Good morning, old people. This is Grammar Bitch coming to you from San Jose California on the subject of grammar mistakes.
I, too, am an old person. Oh, I know, we don’t like to use that term. We like “senior” better. But the fact is that we are old, so we might as well deal with it. Considering the alternative, I’m glad enough to be old, how about you?
Which is what brings me to today’s post.
Almost every old person I know has those little memory gaps. You know, when we can’t remember the word we want to use, or we forget someone’s name (usually someone whose name we absolutely knew until that moment), or we forget how to spell something. Doctors have many explanations for this, but my own explanation is pretty simple: we’re old. We have so much stuff crammed into our brains that we can’t find what we want quickly–there’s a lot to sort through up there. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
Now, old people who write (I won’t call us old writers) have a tougher road. Many people see what we write, sometimes thousands. We make our livings off those words. So the last thing we want to do is f u k up. No, we don’t want to do that.
But even Grammar Bitch has made egregious errors in grammar in her senior years. That’s because she doesn’t notice things that used to be second nature. She doesn’t notice missing words, misspellings or grammar problems. Yes, it’s a sad fact of life. What kind of mistakes? I’ll show you.
We all know that subjects and verbs must agree. If the subject is plural, the verb must reflect that. The other day GB wrote this:
… the hundreds of burnt-tasting Starbucks coffees I’ve had over the years has affected my taste buds.
GB read it three times before she found the error. What kind of error? Her subject and verb did not agree. The subject is coffees (plural) but the verb her brain typed was singular (has). GB should have used (have).
Thank goodness she found it, because she feels really stupid when she posts something with a grammatical error. To her, that is an even bigger sin that posting a supposedly true story without reality-checking it at Snopes.com –and that is a pretty big sin.
The Internet of All Things is replete with examples of grammatical errors that, at this age, we do inadvertently. So let’s go through them.
They’re / Their /There
Did you find the mistake?
Now, I’d like to think the person writing this simply had a brain fart. But I kinda think they just didn’t know the difference. Call it GBI: Grammar Bitch intuition.
Oh dear. I’ll bet they paid money to memorialize this error.
There is a special place in Grammar Hell for people who actually put these grammatical errors in print. Safely in hell, they can not perpetuate bad grammar.
Your / You’re
I worry that these poor students aren’t being taught spelling and grammar.
In another part of hell, you’ll find schools and universities that publicly post terrible grammar. Embarrassing themselves in this way apparently isn’t punishment enough. The only possible excuse is that the custodian put up the letters. And he is ooold.
My WHAT is under video surveillance? My bathroom habits? Surely not my grammar.
Spelling / Typos
This university… well, I have to wonder about the kind of education students are getting. Just sayin’. “Proofread your work!” Assuming you are not dyslexic. If you are, have someone else proof for you.
I don’t know what category to assign this to:
Ahem. I thought only Bill Cosby forgot the difference between copulation and cooperation. But apparently, others are confused.
So, old people, gather round. Grammar Bitch KNOWS that you proof your work but still, errors get past you. That’s why big publications have someone other than the writer proof stories. But that’s not practical for us bloggers. We do the best we can. All I can suggest is to read your post after it’s posted. That’s always when GB finds her errors.
And finally, let me sign off with my favorite bumper sticker: