Wednesday, April 7, 2010

These Four Mistakes Will Do Alot of Damage to You're Writing Credibility

If you want to destroy your credibility with the stroke of a pen, then feel free to use any of the following words incorrectly:

1) Your/you're:
The word your indicates ownership (this is your car, it's your move). The word you're is a contraction for you are. Believe it or not, you can burn out the eyeballs of a literate reader by using the constructions your next or your right in your writing.

The best way to double-check for correct usage is to say to yourself the full form of the contraction (you are) whenever you use either word. You'll be able to tell which is right.

2) Its/it's:
The word its is a possessive pronoun that indicates ownership by an inanimate object (This is my bicycle, its frame is made of aluminum). The word it's is a contraction for it is (it's never a good idea to run with scissors. It's okay to be illiterate). Just as with your/you're, the best way to double check usage is to say "it is" to yourself whenever you use either construction. It will be obvious which one to use.

3) Alot:
The word alot is a misspelling of the two-word construction a lot (I like him a lot. I made a lot of spelling errors). Also, a lot is a place where you can park you're car.

4) Should of:
Despite the fact that the phrase should of makes no sense, it owes it's existence to the fact that it sounds like the contraction should've. See also should of's bastard cousins could of, would of and might of.

PS: There are two particularly ironic usage errors in this post. Can you spot them?

What are your favorite examples of language abuse?