Friday, October 16, 2009

Grammar Queen

I love to write. Even more than writing, I love to EDIT. There is something therapeutic about slashing through words... horrible of me, I know.

So here are some words/phrases that people frequently get wrong that dr
ive me CRAZY.

1. A lot. It is beyond me how people have made it through years of schooling - and often times with a college degree - and still spell it alot. It is not one freaking word.

Compliment vs. Complement. If you are telling someone something nice, you are complimenting them. If something is a nice addition to something else, it complements it.

3. Over and More than. Over is an actual direction - you are
going over something. If you are talking about something that can be counted, you should use more than. Ex. I have been with this company for more than 20 years. (Since you can count the years.) The one exception I usually grant this rule is when you're talking about someone's age. It sounds better to say "She is over 30." instead of "She is more than 30."

4. Toward vs. Towards. Backward vs. Backwards. Here in America, we do not use the plural versions of these words. You say we're going toward something, or heading backward.

5. Obtain vs. Attain. The best way to remember this one is if you are referring to an object, you can use "obtain." If you're referring to a condition or state of mind, use "attain." Ex: She wanted to obtain that new JPK purse (eh hem... take note Chad... this is subliminal messaging. I'd like navy or dark brown please). If I received that JPK purse, I would attain a sense of unbridled joy.

6. Insure vs. Ensure vs. Assure. Though there is some debate about this among nerds like me, I believe that unless you are talking about insurance - do not use the word "insure." If you are tempted to use "insure" in a sentence that is not talking about insurance, you probably want to say ensure. Use the word "assure" if it is in relation to a person. You would assure someone that everything is okay, not ensure.

7. Misuse of commas. At my former place of employment, I was known as "Comma Queen." People would frequently send me sentences to show them where to put commas. The weirdest thing, I have absolutely no hard and fast rules to share about how to use a comma
- it is like a freakin' sixth sense to me. Sight, smell, taste, hearing, touch and commas. So I don't really get irritated with people about their poor use of the innocent little comma... because I have zero clue about how I got to be a comma queen. I think it has something to do with the insane amount of reading I did growing up. That's my best guess.

So if you really wanted to ruffle my feathers, you should send me an e-mail saying:

Hi Caroline,

I loved the blog today alot. I thought your post on grammar was a nice compliment to some of the other more trivial posts you've written. I hope you're moving towards doing more posts about important things like grammar and not about which stupid pair of shoes or purse you want to attain. But even if you did write those stupid posts I insure you that I would still read
your blog because I love it alot. I've been reading your blog for over 6 months and I'm a huge fan.

Backwards, Loyal reader

And truth... I had to go back and remove every comma from that sentence because initally, it was spot-on with the comma.

Thus concludes the most boring, nerdy, ridiculous post I've written.

And since Chad told me that he doesn't read any posts that do not have a picture included, here you are... a completely random picture that is not at ALL something I want or have any interest in whatsoever.

1 comment:

  1. Grrr I saw "insure" used in a news release this week and it drove me nuts. I love this post! I have a list of things that I'd talk about for a blog that I swear I'll start one day and it was along the same lines. Get 'em Comma Queen!!