You’ve found an article or comment on the interweb and you have an opinion you want to share and it’s a good opinion, so you get it down, you work through your points, you explain your position and how you got there, it’s great, it’s fab, it’s sensible and coherent and then … and then you go and spoil it all by writing “their” instead of “there”.
Now, when someone reads your comment their eye will be drawn inexorably to the mistake and your point will be lost as they think “Poor illiterate fool.”
I’m not perfect (although I like to think I’m pretty damn close) and I make the odd typo too, I also have a somewhat nebulous relationship with the humble comma but this, this is beyond the pale. It’s not as if it should be a surprise to anyone, there are literally thousands of articles and blogs strewn across the internet complaining about these same few things:
- You’re/Your – “You’re” is a contraction of “you are”, “your” is the possessive of you.
- They’re/Their/There – “They’re” is a contraction of “they are”, “their” is the possessive of “they”, “there” is the opposite of “here”.
- Loser/Looser – A “loser” is someone who has lost and it’s a noun. “Looser” means “more loose”, it’s a comparative.
- The Ellipsis – this is series of three (count them, THREE) dots to indicate an omission. An ellipsis is not 17 commas.
- Random Capitalisation – Proper nouns (and often headings) are capitalised. Capitalising Words almost Randomly In A Sentence is just Weird.
- Multiple Exclamation Marks – You only need one. Really!!! Unless you want to appear a bit mad, not a good sort of mad either.
- Commas – These are used to denote lists or sub clauses.
- The Grocer’s Apostrophe – Apostrophes denote omission of letters or possession. You don’t need them to denote plurals (although in Dutch you do, but this isn’t Dutch).
To make this all worse they seem to occur more often with people whose first language is English. More annoyingly for me, as an Englishman in Ireland, I also have to endure Irish people claiming that the Irish have a better grasp of the language than the English do then, as a guest in their country, I have to sit and watch them slaughtering said language.
So, take a moment before you post, read back over what you’ve written, copy it into word (or equivalent) hit F7 and spell check it, if your point is good and worth making isn’t it worth making well?
Pointed out by others:
Been/Being – Never encountered it myself, but hey ho.
Dropping apostrophe in contractions “couldnt”, “wouldnt”, “isnt”.