Okay. Raise your hand if you’ve ever taken a writing side job. Don’t worry, I’ll wait…
Facebook posts? Twitter? Editing the master’s thesis? If you haven’t, once your friends find out you write, you will. So read up.
This past week, one of my projects was a high school research paper. After I reviewed the insightful text, I wept for the death of grammar.
I’m as guilty as most teenagers. I thoroughly mess with grammar and spelling just to keep things interesting—whether it is in this blog, my texts, whatever. But for the love of all that is holy, please know the difference between “where” and “were” by the time you’re a senior in high school. That “h” means something, dearie. I can accept the silent “h,” but the missing “h” is not a grammar rule. It’s a flippin’ typo.
When you’re proofreading, there are some common errors quick minds and quicker fingers make all the time. Your spell checker can pick up misspelled words if you use it. And PLEASE, use it. But it can’t pick up homophones. Because I’m feeling generous this morning, here is a list of commonly misspelled homophones. Things like: yore, you’re, and your; peak, peek, and pique; and my personal favorites there, their, there’re, and they’re.
Then there is the ginormous list of commonly misused words. This is when I turn to my betters for advice (not advise which isn’t on this list and should be). Grammar Girl is a goddess—just sayin’. Bookmark her. Love her. My lifelong nemesis has been lay vs. lie. To this day, I will do anything to avoid using those two hussies in a sentence. But when there is no other option, I will consult the rules and pray my editor will catch any errors.
We all screw up. That’s why we have beta readers, editors, and spell check. But do yourself a favor and learn a few of these, so when those Track Changes come back from your beta, you aren’t cringing from 47 misuses of “its vs. it’s”.