A Little Grammar Lesson

I’ve been noticing some frequent grammar mistakes lately.  I figure people are trying to write well and be grammatically correct, so I thought I’d share my tricks for getting these few things right.  Typos happen, even if you recheck your work multiple times.  I know I have them sometimes.  But no one wants to have regular grammar mistakes.   Also, it makes me want to get out a red pen and correct the work.  Since I can’t do that without ruining my computer, I’ll give a little grammar refresher.

They’re/There/Their

We use these words all the time.  Choosing the correct one can be confusing.  Here’s how they should be used.

They’re:    This is a contraction of the two words “they are”.  The apostrophe takes the place of the “a”.  You use this in place of  “they are”.

Example:  They’re going to work today.

You could also write:  They are going to work today.

Their: This is the possessive form of the word.  It indicates ownership.

Example:  We went to their house last night.

There: This is usually an adverb or pronoun.  I tend to think of it as indicating a location.

Examples:  Let’s go there.   What’s that over there.

It can also be used for emphasis.

Example:  That man there.

Your(s)/You’re

This is similar to the they’re/their thing.

Your(s): This indicates possession (like their).

Examples:  That is yours.

You can put your jacket in the closet.

You’re: This is another contraction like they’re.  You use it in place of “you are”.

Example:  You’re going to dinner tonight.

It would also be correct to write:  You are going to dinner tonight.

Finally, I keep seeing the word midst misspelled.   I keep seeing it the same way, and it won’t trigger the spell check since the word being used instead is correctly spelled.  It seems people really like this word.

Midst:  It generally means among/in the middle.  That’s why it has a “d” in it.  Get it middle/midst.  It is not “mist”.  That is like a fog, as in “Gorillas in the Mist”.

Here is the dictionary definition of “midst” from http://dictionary.reference.com

–noun

1.

the position of anything surrounded by other things or parts,or occurring in the middle of a period of time, course of action, etc. (usually prec. by the ): a familiar face in the midst of the crowd; in the midst of the performance.
2.

the middle point, part, or stage (usually prec. by the ): We arrived in the midst of a storm.

-Idiom

3.

in our your their midst, in the midst of or among us (you,them): To think there was a spy in our midst!
Here’s the link to the online dictionary I use.  It’s handy when I’m on the computer.  Now, if someone could give me a refresher on where to place quotation marks (periods outside or inside?), that would be great.
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9 Responses to “A Little Grammar Lesson”

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  1. Stace says:

    HAHAHA!!! Your “midst/mist” part cracked me up. I am not an English teacher or major for that matter, but I do know the proper usage of those words. I’m pretty sure I learned them in elementary school and it irks me when people misuse them. When I blog, I don’t go back and edit for typos, or forgotten words. Well, I re-read it and I’ll only correct it if it just doesn’t make sense with the typo or missing word.

  2. Madison
    Twitter: masterchandler
    says:

    I am guilty of it all!!!!!!!!!!!! Thank you Jessica for the grammer lesson!

  3. Melissa (@adventuroo)
    Twitter: adventuroo
    says:

    Ah, a woman after my own heart! I’m also a big stickler for good grammar and spelling. On behalf of all of us sticklers everywhere, I thank you for spreading the word (with no misspellings).

  4. Sean says:

    Their really is alot of people that due use poor grammar. Great post! =)

  5. Rachel says:

    Since you asked, punctuation goes inside quotation marks. :)

  6. Elizabeth says:

    Thank you very much for posting this. I am a former language teacher and it drives me absolutely NUTS when people do not use proper grammar!

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