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. 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
Special thanks to Gabrielle Harbowy, @gabrielle_h for editing this for ~ahem~ grammatical errors.
Such a creative post! Should perfectionists avoid spell check? The overly-eager shouldn’t–this I know from experience.
August McLaughlin recently posted..Why I’m Trashing My Blonde Card
Good stuff, Maynard.
I ended up on your blog while reading a writer’s e paper.
Loved this. I may add this as a link in a future blog post.
I think the run on sentences, the rebel sentence group and the missing Oxford comma mark my distinct personality.
Nice meeting you.
You missed my favorite and worst offense … using “then” as a conjunction. “He ran down the road, then he tripped and fell.”
It sounds fine, people talk this way, so why do we have to avoid it just because some antiquated 1912 Grammar text says it’s wrong?
James, that one would probably fit in with the split infinitives, ending sentence with preposition, etc. one.
I’m glad you are all enjoying it!
Leah Petersen recently posted..Does It Matter WHY They Buy Your Book?
Interesting! “It’s not you, it’s your grammar.” LOL Made me remember someone.
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LOVE IT! (and I’m not a moron. I did this for effect [not affect]. I hate people who use all caps. It’s (see?) one of my pet peeves.
Fun and creative. I didn’t say (write this), but I am a culprit when it comes to some of these issues. I’m keeping this ‘book’ marked.
Sorry if this posts more than once.
Creative and fun. I’m a culprit of many of these “MINOR” issues. I am a dare devil—not a drug dealer. I really enjoyed this post.
Wonderful! I’m so glad this was forwarded to me, Leah. As a writer, teacher (of writing AND grammar), editor and sometimes ESL instructor, I can never have enough grammar info. And, being human, I still make mistakes. This blog gets filed, and I will definitely share it with others. I love the cartoon — “It’s not you, it’s your grammar,” although picture me kneeling before the guy.
Great post! Thank you.