Is it common for people to develop grammar/English problems they never had before?

I have a problem with “its” and “it’s”, but the odd thing is I think it started after college. I don’t recall having this or any other English problem in any class; I always got straight A’s in these classes with near zero effert.

Is this common, has anybody else developed these types of problems after college? I think I started making this mistake in my middle to late twenties, so I don’t think I’m going senile. And I don’t think I have any other symptoms of early-onset Alzheimer’s.

Sounds like a phonetics issue.

That and an absence now of Grammar lessons. :wink:

Nah. Sometimes you just start having trouble. I used to keep “it’s” and “its” apart automatically, but my fingers sometimes mistype it.

Simple solution: It’s = “it is” Make that substutution and you can’t go wrong.

Another mnemonic: Its is the possessive pronoun meaning “belonging to it.” Possessive pronouns (his, hers, its, theirs, ours, yours) do not take an apostrophe.

I never had trouble mixing up “its” and “it’s”, and “your” and “you’re”, and " 's" for plurals. But in the past few years, I’ve been catching myself typing them and having to correct them. I’m over 40, but I think it’s almost entirely because of seeing it so many times on the web and having to “accept” it.

This is exactly how I correct myself. But it makes me uncomfortable that all of a sudden I have to think about it, when I never had to before.

I suppose because I was reading at an early age, this stuff was always second nature during school. Now I’ve been out of school for a while, and that nature is getting lost. It’s disturbing.

Except for “one’s” :wink:

I typed “it’s” instead of “its” earlier today. Ooops. Although that was just a typo, I do find that I’m not as sharp on grammar and spelling things as I used to be. I used to be a perfect speller, and now sometimes I have to think about certain words.

I don’t know if it’s early onset of Alzheimer’s or not (though obviously, I hope it’s not), but I think that in my case it may be due to a few things: first, I’ve got way more stuff in my head than I ever used to, including just keeping my day-to-day responsibilities together. Second, I suspect that I just may not care any more.

Also, I sometimes use the wrong word(s) when I’m speaking. I think it’s just because my brain is going faster than my mouth can keep up with, and/or I’m thinking about more than one thing at the same time. Anyway, I do it all the time, and feel like I have less of a right to criticize GW, although I don’t allow this to deprive me of being amused when he says something other than what he seems to mean.

It is clear to me that if you breezed through high school and college with straight A’s in English and grammar, you are “posting proof” that people can indeed develop English/grammar problems as they age. Or it could be that your teachers/professors paid less attention than they should have to your “efferts.”

I swear I was going to start this thread. I always aced English and was commended for my writing back in high school/college (and didn’t make active/passive shifts midsentence :P). Now I don’t even write sentences. I think alot of it has to do with the throw-away stream of conciousness writing of the internet age, ie, email, chat rooms, and message boards. My latest atrocity is substituting homophones. I do wonder if it has anything to do with the meds I’m on.

I’m in the same spot actually. I figure it’s from being exposed to so much butchering of the english language on the 'net. (I spend a lot of time online!) And also, I find when I’m chatting online, I care less whether or not I’m getting every word correct. I’m getting lazy and I’m exposed to poor english regularly. That’s my story.

Additionally, I don’t spend time doing serious writing anymore now that I’m no longer in school. Funny thing is, I did go back to school for a period a couple of years ago. And guess what? It is a skill that comes back with use! I got right back into the swing of things.

I see it often. Basically, when we were in school, we had grammar police (i.e. naggy teachers) who would keep us in line and our job was to learn (not that all of us did it), but now that we interact with a wide spectrum of people, some who have very lazy language skills, and no grammar police (other than me for my reporters), we start slipping on those skills. Try long division sometime and see how those skills have held up.


I concur. This happens to people who spend most of their time grading English papers as well. (In fact, it’s generally accepted among my colleagues that going to grad school in English will ruin your writing ability forever, between the freshman comp papers and the unreadable articles in certain professional journals.)

I’d love to see some research on whether people who spend a lot of time on the Internet are more likely to experience this phenomenon than those who don’t.

to start speaking with a foreign accent after a blow to the head. I don’t have the cite, but I’ve read of several well documented cases.

I do find it alarming when people write “I should of” meaning “I should have.” What has become of us…