Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Wicked English Teacher Wednesday: August 2012

Wow! Where did the summer go? Here we are at August already. But a new month means a new Wicked English Teacher Wednesday! Once again, we'll take a look around the web and find the worst abuses of the English language to see if we can learn from the mistakes of others. And by "we" I mean "you" because the Wicked English Teacher knows all this stuff already. Also? I might rant. I do that sometimes.

This month, let's talk about contractions and pronouns, okay? Well, even if it's not okay. I'm the teacher, and I get to make these decisions. There's nothing that drives me crazy as much as a student trying to tell me how to run the class. As if his or her 7 plus years of education is just as good preparation for the job as my 5 plus years of college! But that's not what we're talking about today. 

Contractions. And pronouns.

"Who's" is a contraction. It is made from the words "who is." "Whose" is a pronoun, a possessive pronoun to be exact. So the blogger who wrote 
"...this principle doesn’t relate to those who’s whole blogging purpose is to be entertaining..." 
was using the contraction when she should have used the possessive pronoun. Let's give her the benefit of the doubt and call it a typo. I've done it myself. Of course, that's why we proofread

Speaking of proofreading, here are two different bloggers who seem to have crossed wires over the Internet:

  • This product is great for multiply ages as well.
  • You’ll want to take these instructions and multiple them several times over.

Here's another example of a contraction/pronoun problem:
"You can buy a Twilight Turtle at if you are Canadian for $32.95  or Cloud b if your American."
This is one of The Wicked English Teacher's pet peeves because it's such a common error, and it's so inexcusable. It's just not that hard! "Your" is a possessive pronoun. This writer should have used the contraction for "you are" -- "you're." If you're not sure which word you're looking for, "your" or "you're," just ask yourself if you mean "you are." If you do, you want the contraction. 

Here's one of my favorites, a writer quoting Forrest Gump:
“Life is like a box of chocolates, ya never know what your gonna get”
I don't need to tell you, right? Like poor Forrest doesn't have enough problems without people misspelling when they quote him? 

You may remember in an earlier post we discussed The Superfluous Apostrophe. To review, let's look at this new example: 
"I’ve connected with author’s, business owners, radio show talk hosts, Yahoo! reporters,  all because of  the power of social media." 
This writer got it right three out of four times. We do not add an apostrophe when forming a plural.

Now go forth (not "fourth") and write correctly! Remember; I'm always watching!