How For To Talk Gooder On The Internets
The internet is a weird place, especially when it comes to social media. People get outraged over stupid things, they yell at each other IN ALL CAPS a lot, and they usually have absolutely no idea how words work.
Seriously, it’s a problem.
Nothing is more annoying than getting called out on a grammar mistake when you’re in the heat of AN ALL CAPS BATTLE ROYALE with Karen from Accounting, who strongly disagrees with your opinion on whatever today’s Outrage Topic is.
Nobody asked you, Karen!
Here, then, is a handy guide to the most common mistakes people tend to make online. Pay attention, and you’ll never have to deal with Karen’s condescending corrections again. (But you’ll still have to deal with her. There’s no escaping the Karens of the world.)
The easiest way to remember whether or not you make a word plural by adding an apostrophe is to never do that.
Here’s a simple rule: Is there more than one? DON’T USE AN APOSTROPHE.
It’s photos, not photo’s. It’s churches, not church’s. It’s…well, speaking of it’s, let’s move on.
ITS and IT’S
This one trips up a lot of people, probably because there’s an apostrophe in one of the words, which apparently melts your brains and makes your heads explode or something. Don’t worry, though. We’re here to help.
It’s is always a contraction for “it is”. It never, ever means it owns something. That’s what its is for.
Here’s an example: It’s the dog’s tennis ball. Don’t grab its tail, Karen!
WAIT! MORE APOSTROPHES
How many times have you seen someone write about that time they solved a Rubik’s Cube back in the 80’s? WELL, THEY ARE WRONG.
The apostrophe goes in front of the number, because you’re cutting off the 19 that would normally be there – and, since you’re talking about all the years in the decade, that means there’s more than one year. Which means? SEE RULE #1.
Examples: ’60s, ’70s, ’80s, ’90s or 1990s and 2000s
WHO’S THE WISEGUY WHO KEEPS USING WHOSE WRONG?
This one’s kind of like its and it’s. One is a contraction, and the other one isn’t. Can you guess which is which?
That’s right, kids! It’s our old friend The Apostrophe causing trouble again. (He’s kind of a jerk.)
Who’s is always a contraction for “who is”. It never, ever means that whoever you’re talking about owns something.
Here’s an example:
“Whose motorcycle is this?”
“It’s a chopper, baby.”
“Whose chopper is this?”
“Zed’s dead, baby. Zed’s dead.”
LET’S TALK ABOUT WHOMEVER FOR A SECOND
Regarding the proper use of whomever: Never bother with it.
You’ll probably end up using it wrong, and even if you don’t, you’ll just come across sounding like a pretentious jerk who really, really wants to sound smart. You won’t.
It’s best to just use whoever, and avoid the fancier word altogether.
THERE, THEIR, and THEY’RE
Now we come to the bane of all online commentary: The Three Theres. Let’s take them in order, starting with the one that has that jerk apostrophe in it.
As you might’ve guessed by now, the apostrophe means it’s a contraction. This time, it’s for the words they and are. They’re playing video games over there.
There just means something’s somewhere. It’s the easy one. Their, on the other hand, means whatever’s over there belongs to them.
Here’s your example: They’re playing their video games over there.
YOU’RE NOT USING YOUR WORDS RIGHT
Moving right along to you’re and your, are you spotting a trend yet? Guess which one is a contraction!
You’re means you are. Your is the one that means something belongs to you.
Examples include, but are not limited to:
That bottle of hand sanitizer is yours.
You’re the best around, Daniel-san. Nothing’s gonna ever keep you down!
That should pretty much cover the basics. Remember these super simple rules, and there’s nothing Karen will be able to snark about after that next comment you leave on her post about how nobody in the break room ever cleans up after themselves. Honestly, that woman is obnoxious.
But first, let’s end this whole thing by bringing everything you’ve learned here today together in one epic sentence. You know, for posterity.
There is one simple rule every photographer should know: It’s never a good idea to take photos of someone whose image you’d be capturing without asking, because you never know if they’re going to get angry and start asking who’s invading their personal space with your camera, even if whoever you’re taking a picture of was a celebrity back in the ’80s and all you wanted was a picture of Spuds MacKenzie wagging its tail.
YOU ARE WELCOME.
SEEN AND SAW
I saw a good movie the other day.
I have seen good movies before, but that one the other day was garbage.
ALOT AND A LOT
A lot of people think alot is a word. It isn’t.
If you own, I dunno, let’s say a chicken restaurant, then you probably don’t want to your slogan to be “Tastes like chicken!” – with or without the quotation marks, although it’s even worse with them. However, since people insist on using quotes for emphasis, let’s take a look at what that actually does to whatever you’re trying to emphasize.
Our french fries are made with “real” potatoes!
Try our 100% “beef” burgers!
We have the “cleanest” restrooms in town!
If you still can’t see what’s wrong with those, try reading each example out loud, using air quotes for every word you think you’re emphasizing.
LOSE AND LOOSE
If you tie up your boat with a loose knot, you’re probably going to lose it.
THEN AND THAN
If something is bigger than something else, then you better use the right word.
SALE AND SELL
If you put your house up for sale, then you’re trying to sell it.
AFFECT AND EFFECT
The effects of watching too much TV news affected him the rest of his life.
ENTITLED AND TITLED
A book is entitled to a title, after which it’s just titled something.
RUN AND RAN
Ted Cruz ran a program to delete his internet history.
He should have run it sooner.