Top Ten Mistakes Writers Make (Part II)

#8: Its, it’s, there, their, they’re, your, you’re, effect, and affect. It’s sometimes hard to tell when it’s right to use “its” and when you need to use “it’s.” The following paragraph would make me cry if I weren’t purposefully writing it to make a point: I liked the puppies because of there unique coloring. One of them was white and black, and it’s eyes were blue. Its funny how too puppies can be part of the same litter and still be so different. Puppies just have that affect on people sometimes. I know my dog really effects me all the time. It’s just part of how your built, you know? Like you’re very soul loves puppies.
I will now proceed to write the same paragraph with the corrections written in bold.

I liked the puppies because of their unique coloring. One of them was white and black, and its eyes were blue. It’s funny how two puppies can be part of the same litter and still be so different. Puppies just have that effect on people sometimes. I know my dog really affects me all the time. It’s just part of how you’re built, you know? Like your very soul loves puppies.

Further explanation should not be necessary. “You’re” is a combination of two words, “You,” and, “Are,” so it should only be used when it can be swapped out for those two words. For example: “You’re a girl,” and, “You are a girl,” mean exactly the same thing.
“Affect” is a verb (to affect) and “effect” is a noun (This has an effect on me).
The word “to” is a preposition that usually indicates a destination. i.e. “I’m going to the store,” or, “He said that to her,” and possibly, “I’m going to kill the next person who uses a semicolon improperly.” That last one was an example of a verb in the infinitive. In English, when our verbs aren’t conjugated, they always have a “to” in front of them. For example, “to eat,” and, “to kill.”
The word “too” is used most often in place of the word “also” or to express excess. Examples include, “I ate way too much pie last night,” and, “I want to go to the movies, too.” It’s easy to get these confused because we use them so often, but these are some pretty basic points of grammar.
If any of this isn’t clear too you, you should really consider reading up on you’re grammar, because the affect you produce when your constantly failing at the English language…its just not funny.

#7: The improper use of the word “ironic.” It’s one thing to be discussing irony in English class and to find the concept confusing, or mistakenly call a situation ironic when it’s not, but when you use the word “ironic” within your own writing, you better be damn sure that you’re using it correctly. I will take an example from a ridiculous song by Alanis Morissette called “Ironic.” (Incidentally, if you’re wondering, there is not one single situation in that song that is actually ironic. Therefore, the only irony in the song is that there’s no irony in it at all.) Part of the chorus in this song is, “It’s like rain on your wedding day.” That is definitely not irony. It just sucks. What would be ironic? If you scheduled an outdoor wedding in June because, “Honey, there’s no way it’ll ever rain on us,” and then the day of the wedding it starts pouring. Many people would be surprised to know that they actually speak ironically every day. The definition of irony is saying one thing and meaning another, usually the exact opposite. So what are you doing when you’re using sarcasm? That’s right! You’re actually being ironic! “Great. You burned the pie. That’s wonderful.” Do you actually mean that the burnt pie fills you with love and happiness? Hopefully not…Most people would feel the exact opposite, so even though they’re saying it’s wonderful, they actually mean that it’s terrible. That sarcasm is irony. It’s as easy as well…pie. You just didn’t know it. Stay tuned to learn the difference between a function word and a content word and how easy it is for people to leave the former out of their writing without even realizing it!

Word of the Day: Enervate (v) – to deprive of force or strength; destroy the vigor of; weaken

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1 Comment

Filed under books, writing

One response to “Top Ten Mistakes Writers Make (Part II)

  1. Thankfully, I’m good with these two. I bet you’d be a tough editor (I mean that in a good way).

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