The Grammar Fairy

It’s not a secret that I love words. I love grammar, too. I am a huge fan of the Oxford comma, and I can recite several monologues from Shakespeare – as well as a few sonnets. In short, I am a geek, though I am not the kind that eats glass or live chickens. Because ouch and ew, respectively.

Here and there, I do some editing work, which always exposes me to some hilarious (read: terrifying) examples of near-English writing and word usage. I suspect, someday, I will be discovered in corner yelling, “NO COMMA SPLICES!!!” like Joan Crawford yelling, “NO WIRE HANGERS!” It will not be pretty, but I am resigned to my fate.

But you know who isn’t? The Grammar Fairy. She is approximately three apples high (aka Smurf Height), with pale skin and sparkly green wings. However, you should not be lulled into thinking she is a benevolent, despite her resemblance to Tinkerbell. Tinkerbell she is not.

The Grammar Fairy has a temper. I think the job is getting to her, sometimes. I’ve seen her sharpening her teeth on more than one occasion. You see, if you rack up a certain number of heinous grammatical errors, she will visit you at night.

She is unforgiving. She will GNAW on your SOUL. Or, failing that, kick you in the shins. Repeatedly. Unless of course you use “whatevs” or “gots” in your everyday speech. For that, she will just haul off and bite you.

Unfortunately, the Grammar Fairy cannot be everywhere at once. Some repeat offenders have yet to meet her wrath. But she’s hiring a few good fairy underlings, and I suspect they will be out en masse VERY SOON. If you want to avoid the Wrath of the Grammar Fairy (cue music), here are a few helpful tips:

  1. ‘Thats’ is not a word. It is not even the bastard cousin of a word. It is supposed to be a contraction, and you cannot pluralize it. For this offense, the Grammar Fairy will pull out a small snatch of hair.
  2. Than and then are TWO different words. Sure, they’re homophones, but that doesn’t mean that their usage is the same. Use than for comparisons (cappuccino is better than regular coffee.). Use then in instances of time. Such as a point in time (I’ll see you then), something that happens next (I’ll make this call, then we’ll have coffee), in addition to (there’s reason, and then there’s accountability), or when something is case specific (If you want coffee, then you will have to make it). For this crime, the Grammar Fairy will bite you, perhaps in the kneecap.
  3. Your and you’re are not the same thing. Your is a possession pronoun that signifies ownership. (Example: This is your dance space.) You’re is a contraction for you are. (Example: You’re smart.) For this grave error, the Grammar Fairy will bludgeon you with a pocket dictionary.
  4. It’s and its are not interchangeable. Like your vs. you’re, its is a possession pronoun (the morning has lost its chill); it’s is a contraction for IT IS or IT HAS (it’s come to my attention that Alexander Skargard is single. CALL ME.). You cannot say, “Its common sense.” I’m pretty that only works if there’s a killer clown named Pennywise involved. For this egregious mistake, the Grammar Fairy will cut a bitch. Seriously. She has a small pocket knife. *cue music from West Side Story*
  5. Lastly, I hate to shatter worlds (not really), but the following are not correctly rendered words:
    1. Alot. You mean a lot. TWO words.
    2. Unbeknowingly. Unbeknownst is PROBABLY the word you’re looking for.
    3. Work shop. You mean workshop. One word. ONE.
    4. Anyways. Why is there an S on the end of that?!!? WHY???????????? *breaks down into sobs*
    5. Wherease. What is that even supposed to mean? You mean ‘whereas,’ I think. I HOPE.

For the above crimes, the Grammar Fairy will coldcock you with an Oxford Dictionary. (Yes, the ENTIRE set.) Repeatedly.

So, folks, if you’d like to avoid the Grammar Fairy’s ire, pay attention to what you say/write. Otherwise, you are in for a WORLD of PAIN.

Savvy?

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  1. Liz
    October 24, 2011 at 10:50 am

    ❤ ❤ ❤

    I wish I could email this to every single person with an internet connection in the entire world. My pet peeve, which I find totally inexplicable, are those folks who spell it "villian" as opposed to "villain". I see it happen SO often, that I thought *I* was the one who was making a mistake. Anyway, I learned about the Oxford comma! I always wondered whether or not it was correct to want to put a comma in front of a conjunction… and in reality, it's contentious! YAY! I wasn't wrong to have doubts! Thanks for this, haha.

    • October 26, 2011 at 8:56 am

      YOU COMMENTED!!! Yay!!! Also, I’m glad that you liked this. I’ve accidentally typed villain wrong, before, but I know it’s wrong when I do it. I’ve thought it was *me* too, and looked it up. It’s one of those words that always looks like it’s spelled wrong.

      • October 26, 2011 at 11:13 pm

        I must thank Liz. After reading her comment regarding the correct spelling of villain, I decided to recheck a post where I had mentioned the Disneyvillains. Eek! I had spelled it incorrectly! So thanks, Liz! 🙂

  2. October 24, 2011 at 11:16 am

    Than and Then, my favorite rant, although lately I’m seeing a lot of interchangeable Its and It’s and it breaks my soul, BREAKS it I tell you. But between you and me, I sometimes use unofficial words to make a point. For example, if I catch myself rambling in a blog post, I have been known to start a new section with a single word paragraph of “Anywho…” And who can resist the lure of “youse guys”?

    • October 26, 2011 at 8:57 am

      Hmm, I use ‘anywho,’ as well. *gasp* I wonder if the Grammar Fairy will be angry about that. *grin* Thanks for reading and commenting, Gayle!!!

  3. Jessica
    October 24, 2011 at 1:39 pm

    This made me crack up. Recently, as a favor to a… You know what, he’s not a friend, but the favor was more for the kid than for him. ANYWAY, someone I know asked me to read the first draft of the book that his son wrote, because he was having a hard time getting through it, being a hater of the fantasy genre. I obliged, and one of the first things I wrote back was basically begging him to ensure that his college-aged son continued to attend his English classes. The grammar and sentence structure was abysmal. It was a shame, really, because wrapped up somewhere underneath the grammatical errors and mixed up verb tenses and poor sentence structure was a pretty interesting idea.

    • October 26, 2011 at 8:59 am

      LOL. “A friend…no, he’s not a friend.” That made me chuckle. Anyway, I’ve seen some pretty crappy sentence structure; don’t even get me started on diction. How many times have I said, “That word doesn’t mean what you think it means?” TOO MANY. I hope that kid is able to straighten out his story. 🙂

      • Anonymous
        November 1, 2011 at 3:41 pm

        I hope so too! It’s pretty impressive that he wrote a 200+ page book (which apparently was his excuse for not having very good grades last year), it’d be a shame to see it go to waste. Although, I guess it’s always a learning experience, never a waste.

  4. October 25, 2011 at 5:53 pm

    I am DYING! What a brilliant post! The penalty for using it’s and its incorrectly is priceless, I tell you.

    I know I could learn a thing or three from the Grammar Fairy. If you see her, please tell her to be gentle with me. 😉

    • October 26, 2011 at 9:00 am

      For some reason, I’d left in a bullet point I didn’t mean to; it was lacking in an example and consequence. Your comment reminded me to check, and I fixed it. So, thank you for accidentally making me remember my mistake. And thank you for commenting! I’m really glad that you like this. 🙂

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