It is nearly universally agreed among the educated among us that:
Well-written, spell-checked, and grammatically solid posts are dead sexy.
Yes, I know not everyone was a spelling bee champ in grade school, and I know that not everyone can write epic prose at the drop of a hat, and I know that not everyone will be able to move you to tears with the brief description of their yearning heart, begging for the companionship of undying loyalty that they themselves offer selflessly like a forlorn hamadryad or winsome knight…
And really, you don’t have to, but if you can help it, please at least use your words in a readable fashion.
Let’s go over a few of the most common errors:
Commonly Confused Words
You’re and Your
- “You’re” is a contraction. It is short for “YOU ARE”. It is used as both the subject and the predicate/verb of a sentence.
- “Your” is not a contraction, and you can tell because there is no apostrophe. It is a possessive article and it goes in front of either an adjective or a noun.
- Telling someone “your beautiful” leads to the question, “My beautiful what?”
- Telling someone “I love you’re mind” leads to the question, “WTF?!?”
It’s and Its
- “It’s”, again, is a contraction – notice, again, the apostrophe. It is short for “IT IS”. Again, it is (it’s) the subject and predicate/verb.
- “Its” is, again, a possessive, not a contraction. It is also a reference.
- The sentence, “I tell you ’bout my c**k, its 10 inch long,” is not only hideously grammatically incorrect, it is probably also a lie. We’re asking ourselves “Its 10-inch long what? Silicon extension?”
- Saying “I gotta get my stuff from it’s locker” is genuinely a case of “er?”
There, They’re, and Their
- “There” is a location word that means “not here”, and that’s a great way to remember it. “Here and there” – they’re spelled with the same -ere.
- “They’re” is a contraction (apostrophe FTW!), and it is short for “they are”, as mentioned in the previous sentence.
- “Their” is a possessive collective, such as talking about “their production” or “their dinner dates”.
- If you wrote to a literate with something like, “I went out their to check on there dog, but no one was they’re,” you might be responsible for a fatal apoplectic fit.
Two, To, and Too
- “Two” is a number. Think of it was the W holding up fingers.
- “To” is a preposition, which is another way of saying “direction word”. “She goes to the store.”
- “Too” is an adverb that modifies by saying “as well” or “in addition to”. I always remembered this one because it had an extra O – and it’s making an extra statement.
- Many cases of English teacher suicide have been linked to sentences that bear striking resemblance to: “She gone too the store two get to cartons of egg.”
These are the most common examples, and I strongly encourage you to master their differences. There are many, many others – such as “bare” and “bear”; “where”, “were”, and “wear”; and “air” and “err” – but that’ll have to wait for another tirade.
Another highly critical literary faux pas is the Wall of Text. Maybe you’ve seen the little meme or statement running around teh intarweebs that says, “tl;dr“? That stands for “Too Long; Didn’t Read”. As you’ll recall from the previous post on the topic, we don’t want you to skimp on the verbiage, but break it up into paragraphs, for the love all things godly! This was one of those things that might’ve gotten skipped over in 75% of language arts classrooms in the US, so I’m going to break it down for you right here.
A paragraph is a collection of sentences (usually three to five) that all discuss the same topic. In a normal book, the paragraph is indented so that you can tell that the writer is starting on a new idea. On teh intarweebs, there is an extra line-break between paragraphs. Use these to your advantage. In your first paragraph, talk about your current situation – single/divorced, kids/no kids, etc – and about the top three things to know about you (independent, loving, caring, loud, sarcastic, quiet, shy, gregarious, needy, clingy, possessive, and so on).
In the next paragraph, talk about your hobbies – electric shark collecting, New Wave 45-rpm vinyls, yodeling ferret contests, accidentally obscene candles, crocheted microbe models, swastika farming, murky crayfish stamping, or bareback llama riding.
In the paragraph after that, talk about work and/or school and what your goals for the future are.
And it goes on like that.
It really is an essay like you were assigned in English class all those years ago, and the point is to tell a cohesive story that describes you right now. These are the things that you would spend at least the first date talking about anyway, just to get the basics out of the way, so why not share it here and save yourself some time? Remember, though, what we said yesterday: it’s about starting a conversation, so don’t go on indefinitely.
If you can’t manage this – and some people really can’t due to dyslexia, learning disabilities, or a public-school education – enroll the help of friends who might be able to edit it some. Your real friends will help because they want you to be happy.
Part 1 – Part 2 – Part 3 – Part 4 – Part 5 – Part 6 – Part 7
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