My mother always taught me that speaking, and writing well was the sign of intelligence. It distresses me how many usually well-spoken people mix up the two simple words than and then when writing. I figured out a mnemonic I hope will help.
Than is a comparison word. For example, I might say "I like vanilla ice cream more than chocolate." Or, "My children are all taller than I am."
Then, on the other hand, is a sequence of events word. For example, I might say, "I'll save my files, then I'll turn off my computer." Or, "My husband went to the grocery, then he stopped at his friend's house."
Remember, THAN = COMPARISON. THEN = SEQUENCE of EVENTS.
JustPlainJo from Springfield, Ohio
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Oh, you hit on one of my favorite peeves! You're (you are)
Your (your car, your tv, it's possessive)
I've seen Major Television networks screw up these words on messages to the viewers. I can't understand how they got past the 2nd grade! I don't consider myself an intellectual by any stretch of the imagination, but I'm not that stupid!
Once I saw this message by NBC: "YOUR WATCHING A PRERECORDED PROGRAM" (As the English subjects say: 'That crazes me' :) )
Yeah, whatever happened to taking pride in good communication skills? Many of my email buddies can't even spell "yeah" correctly. My screen-reader even picks up misspellings and typos, which I think is funny and sad at the same time. Funny that it's that good, sad that so many otherwise intelligent folks can't communicate. I could go on forever - and look for more grammar tips as I get good ones. Thanks for your input!
The "Your" and "You're" bothers me too. The other word that I see misspelled all the time is "definitely". I usually see it as "definately".
How about "lie" and "lay," "its" and "it's," and "farther" and "further"? The latter is the hardest to get right, the first is probably my pet peeve, and the middle one is the most prevalent. I know I'm pedantic, but I do love our language. It's truly amazing how sloppy people in the business of imparting information to us via the media can slip up so often.
Oh my goodness! This one is receiving a huge thumbs up!
Let us not forget 'let's' ;-) Or writing greatful instead of grateful. Or the many misspellings of restaurant? And speaking of 'misspelling' ;-) Then there is their/they're and there.
My biggest pet peeve is the new shorthand language such as 'U R' :-o
I will confess, however, that I am often guilty of writing or speaking the word 'cause' for short of because and I want to slap myself silly ;-)
I'm a bit dislexic (writing and math, no problem with reading) and mispell a lot of words and suffer from odd syntax at times-but I was in the top 10% of my English entrance exam for college. however, that was about 30 years ago, and I haven't remembered all that I learned back then. long story, but I had a lot of help along the way.
My major writing dislexic issue are the "b" letters-b,p,q,d and 9 and 6 get twisted around. sound-alike words throw me, and connective words-it's becomes sit, the becomes het, etc.
One more peeve ;-)
Saying 'ta' instead of 'to' ;-)
Saying " different to" instead of "different from".
lol! Wow, I never knew there were so many of us out there! But it isn't just spelling - pronunciation matters, too.
Here's one that drives me nuts: pronouncing "pedophile" with a short e (pehdophile) instead of a long e (peedophile.) "Pehdo" is related to the feet, so a "pehdophile" has a foot fetish. The correct word for the perverts who prey on our children is "peedophile."
One more: even former President George W Bush is guilty of this one. The word is "nuclear," not Nucular!" I could go on and on!
How about people who say "supposebly" instead of "supposedly?"
My Absolute BIGGEST pet peeve is when people write "loose" instead of "lose" as in "I need to loose weight". I got a postcard from a SCHOOL that had this mistake printed on it. UNBELIEVABLE! And let us not forget "Valentime's Day". I could go on and on.
Jo, I'd like to read an essay regarding the correct use of the apostrophe. Recently I saw a sign; Open on Sunday's. Also, many confuse its vs. it's. While driving I saw the sign, Videos and DVD's. There are many other incorrect uses of the apostrophe. It would be informative to read an essay about the correct and incorrect use of it.
Nancy T. in Springfield
For Nancy T. in Springfield :-) www.grammarbook.com/
And I simply can't resist one more: Pronouncing February as Febuary ;-)
I was sure I would see my pet peeve here! It drives me crazy when a recipe calls for a certain number of "tablespoonfuls" instead of "tablespoonsful." Glad I am not the only Thrifty Fun member of the Grammar Police! lol
k, Nancy, I'll be working on that subject. Letting it percolate, lol! btw, if you're also a FreeCycler, I think we've met . My zip is also 45506. :D
Joan, I'm so glad I'm not alone, too! It feels great to know others also care how well they express themselves.
Laniegirl. Did you really live on the door of a car dealership? (just teasing)
How about the word "irregardless"? :)
Our grammar suffers when our educational system is as unknowledgable as the students it is trying to teach 'Blind leading the blind'.
Nancy 45506, apostrophes are basically:
a. Used in contractions (you're, don't, haven't, etc.)
b. Possessive tense (Bobby's, Pam's)
(I think my HS English teachers are rolling over in their graves).
As prevalent as spelling and grammatical mistakes are these days, I still cringe when I read them and try hard to avoid them in my own writing. We all make mistakes sometimes, especially when we write with our brains on autopilot and then fail to proofread what we have written. It seems, though, that an increasing number of people don't appear to know or follow the rules of good grammar when it comes to using words such as than & then; your & you're; it's & its; effect & affect; their/there/they're; to & too; and lose & loose. I'm relieved to learn that I'm not the only one concerned about the prevalence of spelling and grammatical mistakes.
You should try being a ThriftyFun editor :) We try to make you all appear to be as brilliant as we know you are, without changing your "voice". It is a rewarding challenge. I know many intelligent and creative people don't spell well and grammar school is something in the far past for many of our members.
My personal favorite error is the many ways to write "voila!" I have seen wallah, wala, viola, wha-la and many other combinations.
My biggest pet peeve is "alot." I change it to "a lot" every single time I see it, which is pretty much every day.
Oh, and don't get me started on punctuation. . .
Whew! Cajun, thanks for posting that link. I've been struggling with a way to simplify the apostrophe thing since Nancy asked.
I guess I can sum up one common goof - that is, THEY'RE/THEIR/THERE - in this one sentence: "THEY'RE (they are) having THEIR (possessive) dinner in THERE (location.)
Hope that makes at least this one confusing set of homonyms a little clearer!
btw, Jess, I'd enjoy being a ThriftyFun editor if only I had the time and energy!
"where you at?" makes me cringe!
Ginnee, I spent a lot of time in speech therapy so I wouldn't slur my Rs - so I'm really, really sensitive to lazy speech!
btw, the low number of comments you've posted (beside your name) tells me you're new to ThriftyFun. Welcome!
Just wanted to thank everyone who voted for this tip. I got the email today - I'm a contest winner thanks to all of your votes!
It is a great tip and you're welcome and Congratulations! ;-)
Oh, my! I'm so happy to see I'm not the only member of the Grammar Police here :)
True story: The hubby, adult daughter and I were cruising the flea market one morning when my daughter saw an item she knew I'd like, and held it up to show my husband. He went over and whispered something to her, and she replaced it and moved along.
I was puzzled. "Dear," the DH said "I told her not to bother. The booth had misspelled signs and we know how you can get...."
PupperMom, I love that story! The funniest thing is, I oftentimes catch misspellings and typos, even using a screen-reader, lol!
Hey, gang, I have a 2nd grammar tip, "Stationary vs Stationery." It got published this week. I'd really love it if you all help me win a 2nd tip contest. :D
In the Ohio school district where I taught, we were NOT to spend much time on grammar! At least that is what we were told. English became language arts with an emphasis on writing. The organization of the writing, not the spelling or grammar, was important because that was the emphasis of the state proficiency testing. We teachers were told that spelling and grammar were not important.
pronouncing 6th as sickth and not sixth
affect - An action
effect - A result
could of - [Youre an idiot]
could've - Could have
it's - It is or it has
its - Indicating possession
loose - Not tightened
lose - Failed to keep or maintain of
their - Belonging to; indicating possession
there - A place
they're They are
we're - We are
were Past-tense of are
where - A location
you're - You are
your - Indicating possession; belonging to you
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