06 Jan
Your Grammar Ain’t Making Me Happy

Dear Mouthy Housewives,

I have a friend who always mixes up “there” “they’re” and “their” in emails. It’s making me absolutely insane. My husband thinks that I should just email her some grammar rules, but he doesn’t like her, so I think he’s hoping that we’ll just drift apart after that. Is there anything other than “looking the other way” that I can do?

Signed,

Grammar Girl

______________________

Dear Grammar Girl,

They’re they’re. Don’t fret. Their many different ways you can handle this. Ok, sorry. I’m just torturing you. I’m mean in January. I can’t help it. I hate cold weather.   I’ll be much kinder in the spring.

I absolutely understand your agony. It makes me crazy when people misuse “good” and “well.” I’ve had people say to my child, “You did so good today” and I just want to throw myself at their feet and scream, “Well!! The correct word is well. She did so well.” But I must be in the minority here, because just like “The Real Housewives,” the misuse of “good” is sadly sweeping the country and it just can not be stopped.

Now back to your issue. There is this epidemic going on in emails and texts where no one pays much attention to capitalization, spelling or grammar.   For example, “i woll met u larer f cofee” is code for “I will meet you later for coffee.” So your friend may just be typing quickly and not taking the time to review her emails and notice mistakes like the difference between “they’re” and “their.”

You can commit to only speaking to her on the phone, but of course that will be more torturous because who wants to yack on the phone all day when email is so easy and fabulous.

You can ignore her mistakes and just silently stew and complain to your unsympathetic husband.

Or you can say something in an email. But be warned. Even the slightest mention of her grammatical shortcomings is going to come off as sounding like you’re the almighty grammar police. She will likely be offended.

My advice? Ignore her grammatical mistakes. Lead by example in your own emails by using words correctly and hope that some day, by the grace of the grammar angels, she’ll catch on.   If not, you can always feel just a touch superior—which is always a good thing on a bad hair day.

Forever grammatically yours,

Kelcey, TMH

13 Responses to “Your Grammar Ain’t Making Me Happy”

01.06.10#1

Comment by Marinka, The Mouthy Housewives.

My advice is to terminate the friendship immediately. The only way these people will learn is if they’re ostracized.

01.06.10#2

Comment by hokgardner.

As a professional writer and editor, this kind of thing sets my teeth on edge. There are so many blogs I read with poor spelling and grammar, but I ignore it because I don’t want to across as an annoyingknow-it-all. Especially because I’ve been known to slip up once in a while.

01.06.10#3

Comment by Wendi.

You’re advice is really well; Kelcey!

Momof4Luds Reply:

snorted coffee at this one

01.06.10#4

Comment by Muirgen.

Send her a copy of “Eats, Shoots & Leaves”. Anonymously.

JennK Reply:

I second sending the book. If that fails then ostracization is your only choice.

01.06.10#5

Comment by Lisa.

You have got to be kidding me. Not only do I know the difference between well and good, I know when to use whom.

And to actually be bothered by a friend who mixes up homonyms? That’s petty. Petty petty petty.

To mix up homonyms is more likely a brain wiring issue. Just like some people are fabulous with numbers and some are spatially brilliant, we all have our quirks.

A mental quirk is not the same as someone who just can’t be bothered to make the effort. And really, even if her worst trait is that she can’t be bothered, is that so bad? Sounds like the letter writer’s worst trait is that she is judgmental and holier-than-thouh.

Marinka Reply:

I have no issue with gay people.

mom, again Reply:

I get frustrated when people I know make glaring mistakes like that, over and over again. It’s not so much judgmental and hlier-than-thou, Lisa, is it is worry on their behalf. I really do worry that they will make errors like this somewhere that it matters. But there is no point offering correction as offense will be taken. Oh, there’s a time or two when I’ve offered advice to someone I already know to be willing to receive it. Other than that, unless I gave birth to ’em, I leave their grammar alone.

01.06.10#6

Comment by StephanieG.

I am so relieved! I thought I was the only one bothered by the grammatical shortcomings of others.

I work with a woman who cannot use the word “me” in a business setting. She used to end meetings by saying “if you have any issues, please see my assistant or myself.”

I don’t know if it’s an improvement or not, but now she’s saying “if you have any issues, please see my assistant or I.”

She’s much higher on the food chain than I, so I hesitate to point out she is hurting her professional credibility by sounding like a redneck hick…..

01.06.10#7

Comment by Aludra.

For the record, the good/well thing bothers me, too.

01.06.10#8

Comment by mari.

Tell her about The Oatmeal, and its recent post about grammar and how funny you think it is: http://theoatmeal.com/comics/misspelling.

01.13.10#9

Comment by Erin.

you can also join the group on facebook for the correct use of Their, They’re, and There

maybe she’ll get the message!

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