So. *taps mic* Is this thing on?
I haven’t posted for a VERY long time (considering the fact that I am drastically failing at my goal to post at least one thing everyday) and so I feel the need to; especially seeing as this blog is mostly my way of talking to somebody (i.e. you) other than my friends and family who probably get sick of hearing me talk at them all. The. Time.
Anyways, before I start the ACTUAL blog post. This week (hopefully) will be a nerd-filled, jam-packed week of geeky excitement. Myself, the Astellians (all bar Sazza and my little sis) and the Elms Squad are going to turn into a bunch of tourists; we are visiting nearly every single *coughs* FREE *coughs* museum in London. It was literally a matter of Susanna and I sitting down and saying: “We have a week free. We have 10+ museums to visit, so we need to get to at least 2 everyday.”
I even made an itinerary and everything. (Is that even the right thing? An itinerary?) So that should be absolutely fabulous.
Right, back on track now. So. I’ve probably mentioned before – or you may have even noticed – that I am a stickler when it comes to punctuation and grammar; and very little stresses me out as much as the lack or the misuse thereof.
As briefly as I can in one short evening post, I am going to just highlight some common mistakes, how to rectify them, and then throw in some of those rules. (Because EVERYONE loves English grammar rules!) I’d just like to add a disclaimer: I am not an English scholar. I repeat, I am not an English scholar. I AM, however, a teenager who very much appreciates the correct usage of the Standard English Language and I feel like we need to learn to speak correctly as a generation, to be honest.
I’m rambling again. Anyways. If you’re reading this and you’re American, you may think, “Hey, she is adding a lot of ‘u’s where there don’t need to be any!” Well, let me just tell you: if I read your blog, I am thinking “Hey, he/she has removed all of those ‘u’s which upsets me very much!”
But hey. Common dialects, right?
1. YOUR and YOU’RE
The Queen’s Explanation: YOUR is used in reference to a person’s possession, either of object or character. (i.e. A characteristic or possession, both physical and metaphysical; like emotions)
e.g. YOUR dimples are adorable, YOUR jacket smells like roses, YOUR six-pack… etc.
You cannot use YOUR when you are DESCRIBING what a person is doing or what they are!
e.g. YOUR amazing (though it is true of me, it doesn’t make grammatical sense), YOUR ugly (there are two errors in this example anyway… I am not ugly, and you are using the incorrect word), YOUR winding me up, YOUR boring, etc.
Key Point: YOU’RE is a contraction of “You are”. When you say YOU’RE, you’re saying YOU ARE. So if you replace the word YOU’RE in the sentence with YOU ARE and it doesn’t make sense… YOU ARE using it incorrectly! (See what I did there? Hee hee!)
e.g. YOU’RE fantastic = YOU ARE fantastic (Correct in BOTH senses!)
YOU’RE coat is very nice = YOU ARE coat is very nice (Incorrect!)
KEY POINT: Just don’t get it wrong in conversation with me.
2. THERE, THEY’RE and THEIR
The Queen’s Explanation: THERE is used when you are talking about a place. Let’s combine this concept with point number 1:
e.g. YOUR coat is over THERE, so YOU’RE going over THERE
THEY’RE is a contraction of THEY and ARE (similar to YOU’RE – YOU ARE). You use THEY’RE when you are describing the actions or characteristics of a group of people.
e.g. THEY’RE going over THERE (The same principle applies here; replace it with THEY ARE and if the sentence still makes sense then it is correct!) THEY ARE going over THERE.
THEIR is used when you are attributing a physical or metaphysical possession to a group of people.
e.g. THEIR coats are over THERE… THEY’RE going over THERE to get THEIR coats.
Confused yet? YOU ARE? (WOW… I did it again.) Okay good.
3. WHERE and WERE
This one is a lot simpler than the other two concepts.
The Queen’s Explanation: WHERE is in reference to a place or destination. (e.g. WHERE are THEIR coats? THEIR coats are in your wardrobe, WHERE YOU’RE keeping them…)
WERE (by my understanding at least, I hope this is correct) is simply the past tense particle of the verb ‘to Be’ (Long story, so let’s not get into how that works… it’s an irregular verb, okay?)
e.g. WERE THEIR coats over here? No, THEY’RE over THERE. WHERE are they? THEY’RE with THEIR coats. (I’m not sure why I have a sudden obsession with coats, but for some reason, that’s the only example I seem to remember from all these books about correct grammar and punctuation!)
Key Point: You cannot use WERE in reference to a place.
A good way of remembering THERE and WHERE is that the former can be a direct answer to the latter:
Whereas WERE cannot be used as a response to THERE…
I hope this is not getting out of hand now. Only a few more things to clarify now!
4. Using Apostrophes ( ‘ )
The Queen’s Explanation: Apostrophes are not natural disasters. They can be used as means of contractions (not like the ‘giving birth’, ‘dilation’ type contractions; but the ‘shortening word’ contractions) or also to show possession. I am going to try and keep it as simple as possible, because it can get VERY technical.
CAN’T (cannot), DON’T (do not), WON’T (will not), COULDN’T (could not) and WOULDN’T (would not) are all standard examples of using apostrophes for contractions. The use of this ‘ shows that the user has intentionally missed out letters and is replacing those missing letters appropriately by alerting any reader to the fact that they have purposely omitted these.
SARAH’S doing something she SHOULDN’T be; she just CAN’T help herself = Sarah IS doing something she SHOULD NOT be; she just CANNOT help herself. (Meeting up with Lampton boys… just some Astellian banter there)
Using apostrophes to show possession is simple: you use their name or identifying tag and then add an ‘s’ after the apostrophe:
e.g. The CHILD’S pen. The apostrophe highlights to the reader that the pen belongs to the child.
MATTHEW’S family. (Whose family are they? THEY’RE Matthew’s family.)
Now here comes the plot twist. It has always been taught that when someone’s name ends in an S, you cannot apply this principle (adding ‘ ‘s ‘), but actually, that is incorrect. You are allowed to do that… and it is in fact, grammatically correct.
e.g. JAMES’S car – this is actually correct. This is because there is only ONE James.
IF however, the FAMILY is called the JAMES family, only THEN do you add an apostrophe by itself:
e.g. The JAMES’ car.
If I don’t stop now I am very much convinced that this will turn into some sort of online teaching seminar: How To Use English 101. I think I will end with two commonly-taught rules; both of which are absolute RUBBISH to be honest, because they are violated so often:
1. ‘I’ before ‘E’, except after ‘C’.
2. Never start a sentence with a conjuction (i.e. And, because, but, or, also, so) – Honestly, the amount of times on this blog that I have violated this law… I should be put into prison!
And just in case you didn’t think the English language was complicated enough (SEE? I just broke law number 2!) :
CATS HAVE CLAWS AT THE END OF THEIR PAWS, COMMAS ARE A PAUSE AT THE END OF A CLAUSE.
The English Language, Ladies and Gentleman. Just try to understand and follow the rules I mentioned above (as in the ones where I was giving my explanation) and you’ll be alright.
As long as you don’t mess them up around me. Then we might have a problem. But with that, I bid you all adieu and goodnight.
From YOUR Queen Rianna