The Write Stuff
October 2016 Volume 12 Issue 9
Revisiting Some Basics
Social media has changed our lives in many ways, some good and some not so good. In the latter category is the fact that people seem to have forgotten a lot of basic English learned in grammar school — or they simply don’t think correct spelling and usage count in a text or tweet.
The former is sad to me, and I respectfully disagree with the latter. I believe it’s always important to banish errors from your communications, even if they’re personal messages — and as texting and tweeting creep more and more into the business world, it’s becoming even more important to “dot your i’s and cross your t’s,” so to speak.
That being said, here are a few miscues I see regularly on social media that are easily corrected:
- There and their. There has many uses, but it’s never a possessive. Therefore, “the Cubs and Dodgers are knotted at 1-1 in there series” is wrong.Their would be correct.
- Your and you’re. You’re is the contraction of you are, while your denotes possession. Thus, “If yourjust starting to pay attention to baseball now…” is wrong. You’re would be correct.
- Its and it’s. It’s is the contraction of it is, while itsdenotes possession. So, “Its possible the Cubs will break the longest drought in professional sports” is wrong. It’s would be correct.
- Affect and effect. Affect is a verb, while effect is a noun. Thus, “Many long-time Cubs fans are emotionally effected by every play during the playoffs” is wrong. Affected would be correct.
Can you tell I have baseball on the brain? Those of you who know me well are aware I’ve been a Cubs fan since I was a kid. I actually decided to go with this topic because a fellow diehard constantly uses there instead of their in his posts, which irks me — and I bet I’m not alone.
Among or Between?
Many people think between is reserved for discussing two items and among for more than two — but that’s not quite right. You can use between when you’re talking about more than two distinct, individual items, so, “I can’t decide between San Francisco, Boston and Chicago” is correct, as is, “I can’t decide among the many great cities in the U.S.”
Waver or Waiver
While these two words sound alike, they have very different meanings. Waver is a verb that most commonly means to move unsteadily back and forth or vacillate, while waiver is a noun that most often means an intentional relinquishment of a right or privilege. Thus, you might waver about whether to sign a waiver.
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