Editorial: Speaking of Grammar

It is election time in Charleston and the political ads are filling the newspapers. Their messages are not as mean or misleading as some ads in state or national elections can be, but they also aren’t any works of grammatical art.

One candidate for mayor wants the city to stop treating its citizens like “rag muffins” and urges protection for “Seasoned Citizens.” The ad goes on to say that the current city government has said that “you, the voter, is uneducated.”

While the above example is pretty outrageous, I encounter less blatant assaults on the English language almost daily in press releases and correspondence. They seem to run in cycles. Lately, the trend is toward random capitalization of any word the writer deems important. There is absolutely no reason to capitalize Industry Leader unless that is his or her real name.

Anyway, here are a few misusages I have encountered in recent missives and messages.

Its and it’s – It’s good to keep a thing in its place.

They’re, their, and there – They’re having their picnic over there.

Regardless and irregardless – Regardless of what you may think, irregardless is not a word.

Effect and affect – Changes can have an effect or you can effect changes, but this may or may not affect somebody. (I loathe the use of “impact” in place of affect. The event didn’t impact anyone, it affected them. And don’t get me started on impactful.)

Lay and lie – You lay something down, but you lie down.

Should of, would of, could of – It should have been or could have been and maybe even would have been.

Your and you’re – You’re smart to watch your valuables.

Data and datum – Data is plural, datum is singular. Same for media and medium.

Is because – The reason is, not the reason is because.

Good and well – They were a good team and played well.

Everyday and every day – Every day I see the misuse of everyday, which means ordinary.

Its or their – A company pays its people, who then cash their paychecks.

I know that spell check can tell you if a word is misspelled, but it can’t tell you if that correctly spelled word is the one you’re looking for. The reason is because its not designed to correct you’re grammar, which you should of done yourself everyday.

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