I often cringe at the incorrect spelling and grammar I come across regularly in posts and comments across forums and social media. I’m not sure if this has eventuated because of the abbreviated language often used in messages these days or because of poor schooling. When I went to school, many years ago, correct spelling and grammar were an important and integral part of the curriculum. However, even toward the end of my school days, there was a trend toward more acceptability for phonetic spelling rather than correct spelling. Maybe it’s been a combination of both. Regardless, the misused spelling and grammar today would have definitely been unacceptable in my day. Call me an old fogy, I don’t mind. 🙂
Here are some of the common mistakes that really raise my blood pressure:
Their, There, They’re
Their, there, and they’re are not interchangeable. Their is possessive, indicative of ownership or belonging. There is positional, indicating a place or position. They’re is a contraction of “they are”.
Example: “The dogs over there (positional) are wagging their (possessive) tails because they’re (they are) happy“.
Would of, Could of, Should of, Might of
There is no such thing in the English language as could of, would of, should of, and might of. The correct English is could have, would have, should have, might have. This is one of the most common and irritating misuses of the English language.
Examples: “I should of gone swimming with my friends“. Wrong! The correct English is, “I should have gone swimming with my friends”.
“I might of forgotten our date“. Wrong! The correct English is, “I might have forgotten our date“.
“I would have gone swimming with my friends if I could have and, as it turns out, I probably should have“. Beautifully correct English. 🙂
Alot (as in many)
I have no idea when “alot” became a single word but I see it written that way over and over. Alot (as in many) is two separate words “a lot”.
Example: “That child has a lot of toys“.
Allot: all one word, means to apportion or share out.
Its and It’s
Its is possessive, indicating ownership or some attribute. It’s is a contraction of “it is”.
Example: “Look at the dog, it’s (it is) wagging its (possessive) tail“.
Rule of thumb: if the “its” in a sentence can be replaced with “it is” and still make sense then it’s is the correct form. If not, then its is correct.
Acronyms vs Abbreviations
Many people confuse acronyms and abbreviations. It’s a common mistake that I see repeated across tech sites all the time, where abbreviations are incorrectly labeled as acronyms. Rule of thumb: all acronyms are abbreviations but not all abbreviations are acronyms.
Acronyms are when the first letters of each word in a title, term, or saying, are used to form a new word. AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) and NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) are examples of acronyms.
Abbreviations can also use the first letter of each word in a title, term, or saying but they do not form a new word. YMMV (Your Mileage May Vary) and HDD (Hard Disk Drive) are examples of abbreviations that are not acronyms. Technically, these types of abbreviations that use the first letter of each word are known as “initialisms”.
Here are some examples of commonly misspelled words I have come across, I kid you not: sossage (sausage), karnt (can’t or cannot), becoz (because), probly (probably), luvly (lovely), showfer (chauffeur) chimmerly (chimney), mindue (mind you), brekfest (breakfast), beleave (believe), floresent (fluorescent) cannoo (canoe), bega (beggar), tounge (tongue) basicly (basically), antidisestablishmentarianism (antidisestablishmentarianism)– just kidding on that last one. 🙂
Maybe I am being a tad pedantic and perhaps somewhat intolerant too but, IMHO (an abbreviation), the use of the English language has gone to the dogs and I am pretty sure the savvy people who regularly visit DCT (another abbreviation) would tend to agree. What particular abuses of the English language rattle your cage? Let us know via the comments.