that one there) I could have sworn that in a list, you never put a comma before the conjunction. So you might put one here, one over here and NOT one here. See, I am wrong in most of those places. So comma use is not my strong suit. I still use them – and I’m so embarrassed I don’t use them correctly that I don’t even check with my mom! I’d be asking her a question every 10 seconds!!
That brings me to the other one: the apostrophe. I am not going to say I know it ALL about apostrophes. But what I do know is, this punctuation mark is mostly used to show possession. Not always. I know. I know. See here for more information. If you can say “this OWNS whatever is being described” then it’s possible an apostrophe is needed. If you can’t say that…I’d say go to a resource. Frequently, I see it on signs advertising different things. $2 Big Mac‘s. Come in to sample our cookie’s. Today only, sale on bike’s. NO. NO. NO. Do any of these own something? No. Therefore, it’s HIGHLY likely no apostrophe needed. Okay.
Why the tirade? I just think that grammar is important. Use of proper grammar may make NO ONE on earth notice you. However, improper use will make most people take note. So, I say to those of you who think that it’s not important…it is. I have a couple of friends that will stand by my side in this.
I definitely am affected by this more often than a lot of people due to my job…and my family upbringing. We’re all this misguided in my tiny family. Poor Jim. He just doesn’t know. Oh wait, he knows about the valedictorian. He probably DOES know. A story for another time. Remind me.
Peace on earth, goodwill to men. Punctuate properly and have a Merry Christmas. Those of you celebrating Hanukkah right now, happy festival. Oh…and Happy New Year. I may write before then, but I just don’t know.