Minding your Ps and Ps

My dear B. J.:

It’s one of the shortest words in the English language. It suffers from both overuse and misuse, and its usage should be limited whenever possible.

The word? It.

Now, read that first sentence again, and let me expound on the word’s various uses.

Exactly how many people across the Internet missed school the day the various uses of this word were taught is incalculable, but as I read various blogs, I am alarmed by the constant misuse of the pronoun!

And, another thing. Did folks generally also miss lessons on the plural and possessive forms of words? EGAD!

Perhaps the best way to improve education in this country is to set a higher standard for teachers.

So, let’s refresh ourselves:

it – a pronoun
it’s – a contraction meaning “it is”
its – the possessive form of the pronoun, as in “The dog lost its collar.”
its’ – incorrect usage

As for other plural and possessive forms, I see this a lot:

The boy’s ran down the street.

No, no, no, my dear. Here are the correct forms:

Plural: The boys ran down the street.
Possessive: The boy’s dog ran down the street.
Plural Possessive: The boys’ dog ran down the street. (The dog belongs to more than one boy.)
Incorrect usage: The boy’s ran down the street. The boys’ ran down the street.

I swear just about every blog I read confuses the usage of these forms, and this “old maid school teacher” is ready to come out of retirement! Maybe knock a few heads around.

Really gets my crinolines crawling!

I’ll leave you with this joke I heard an old gal tell on “America’s Got Talent:”

“I went to pick up my youngest daughter at the airport. She hopped into the car, all excited about her college break, and said, ‘Mom, I’ve got news. I ain’t a virgin any more.’ I looked at her, my mouth falling open, and said, ‘All this money I’m spending to send your ass to college, and you still say ain’t?'"

Amen, sister!

We grammarians have to stick together!



OMST: Old friend! Thanks for writing. I haven’t heard from you since I was blogging on “I See My Dreams.” My readers love it when you get your dander up and can read three of your previous letters HERE.


tiny said...

Dear OMST,

Do you think you might give a lesson on the difference between "there" and "their." That one just bugs the hell out of Tiny when she continually reads it on blogs, comment sections and news articles. Makes her gnash her teeth, pull her hair and say wirty durds! (Yes, that mix of last two words is on purpose.)

Frodo, revealing said...

OMST, don't you dare lie to me, I know you are Mrs. Armstrong, and you still haunt the very interior of the 7th grade classrooms at Franklin Sherman Elementary School. I still think it was unfair of you to spend only one day diagramming sentences, when Frodo had the flu, and then expected him to pass the test the very next day. You are the reason that Frodo intentionally makes at least one spelling or grammatical error in everything he has written since, just to grind your butt. By the way, do you still roll your hairup in abun?

Infidel753 said...

Even if I would of knew its' wrong, I could care less. So their. :-)

Seriously, thanks for posting this. Such merciless abuse of the English language aggravates me as well. Someone needs to rein (not reign, everybody!) it in.

Debra said...

It is clear that You, Tiny, Frodo and Infidel753 have a lot of fun conversing back and forth. Don't want to say too much for fear--I might goof and make OMST get after me.....hahhahheheehee
Enjoy Life, Enjoy your Friends!!!!
Makes the WORLD go round!!!!!
Love, Deb

Papamoka said...

I doesn't knows about you guy's butt I aints got nuttin to add to this hear grammaw lesson. You just pays attention to OMST and do you're book learnings. She done knowed what she be talking bouts. - GWB foremer decidererer

BJAdkins said...

For God's sake don't let OMST read any text messages from teenagers! They are destroying everything we were ever taught or did not learn!That will put a real twist in those knickers!

Bill Sumrall said...

"Perhaps the best way to improve education in this country is to set a higher standard for teachers."
Louisiana is the exception. Lawmakers here want to lower the bar by offering "career diplomas" to high school students because the dropout rate is so high.