I’m judging you and really do feel a little bad about it.
I think we’ve all read articles, blog posts, status updates and tweets with commentary on the misuse of words like “your” and “you’re”. Some people say it’s their #1 pet peeve.
My feelings are a bit different. I’ll paint you a picture:
When I’m reading along, imagine I’m actually strolling down a beautiful tree-lined street, joy in my heart, gratitude in the air. Then I come across, “Your not going to believe there response to my request”, and it’s like Demarcus Ware blind-siding me with a form tackle after he’s reached his maximum 40-yard dash speed—and he’s got his helmet on.
It’s more than a pet peeve or annoyance. I feel assaulted.
To the offenders: I’m judging you. I’d like to say, “I’m judging you and I’m NOT SORRY!”, but I am sorry. I know it’s unkind to wish you’d go play in traffic until you learn simple contractions. It’s not right or OK that I want your entire Facebook page to burst into flames when you can’t figure out the difference between “to” and “too”. So, I’m sorry.
If you write as your status update:
“You guys, I saw the most awful thing today. This sweet old lady offered to help this rough-looking guy pay for his groceries because he’d forgotten his wallet and then that son of a biscuit tried to jump her out in the parking lot and take her purse! Luckily some other guys took him down and everything was OK. What is this world coming too?!”
I’m out. You lost me. Consider yourself mentally roundhouse kicked into next week. I’m sorry.
You could save a precious litter of puppies (even shar peis) from being swept down a rushing river, but if you write about it by saying, “There precious wrinkly bodies were just being whisked away so quickly!” … I’m out. I’m now picturing you being the one swept away by the rapids. I said I’m sorry!
Without the basic understanding of simple contractions like your/you’re, their/they’re and its/it’s, you become Public Enemy Number One in my grammar world—and all kinds of things happen to you in my mind. Sshh, there-their, I’m not killing you, but you are absolutely the recipient of some bad luck. Some faves:
- your child sleep-kicking you in your unprotected face at 3:00am
- tripping with your arms full (and not on carpet)
- not being able to pull the baskets apart at Target (with people watching and waiting)
- hang nails (that you make worse because you can’t leave them alone)
- dirt in your eyes (and under your contacts)
- stubbed toes (that are so swift and forceful, you can’t even get oxygen to cuss)
I’m not finished. If you say “anyways”, we can’t be friends. I’m hesitant about this announcement because I’m fairly positive I have current friends who use “anyway” in its non-existent plural form, but it’s out of my hands and I have to cut you loose.
Uh oh. Light bulb. You’re also gone if you haven’t figured out lose vs. loose. This one takes years off my life.
“Dear Cop Who Pulled Me Over, your sunglasses and night stick don’t make you that cool—you can loose the attitude.”
Nope. I’m now firmly Team Cool Cop and feel very good about your citation. I’m sorry. I wish I was a better person—but I’m not and you made me this way.
One Facebooker wanted to know why Fitbit hadn’t released their new Flex band, so she posted, “Seriously Fitbit, I’m loosing patients with you!” I’m sorry, are you a doctor? NO. And now I’m not only losing my patience with YOU, but I feel 9x the exasperation because 9 home skillets just “liked” your comment. Even if you’re equally upset with Fitbit, do you really want to be an accomplice to such offensive grammar indiscretions and incriminate yourself by “liking” the status update? Because that’s what you just did—you just endorsed a grammar catastrophe.
I used the phrase “fixin’ to” until I was about 28. I was, for the most part, unaware that it was regional slang. Someone from another part of the country asked what it meant and I just stared—confused—thinking, “What do you mean what does it mean? How can you be an adult and not know the definition of ‘fixin’ to?”
I eventually tried to describe it by explaining that it’s akin to “preparing to” … I’m fixin’ to take a shower … I’m preparing to take a shower … and you prepare food and fix food … and the more I talked the more I realized it’s just really not a word, and I stopped using it. Not an easy task after 20-something years.
Once in awhile it’ll fly out of my mouth when I’m excited during a conversation. It’s more slang than anything and I definitely do slang—which means I just unnecessarily self-reported.
I’m also forever tripped up by past vs. passed. Try as I might to differentiate them by considering “time” vs. “distance” I still become disoriented and often opt for bypassing the word entirely. Inner Dialogue: A lot of time has past us by? A lot of time has passed us by? Hmm, I’m talking about time so I bet it’s past, but I’m also talking about distance so maybe it’s passed? It is past or passed? Why is this so hard? It’s like harder than math. I think it’s passed. Passed sounds right. But what if? Oh never mind, I’ll just say the years have flown by or something.
Then I walk away, beaten and defeated. I cheer myself up by remembering how good I am with were vs. we’re.
I self-report to say that I make mistakes all the time—most people do. But there is a difference in occasional misspellings or accidental grammar mishaps here and there and the consistent misuse of words that shouldn’t be problematic. If you can figure out Black Ops and know every word to every song in your iTunes library, you can get a handle on their, there and they’re.
Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you for the rain and the delicious recipes I find on Pinterest. Please bless this day and shield my eyes from improper punctuation and spelling. Please protect me from poor grammar online—especially when I get left-jabbed and uppercut by something like, “I should of known better.” Keep me from commenting that “should of” should be “should have”. Help me walk away from the travesty of “your so hot” comments on Justin Bieber’s Instagram pictures without swooping in with a lesson on contractions. But more than anything—if I do, in a weak moment, step in to make corrections—please help me to not misspell anything. Amen.”
I’d love for you to join me on Facebook … it’s good for your health.