“I will meet you their.”
Suddenly sirens are blaring in the distance. Vehicles are dashing out of the way left right and centre (or is it center?). Somebody has committed the unforgivable online sin and the Grandma Police are on the way.
At least that’s what I call them. To everyone else (for now) they are known as the Grammar Police. And they are here to make sure you spell write. I mean right.
IT’S ABOUT USING THE RIGHT “ITS”
As someone who personally tends to shy away from capital letters (except for specific words) and make up my own words (which are often amalgamations of other known words) I find this a tricky one. I have a pretty great grasp of the English language and so my “mistakes” are typically on purpose. But as a writer and a blogger I also understand the need for good grandma. Sorry, grammar.
“I will meet you their” is probably the cardinal of errors and to be fair there are three options to choose from:
There – a place, as in, “I will meet you there.”
Their – possessive, as in “That is their cat.”
They’re – shortened form of “They are”, as in “They’re there with their cat.”
SO WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL?
Does it really matter if the apostrophe in your “it’s” (shortened form of “it is”) goes wondering and it becomes “its” [possessive]?
Who cares if your principle (belief, value) shows up as your principal (headmaster of a school)?
Does it even matter? Why then, the need for a grammar police? And who gets to decide that they are them?
Well, as someone who writes, anything that distracts the reader from receiving the message you are trying to convey to them can be unhelpful. For exampad, if you reed a sentince that is ridled with splleing mis-steaks and incorrrect word usedage, you may have to go back and read it a couple of times to try and figure out what the writer was trying to seance.
While at other times it can dramatically affect the message. My most favourite example being:
Let’s eat grandma!
Let’s eat, grandma!
Commas save lives, people!
MORE LIKE SOCIAL ME-DIA!
As someone with a blog who writes regularly, I really appreciate it when someone notices an obvious mistake and points it out to me, because of the distraction thing.
But some people take it to extremes and it can seem to be more about them than about you as a person they are supposedly trying to help. That’s why I started calling it the “Grandma Police” with the idea of a nagging granny trying to get things to be the way they used to be.
For example, I have a friend called T who still insists that you should not end a sentence with a proposition, whereas that is something I just can’t be bothered with. (Ah, you see what I did there, T is crying into her tea as we speak). Officially it is an English rule, but personally I feel that it is outdated and when you do it “correctly” the sentence stops sounding like people speak. Which is a little weird.
THE GRAMMAR POLICE FORCE AWAKENS
As with most things in life, the answer is to probably try and find a balance. Take a moment to learn some of the grammar police infringements that annoy most of the people the most (probably the three biggest are their/there/they’re, its/it’s and also to/too/two) and start using the right words. Think of it as a labour of love.
For those of you who are writers, invite other writers to take a look at your work before you send it out to help you catch glaring errors you miss.
And any time someone’s Grammar Policing feels more grandma than helpful, find a fun cartoon like this one and stick it on their page, or go and write a sentence on their page that ends with a preposition. That’ll sort them out, with.