The Nineteenth Letter of the English Alphabet...


Got that?

Do you comprehend it?

No, don’t answer yet. Take minute. Go find a dictionary. Look up alphabet. Look at the pretty chart. Notice the nifty columns. Place your finger on the one with the heading English. Run your finger down to the nineteenth letter in that column. Before you do any of this, though, you must grab your ears and pull firmly downwards. Then, and only then (when your head is free of your colon), should you search for that dictionary–I really don’t want you to bump into any walls.

Were you asleep when the teacher attempted to explain to you that the Third Person Singular form of the verb to say is says and not say’s?

Did that nap also extend to the next lesson concerning the formation of plurals?

Perhaps you had entered a coma by the time the teacher began explaining the difference between the contraction it’s and the possessive its.

Maybe you could tell me the name and address of the teacher who actually did teach you the 19th letter of the English alphabet is 's so I can discuss her knowledge, or lack thereof, of spelling.

Or perhap’s you would be more than thrilled to 'see this 'site renamed The 'Straight Dope, by Cecil Adam’s. Maybe you think the name of the country in which I re’side i’s the United 'State’s of America. Perhap’s you 'spend the morning reading the new’spaper’s, but only the comic’s 'section’s, of cour’se.[sup]*[/sup]

Do you see how jarring that is?

Lay off the poor apostrophe (see quote below)!

p.s. Yes, I realize I have made the mistake once or twice of pluralizing a noun with 's, and even of switching its and it’s once or twice. What I’m complaining about here is the constant erroneous usage.

Its a sad day when the student’s in my clas’s dont know how to use apostrophe’s.

I teach an MBA class, and the first paper I hand back, I always have to remind the students of the diff between it’s and its… we won’t even mention there and their.

Ack! Don’t even get me started on the misuse of myself!

Uh-oh. I’m sure there’s a joke in that line.

I’ve been thinking of starting a thread on spelling/grammar pet peeves, but I think I’ll just sound off in this one.

While we’re at it :
“their” is the third person plural possessive. If if the dog belongs to them, it’s “theirs.” It’s not “there dog” or even worse “they’re dog.”

“there” is an adverb showing place. The dog is over there. It’s not “over their,” or (god help us) “over they’re.”

'They’re" is a contraction for “they are.” If they are going to eat the dog then it’s “they’re going to eat the dog,” not “there going to eat it,” not “their going to eat it.”

Get it? Got it? Good!

Please don’t get me started on to, too and two.

Sez who?

Evidently not you, bib. :wink:

Shall we mention the difference between whose and who’s?

Well, if you are going to bitch about it, why don’t you?

I thought “there” was a preposition. Am I mistaken?

your & you’re


there ( P ) Pronunciation Key (thâr)
At or in that place: sit over there.
To, into, or toward that place: wouldn’t go there again.
At that stage, moment, or point: Stop there before you make any more mistakes.
In that matter: I can’t agree with him there.

Used to introduce a clause or sentence: There are numerous items. There must be another exit.
Used to indicate an unspecified person in direct address: Hello there.

Used especially for emphasis after the demonstrative pronoun that or those, or after a noun modified by the demonstrative adjective that or those: That person there ought to know the directions to town.
Nonstandard. Used for emphasis between a demonstrative adjective meaning “that” or “those” and a noun: No one is sitting at that there table. Them there beans ought to be picked.

That place or point: stopped and went on from there.

Used to express feelings such as relief, satisfaction, sympathy, or anger: There, now I can have some peace!

Sorry, posted too soon, forgot to add - “Don’t see preposition in this list”

And how about that and which? I see this mistake everywhere. People think they are interchangeable, but they aren’t.

*The dogs, which are in the yard, have been fed. * The purpose of this sentence is to say that the dogs have been fed, and by the way, they are in the yard.

The dogs that are in the yard have been fed. The purpose of this sentence is to say that the dogs in the yard have been fed–don’t know about the other dogs, wherever they may be.

And what’s with dogs and feeding anyway? :slight_smile:

This one has been bugging me a bit lately, hanging out in the Cafe:

When you’re talking about the official established established rules and history of a particular book/movie/comic series (or ecclesiastical law, but that’s not usually the topic when this occurs), you’re referring to canon. Two n’s, not three.

Cannon is a large projectile weapon.

Whose idea is it to play grammar police in this semi-literate, syntaxically challenged population of neologists? :wink:

Grammar is no longer taught in grammar school. Nor is it expected to be used properly in high school. Many college professors lack the ability to do simple diagrams of sentence structure.

The American-English language is a compilation of numerous dialects and slang. It is (it’s) a wonder people can communicate with each other at all.

BTW, Did you proofread your own OP? :stuck_out_tongue:

My mistake then.
Oh wait, there’s one I see pretty often: “Then” and “than”.

Can I mention irregardless? I cringe every time I hear that (non)word. Alright is another one that drives me nuts.

BTW…can someone explain when you use who vs. whom? I don’t think I’ve ever got that one right.

Him/Her/Them = Whom

He/She/They = Who

Another one that’s driven me nuts (that’s not a drive, that’s a putt!) is Me and Him: as in “Who went to the store?”

“Me & Him.” Really. Him went to the store?!? Are you sure HE didn’t go to the store?!?

Yes, I did all that. My dictionary defines the word alphabet, it doesn’t list the letters in the alphabet. Perhaps the dictionary’s editors thought that if you didn’t know the letters in the alphabet you’d already be in too much trouble in trying to use their book :).

By the way, you might have enjoyed this thread in General Questions a little while ago:
What is happening to the apostrophe?

AFAIK “whom” is an object, say, of a preposition: “to whom?” But not the object of a prepositional phrase: “to the one who did what?”