Yes, it is true. Apparently, I am a grammar nazi, not to be confused with an actual Nazi of the Nazi party- I certainly am not one of those. However, I do enjoy neat and orderly grammar and mechanics when I am reading, and I take offense to the butchering of these important guidelines of communication, because getting them wrong can completely change or obscure the meaning in one’s writing.
Today, I saw a car on which someone had used window paint (at least I hope it was something equally as temporary, for the sake of the car’s owner) on the back window to write, “TAG your it:)” This could have been a fun and harmless prank if written correctly, but the use of your instead of you’re actually brought several questions to mind. “Your it” could be a reference to a number of that person’s personal objects, right? How will the owner of the car know what he or she should tag (and why was TAG all in capital letters)? Perhaps the car is the “it.” A simple understanding that your shows ownership and you’re means “you are” is important in order to get across the proper idea.
Written communication is at least as important now as it ever was, and perhaps more so, yet people are becoming more lax about using it properly. Aside from the usual suspects of texting and email, I blame spell check, grammar check, and auto correct. Because of these, today’s society is fostering the idea that being thorough in our spelling, grammar, and mechanics is not that important anymore. Why think for ourselves when a machine can sometimes successfully do it for us? Few people proof read. In other fields of study, such as chemistry, just being close could cause an unintended explosion, or even inadvertently cost someone his or her life. Yet if someone tries to helpfully point out the correct use of their, there, or they’re, oftentimes the response is, “Whatever. It’s close enough. You knew what I meant.” That may be, but sometimes the only way I know what someone’s mistake actually means is because I know what people tend to get careless about and I have to try all possible combinations in order to figure it out for sure. Sometimes I never do figure it out.
I just ask that people pay more attention to the words they write. My head hurts sometimes when I read posts on Facebook… probably because I tend to bang my head on the desk when I see this type of grammar abuse.
Remember, even the placement of something so small as a comma (imagine if I had typed coma) can make the difference between being a cannibal or feeding your grandmother:
Let’s eat Grandma.
Let’s eat, Grandma.
I was told by some students that this video reminded them of me. The very end may be a little gross, so consider yourselves warned.