Shortly after I was hired at BioWare as a technical editor, my fellow tekneditrika Karincita and I came upon a bathroom sign rife with misspellings, mispunctuations, and errant spaces. We couldn't enter the bathroom and blithely pee! There was bad grammar afoot! We busted out our red pens and corrected the sign with an almost insane zeal, full of piss and vinegar. Karincita took a copy of that corrected sign and displayed it beside her desk, perhaps as a warning.
Editors suffer neither fools nor typos.
My big boss, Papa Love, refers to my brand of zealous editing as the Grammar Rodeo (TM). Well, giddy-up, cowpokes! Following is a list of the nine most rampant sins against the English language that I have seen in my daily travels.
- "Myself" is not a synonym for "me". It's perfectly acceptable--and grammatically correct--to use the word "me" in a professional setting. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask me. Myself will just give you the finger.
- The word is definitely, not definately.
- The word is apparently, not apparantly. You hear me, KPAX?!
- The word is weird, not wierd. Yeah, yeah, "'I' before 'E' except after 'C'". It's a stupid rule. Stop following it.
- "Its" is the possessive form of "it". "It's" is a contraction of "it is". This is correct: "It's a bird! It's a plane! It's Superman!" This is also correct: "Justice League inexplicably continues to make episodes featuring its boring, angst-ridden Superman."
- "They're" means "they are". "There" means "not here". "Their" means "not our". Try: They're over there by their lair.
- "Your" is the possessive form of "you". "You're" is a contraction of "you are". This is correct: "Cookie, I believe the show Frisky Dingo just won your heart with grammar-related jokes." This is not correct: "Welcome to you're 'doom'!"
- Don't put quotation marks around words unless you mean it. It is neither "nice" nor correct. And, as in the example above, it makes people think that "doom" is an ironic kind of doom. Is the wink implied there? We don't know!
- Dear Building on a Side Road off Whyte Avenue: Make a new sign that reads "Condos for Rent". There's no apostrophe before the "s" in "Condos", unless Condo has something for rent. If so, then Condo's what is for rent? Mm-hm. Dirty buggers. Get cracking on that new sign, 'kay? Thanks.
This concludes our lesson for today. Go forth and use your native language wisely, English-speakers. Know that my fellow editors and I are ever vigilant with our red pens and snarky commentary.
*UPDATE Sept 21: Since the first publication of this post, I have edited it three times to add more grammar sins or expand on existing sins. I will keep it at these nine sins for now, but I may have to do a Part 2 in this series. Jeebus Hallucinogenic Cripes, people. Turn off the damn TV once in a while and read a book. You might learn something.