I’ve mentioned before that I can’t quite get with bad grammar. I know how boogie/ snobbish/elitist that sounds. And to be honest, I think it’s yet another way people try to differentiate themselves . . . elevate themselves above others. I have to check myself to be sure that I don’t allow myself to think I’m better than anyone when I see bad grammar. Oh but it’s so hard! As soon as I see an effed up sentence I think, “oh that baby isn’t too bright.”
Below are several tidbits to help you with your sentences. This is not an exhaustive list because ain’t nobody got time for that (did you peep the bad grammar there?), but these are a few that are common and/or just plain silly.
Hints v. hence
I saw someone write “I taped this video when it was hot out, hints the summer dress I’m wearing.” What? Is your summer dress giving us hints about something? I’m looking at the dress, and I’m getting nothing. I’m confused. Hints and hence sound similar, but I just don’t feel like they’re similar enough to mistakenly use one when you should use the other. Basically, a hint means “a clue” and hence means “the reason I did that is because….”
To v. Too
Every time you don’t mean “in addition” or “extra”, use to. Every time you do mean “in addition” or “extra” use too. Easy peezy.
Their v. There v. They’re
This one trips up lots of people, but it’s easier than you may think. Every time you mean “they are”, use they’re. Every time you want to denote possession, use their. Every other time, use there.
Ex: They’re going there to pick up their food.
Basically, you can’t use more than one negative in a sentence. Most negatives have the word “no” in them, such as don’t, not, nowhere, nothing, etc. So, you can’t say “You don’t have no more money” but you can say “You don’t have any more money”. Get it?
This isn’t always easy, especially when you start getting out of simple present and past tense verbs. The good news is that most of us keep it simple in everyday conversation and you can usually hear when something is off. So basically, the subject of your sentence (the person, place, or thing you’re talking about) should match up with the tense of your verb (the action that the subject is doing). For example, you can’t say “They is going to sleep” because “they” requires a different conjugation of that verb to match it. You can say “They are going to sleep.” You can’t say “She have not gotten a flu shot” because “she” requires a different conjugation of the verb to match it. You can say “She has not gotten a flu shot”.
No one is perfect at this stuff. I’m certainly no English professor. I just need to see improved Facebook statuses (because that’s all I read these days).