Let me say this first: I think a language belongs to those who speak (and write) it. Languages change; the “standard” form of a language also changes. And on a casual message board like this, anybody who criticizes a post’s *ideas* because of the post’s spelling and grammar needs to rethink his/her priorities.
Even so, it’s important for people, especially those who might be writing applications or interviewing for jobs, to know the *current* standard for English usage. I’m afraid that some readers of this board, especially the younger ones, might be misled and end up making a mistake in spelling or grammar or punctuation when it really matters.
All the corrections below were prompted by non-standard posts on this board:
BENEFIT (not benifit)
BY AND LARGE (not by in large and not buyin’/buying large)
COMPETITIVE (not competative)
DEFINITELY (not definately)
DISAPPOINTED (not dissapointed)
SEPARATE (not seperate)
(WEB)SITE (not sight)
I’m not even going to try to convince people that the correct spelling is “tendinitis”—though it is. So many spell it “tendonitis” that that’s becoming standard usage.
Past tense of “to lead” is LED (not lead)
The principal parts of the verb “to lie” (recline) are LIE, LAY, LAIN:
We LIE down after each meal.
Yesterday the twins LAY down for their afternoon nap.
I often HAVE LAIN awake the night before races.
The principal parts of “to run” are RUN, RAN, RUN:
We RUN every day.
We RAN yesterday.
We HAVE RUN (not have ran) every day this week.
IT’S is the contraction for “it is” or “it has”—for anything else, you use ITS.
The contraction of “you are” is YOU’RE. The second person possessive pronoun is YOUR.
The contraction of “you all” is Y’ALL (not ya’ll, which is the contraction, I guess, of “ya will”).
More generally, the rule is: in contractions or elisions, apostrophes go where the missing letters, sounds, or numerals were: rock ’n’ roll, Li’l Kim, class of ’08, won’t.
With rare exceptions, ENGLISH DOES NOT USE APOSTROPHES TO FORM PLURALS. (The exceptions—only in some style sheets: the plurals of numerals or letters, e.g. I got three A’s this semester.)
[And by the way, an apostrophe curves the same way a comma curves: from north to east to south. When an apostrophe belongs at the beginning of a word, “smart quotes” programs frequently will use an “open-single-quotation-mark,” which curves from north to west to south. You have to use a couple of keystrokes to correct it. I don’t think it matters on this board, which seems to have straight quotation marks.]
“Comprise” is a synonym of “include,” but is misused so frequently (including by the Supreme Court) that your best bet is not to use the word at all. Same thing with “sojourn” (which is a temporary stay somewhere, not a journey). Avoid using either of these (especially in interviews or in essays for school applications)—even if you use it “correctly,” about half your audience will think you’re ignorant of the word’s meaning.
The word “forte” (meaning a strong point) is fine to use in writing, but avoid using it in speech. Again, if you pronounce it “correctly” (as one syllable), too many people will think you’re ignorant.
The meaning of “i.e.” is “that is”; the meaning of “e.g.” is “for example.”
The possessive form of “who” is WHOSE; who’s is a contraction of “who is.”
“Coach was SUPPOSED to pick us up after 15 miles.” (not suppose to)
“Get USED to my back; you’ll be seeing it a lot.” (not get use to)
The following phrases are each two words long: “all right” and “a lot”
I’m sure there’s much more to add—I’ll probably think of a dozen things tomorrow. But this is it for now. And in case you’re wondering: I generally don’t correct misspellings that are obvious typos. Everybody makes typos. I make plenty. I may have made some in this post. But if I did, they’re wrong (= non-standard).
Thanks for the tips. I found out that I do spell Tendinitis incorrectly.
Anyway, I've noticed a few people on this board use language differently from me. For example, I would write:
The car is dirty and needs to be washed.
Others might write:
The car is dirty and needs washed.
I had never heard the latter until recently. I'm from Los Angeles. My ex would use the second form. She's from Pittsburgh. A poster on this site also used the second form.
Which way do you all use and where did you grow up?
Come on, show some respect for the original....
Not to mention one of the most redundant constructs found in the English language, "Having said that", or "That having been said", etc.
How many times does one need reminding that you said what we you just heard you say?
Using such a construct suggests you really have nothing to say.
I would point out you used "principal" incorrectly several times. It should be "principle" as in, "The principle parts of the verb “to lie” (recline) are LIE, LAY, LAIN:"
Naaaaw, principle is a rule or assumption, the sort of thing that you get in Aristotelian logic or physics or legal stuff. As in, 'Newton's most famous principles are his three laws of motion.'
Principal means 'top guy' or 'first and foremost thingie' or the real value of an asset or loan apart from the finance or carrying cost.
Check it out!
THIS IS 100% WRONG (i.e. non-standard)!
If you Google "principal parts" +verb you get about 56,000 hits; if you Google "principle parts +verb you get about 800.
Here's the rule: The princiPAL of your school is not just your *pal*--he's also the "main man" of the school. So the *main* thing is the princiPAL: the money on which you're earning interest, the party to a contract, or the main (princiPAL) reason you do something. The "main" or "first" parts of a verb are its princiPAL parts.
As for princiPLE: if you do something "on princiPLE," there's always a little bit of *E*thics involved!
|higher than high|
How is it misused? I often use it as a synonym of "composed" or "made up of". Are you saying that is wrong? Here are the top three Google searches for "definition comprise" and they all say that meaning is correct.
|Know your limits|
"Principle" usually means that which explains or grounds. "Principal" always refers to individual elements, even when used in the plural, for example, "The principals involved were. . . ."