I Speaky Good Engleesh

Yup, sometimes even the geeks get it wrong. Typos are ok, bad English just isn’t. We’ve got to curb this before we literally start talking gobbledegook. Brush up on your grammar with this infographic that spells out a few of the common mistakes in today’s world.

As an extra exercise – this is one I learned in highschool – add punctuation to the following words in order to make them make sense:

Tom where John had had had had had had had had had had had the teacher’s approval

Answer is after the infographic!

15 Grammar Goofs That Make You Look Silly
Source: Copyblogger.


Tom where John had had, “had,” had had, “had had.” “Had had,” had had the teacher’s approval.

I really like the Oatmeal infographic on grammar (I love how he injects humour into his posts). Read it here. 10 Words You Need To Stop Misspelling

Also, there’s another word that people often misuse, and it’s been misused so much that we almost now consider that meaning a true definition: the word “quote” is not a noun. It is a “quotation” if it’s a noun. “Quote” is a verb. As in, “I decided I needed to quote him, so I wrote the quotation down on a napkin.”

Shockingly, quote as a noun is actually at dictionary.com. But that’s probably because it has been used for such a long time in informal contexts that it has started to actually take on that meaning. If you’re writing an essay, use quotation rather than quote if you’re referring to the noun. Not only is it correct, but it will also earn you points with a (good) tutor! But hey, if quote can become a noun through over-usage then…

No…no. Please don’t let our children say, “Could of”!

[By copyblogger and Blue Glass via Daily Infographic]

27 Responses to I Speaky Good Engleesh

  1. I'll be honest, I still have a problem getting #2 (its and it's) right, mainly because it half-contradicts #8 (which says that apostrophes should be used for possessives AND contractions), and I can never remember which one is the contradiction and which one follows the rule.

    If you ask me, "it's" should be both a contraction of "it is" and a possessive "belonging to it", and "its" should be just plain wrong.

    • I agree with you. For example,
      "There was a monster. It's face was green."
      Obviously "it is face was green" would make no sense, but substitute 'The monster's" for "it's" and you get "The monster's face was green".

      I suppose it's based around 'he to his' kinda thing. I mean, you wouldn't write "he's" to say something belongs to someone, but you would write "his". I don't really know anyway, using "it's" to say something belongs to "it" seems perfectly reasonable to me.

  2. It's is not, it isn't ain't, and it's it's, not its, if you mean it is. If you don't, it's its. Then too, it's hers. It isn't her's. It isn't our's either. It's ours, and likewise yours and theirs.

  3. Well…about the apostrophe's…it's debatable as to whether there are exceptions:
    Don't forget to dot your i's.
    A's are the best of all the letter grades to strive for.
    My phone number has multiple 6's and 0's.
    Ctrl+F: "Lowercase"
    Ctrl+F: Rule 11 or "Exceptions"
    Ctrl+F: "DO use the apostrophe"
    Ctrl+F: "Single Letter"
    See Section 3 regarding mind your p's and q's.

    I had to rip the following off an online post, so I need to find an MLA book for mself, but I'll post anyway:
    "The MLA Style Manual for academic writing, used as the standard reference in psychology and several other fields, says:
    A principle function of apostrophes is to indicate possession. They are also used to form contractions (can’t, wouldn’t), which are rarely acceptable in scholarly writing, and the plurals of the letters of the alphabet (p’s and q’s, three A’s). § 3.4.7"

    Chicago Manual of Style and WIT recommend that the apostrophe be used in plural constructions only when necessary to avoid confusion such as with the "A's" example I gave where the only reason you'd use an apostrophe is that a reader may be confused without it.

    My third example is probably the most debatable because some would argue 0s would never be mistaken for Os (at least not typed), and if you took away the apostrophe from the 0 in that example, there'd be no need for the 6 to have an apostrophe as it was only there for consistency purposes. However, a sentence like, "Dot your i's." would just be awkward for most to read without an apostrophe.

  4. When you're talking about online chat and comments, most of these can be chalked up to typos. I know these by heart, and I still make these mistakes, because I learned (like most english speakers) to spell phonetically, and my fingers just follow the sounds sometimes. In a paper or formal blog post, yeah, you should proof and fix these errors – in a facebook post? Get over it Mr. Grammar Nazi.

    Also, you can use less in either case, though that may be what it's implying – fewer implies a quantity, but less doesn't imply either way. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/less

    Agreed with the previous poster, Oatmeal's is both better, and in better spirit. :o)

  5. It is also pretty embarrassing to call all these errors grammatical when not all of them are. For instance, the first example — misusing your and you're — is an issue with homonyms not grammar.

  6. It took me a while to understand the, “had had” thing; but I got it!
    Sometimes I have problems with commas. I think there is a rule about the amount of prepositional phrases before an independent clause. It’s something like this:
    In the store I bought groceries.
    In the store at my hometown, I bought groceries.

  7. A couple of my peeves:

    "We need to insure the project is a success." Unless you're purchasing a policy against failure, you mean "ensure."

    "Please bare with me." A great line to get get from your girlfriend, but around the office you probably mean to say "bear with me".

  8. My biggest spelling pet peeve on the Internet right now?

    It's "definitely"…not "definately". You can't even blame that one on acronym-speak – it's just ignorance.

  9. "Quote" as a noun is in Merriam-Webster and has 1888 as the first known usage. Hardly new.
    BTW, "high school" is two words.

  10. Every credit that man.

    Unfortunately, the people making the mistakes will not read this.

    Double unfortunately, I have seen many of these errors in articles on this site.

  11. is this for real???
    I mean, REALLY???
    I'm from motherf****g USSR and my mind is blown that some people need these

  12. The one vile misuse of a word that bothers me the most has to be the mix-up between "wary" and "weary". I'm so tired of being so on guard against such a travesty. Can we please learn to use these words correctly?

  13. I'm not even a native English speaker (nor have I ever seriously studied the language), and I know all these rules by instinct. Just read more, people. Just read more.

    BTW, things like what you mention of "quote" vs "quotation" happen because English doesn't have a "ruling organism", to call it somehow. In Spanish, we have the "Royal Spanish Academy (RAE)", which issues it's dictionary (DRAE), and that's the official ruling document of the Spanish language (yes, for all the Spanish-speaking countries, not only for Spain). If it's not there, it is considered a spelling mistake.

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