To be or not to be

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There are many different views about grammar, ranging from ‘it doesn’t matter’ to Grammar Nazi.

Its easy to cheque you’re reaction too bad grammar.

Whilst I get annoyed by those people who trawl the internet searching for missed apostrophes or checking for rules-they-care-about being broken, grammar does matter.

If readers are distracted or confused by incorrect spellings or your use of the wrong word, they will soon abandon you and your writing. After all, there are plenty of authors who can either write grammatically or use a good editor.

One of the things that cause a great deal of difficulty is the conjugation of the verb, “to be” and its contraction.

Conjugation Contraction Confused with
I am I’m
He is He’s  His
She is She’s
We are We’re Were
They are They’re There or Their
You are You’re Your
 It is  It’s  Its

It is difficult to understand why these cause so much confusion but the most reasonable explanation is that they sound the same. The easiest way to see which version to use is to try to fit the un-contracted version into the sentence and listen whether it works.

For example, in the sentence, “It’s a good thing” you can replace “It’s” with “it is” and the sentence still makes sense. However, “He threw it’s stick” can clearly be seen to be incorrect as, “He threw it is stick” does not make sense.

This works with all these contractions and if there is an apostrophe (in this case) there has been a contraction. After a while, you get used to checking all versions of ‘Its’ and ‘It’s’, ‘your’ and ‘you’re’ and ‘were’ and ‘we’re’. Just don’t turn into a Grammar Nazi, I wouldn’t be able to forgive myself.

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2 thoughts on “To be or not to be

  1. Reblogged this on D P Wright and commented:
    As a former English teacher, I agree with care needing to be taken with grammar – as writers we want to be professional, of course, however – I would hope that readers would not let arguments of grammar ruin a good story!

    • Yes. There is a time for writing (and never mind the grammar or spelling) and a time for editing (when it does matter). Just don’t do the first and publish without doing the second.

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