Sunday, November 15, 2009

And Now I'm a Grammar Nazi

The Suburban Princess has posted a grammar lesson today on when to use "I" and "me" in a sentence. It has inspired me to offer up a lesson on my own grammatical pet peeve.

Rest assured, I am not reading all your blogs and even noticing errors, let alone mentally correcting them with my imaginary red pen. I don't expect bloggers to follow the rules of grammar, and I'd rather enjoy the blogs I love sans judgement. But if you're interested, I figure I'll (finally) make minimal use of the English degree I got 15 years ago and share this little tidbit.

The one grammar error I see more than any other in my local newspaper looks something like this:

"The people that cause the problems in our community don't want to fix them."

or this:

"Mr. Brown is the person that people should see if they want gardening information."

So here's a very basic, very simple rule to remember: if you're writing about a person, you want to use the word "who" (ie. "The people who cause the problems in our community..."). For anything else, use "that"( ie. "Bobby has a toy car that runs on batteries.").

The only area where this could possibly be confusing is if you're writing about a group or a team of people, in which case you'd go with "that" (ie. "The Greendale Jets were the basketball team that our school needed to beat this weekend.").

Basic? Absolutely. But I think it must be one of the most frequently ignored grammar rules in our language. I could get into essential and nonessential clauses next, but I think you've all been punished enough.

NOW, the first person who can read through this post and find a spelling or grammar error wins a Ferrari*! Go!

*Disclaimer: Ferrari is figment of blog author's feverish imagination. She has flu.

11 comments:

In Real Life said...

Hope you feel better soon.

Suburban Princess said...

Good one!

How about the total overuse of the word 'that'! I find it very distracting when I read a book and the author uses it unneccesarily!

Amanda {My Life Badly Written} said...

Am I correct is saying that the word Judgement should be spelt Judgment? Or is that just an Aussie thing?

Do I win the fake Ferrari?

My pet peeve is To, Two and Too!!

Janine said...

Yeah right!!
Just send me the ferrari!!

Feel better!!

Tater Tot Mom said...

Yeah, that's an annoying one. What gets my goat more though are pronunciation mistakes like people WHO say exspecially instead of eSpecially. That drives me nuts!

My mom by the way reads my blog and picks out all my grammar and spelling errors...it's a little annoying! She's such a stickler!

knitwit said...

Amanda wins the imaginary ferrari! Dictionary.com says both spellings are correct, but Amanda's is more common. My spelling is, apparently, British. Yet another thing I brought with me when I crossed the pond!
Thanks for all your well-wishes. I may have exaggerated when I said flu. It's either a really nasty cold, or really mild flu--I can't decide which!

Tater Tot Mom said...

Stop on by...there's a little something for you over at my blog!

AngeliStarr said...

I despise bad spelling. IT JUST ANNOYS THE HECK OUT OF ME! And misuse of homonyms(words that sound the same, different spelling)

LOL I like your pet peeve though. It is definitely one that occurs often but goes unnoticed.

The Blonde Duck said...

(Hiding.)

Dimple said...

I thought the blog author would have THE flu--or maybe that's just an Americanism! Did I use "that" correctly? Now where's the imaginary Ferrari?

Hope you feel better soon!

Organic Meatbag said...

I appreciate your dogged determination to right the grammatical wrongs of the world...hahahaha