Posts Tagged ‘grammar’
As a follow up to last week’s wildly popular Your Punctuation Personality Type, a post Bryan Thomas Schmidt, @BryanThomasS hosted on his blog, we’ve dug through the (imaginary) research archives for similar studies. Not only is English the most widely spoken language in the Western world, but most of us sat through torturous high school English classes that should have cured us of our grammatical errors. Yet we all have grammar issues that trip us up in writing. A recent (totally made up) study examined what your grammar weakness means about you.
Run-on sentences: You don’t know when to stop. You never shut up and you never stop going. People find you and your nervous energy nerve-wracking. You tend to have trouble with moderation. You can’t eat just one.
You work well with: Comma, Hyphen, Exclamation, At Symbol
Comma splice (comma used to separate two simple sentences): You have trouble setting yourself apart from others and tend to blend into the crowd Not assertive enough to use a period, confident enough to use a semicolon, wacky enough to use parentheses, or snobbish enough to use an em dash, you’re always looking to someone else for acceptance or permission. You have a hard time saying no to people. You may be described as a wannabe or as trying too hard.
You work well with: Comma, Question Mark, Ampersand, Hash
Incomplete sentences, Split infinitives, Beginning a sentence with a conjunction, Ending a sentence with a preposition: You’re a rebel and like to live on the edge. You know these aren’t really errors but that editors dislike them and they make people over 50 twitch. You like to stick it to the man. You may be a daredevil and/or a drug user.
You work well with: Slash, Apostrophe, Hyphen
Avoid: Em dash
Using an apostrophe for plural: You are the confident, laid back type. You give the orders, someone else handles the details. You can bullshit your way through most things. You have colleagues and followers more than you have friends.
You work well with: Em dash, Asterisk
Avoid: Question Mark
Missing serial or Oxford comma: You’re British.
You work well with: Semicolon, Full Stop (Period)
Using adjectives in place of adverbs (“ly” words): You are very social and like to hang out. You’re too busy having fun to care how those stuck-up writing people use language. You are at every party. You have 500 contacts in your phone and don’t remember who half of them are. You may be in college.
You work well with: Hyphen, Comma, At Symbol, Parentheses
Using “suppose” for “supposed” or “of” for “have”: You need to read a real book once in a while. It might be confusing because the word “book” is in the name, but Facebook is not a real book, and doesn’t count.
You work well with: Quotation Mark, At Symbol, Ellipses
Using “I” when “me” is correct (example: He gave the candy to Jane and I.): You follow the rules. You are so afraid of being wrong by using “me” when you should use “I” that you always use “I” and therefore still get it wrong half the time, just the other half. You were the teacher’s pet and are the boss’s favorite. You apologize a lot.
You work well with: Question Mark, Period, Brackets
Homonyms/Homophones (you’re/your, their/they’re/there): You tend to be wrapped up in yourself or your own world. You can be casual to the point of carelessness. You’re not very observant and you’re never on time. You think the rules apply to other people. You’re the one who won’t remember the name of the person you wake up in bed with.
You work well with: Ellipses, Apostrophe
Who/Whom: You’re one of the good guys. You like to have fun and you have a lot of friends. You don’t want to know when you should use “whom” because who says that anyway besides pretentious twats? You spend a lot of time on Facebook.
You work well with: At Symbol, Ampersand, Comma
Avoid: Quotation Mark
Whom/Who: (using “whom” when “who” is correct): You’re the pretentious twat.
You work well with: Em dash, Brackets
Its/It’s: You are dedicated and responsible and make a lot of sacrifices. You’re the one who worked your butt off to get a C average while the nerds got A’s just by showing up to class. You let that sort of thing motivate you, though, and you get ahead by being consistent and reliable rather than because you’re particularly skilled or talented. People admire your work ethic.
You work well with: Comma, Semicolon, Period
Avoid: Em dash
Affect/Effect: You are easygoing and fun to be around. You know a lot of things, but the difference between these two words isn’t one of them. You make other people feel comfortable and like to make sure everyone is included. You were popular in school but stood up for the kids getting dumped into the trash cans after lunch.
You work well with: Comma, Parentheses, Ellipses,
Avoid: En dash
Use of ALL CAPS: You are either still trying to get a handle on this newfangled thing called the Internet, or you’re a complete moron.
You work well with: Ampersand, Exclamation
I finally broke down and bought the shirt I’ve been wanting for years.
I’ve refrained for so long because
a) I’m cheap and the shirt isn’t
b) I’m a mother and, apparently, am supposed to be setting a good example.
Now, personally, I think it’s setting a good example to teach your children WHY this is a funny joke and not the grown-up equivalent of “stupidhead!” Anyway, my ten year old gets the joke now but still thinks it’s rude.
Well, can’t win them all. I just won’t wear it when he’s with me.
In honor of National Grammar Day, here’s a re-run of a flash piece:
I had one of those epiphany things and fell for the respectable, mature Semicolon. We’ve been together a long time now; it’s been good. But I’m beginning to realize he may just be an enabler; that I really haven’t changed my profligate punctuation ways at all.
As much as I love him, Semicolon’s never been quite enough; I’ve managed to hide the affair with the Parentheses for a while now. (Yes, it’s so cliché, the hot encounter between the mysterious twins. You’d do it too if you thought you could get away with it.)
Thing is, I met Em Dash at a club the other night. He showed up with En-Dash and that should have been my warning right there. En-Dash is always trying to stick people together.
I really was just there for some innocent(ish) fun. It was Colon’s birthday and, come on, she’s as solid and predictable as they come — I’m still not quite sure how we talked her into that particular armpit anyway. (I think exclamation point had something to do with it. She’s so damned excitable sometimes you just do what she says so she’ll shut up already!)
So there he is, so dashing and exotic. Jesus but words just failed me – and I really hate it when they do that, the bastards. But Em Dash. So flexible and, well, don’t kid yourself, length does matter.
Apostrophe almost saved me. He’s such a spaz, always showing up everywhere, butting in, all OCD about everyone’s possessions, always there when someone drops something, and then bitching about everyone using him too much. Maybe I knew Em Dash was trouble for me and did that Freudian thing ’cause I dropped my purse twice and there’s Apostrophe, right there where it fell. “Hey hon’, it’s your purse again.” Yeah. And Em Dash looked away.
But I touched his arm and he was mine again. I shouldn’t have done it. I should have turned to Period. He was right there, and he’s seriously straight-laced. Just so definite and absolute about everything. I could have used him as a full stop to the whole situation; a cold shower. I didn’t. I couldn’t. I didn’t stay until the morning, if that matters. Ellipsis came to pick me up at god-forsaken a.m. because she’s a sucker for innuendo and I didn’t tell her… much.
I don’t have his phone number — cause I didn’t ask for it, so wipe that smirk off your face.
Call me whatever you want; it’s my life not yours. And my sentences thankyouverymuch.