Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Grammar lessons

I'm in an awkward position (what else is new?). I need to write. No. I REALLY need to write. It's in there. It needs to come out. So what's the problem?

Well, for once in my life, I don't know what to write about!

So... I'm going to write about one of my obsessions... the English language, or more specifically, spelling and grammar. Oh, come on. Maybe you'll learn something!

Lesson 1: Your and you're.

YOUR is a possessive pronoun. Your backpack, your idea, yourself.

YOU'RE is a contraction of YOU and ARE. It is most frequently used as a verb. YOU'RE impossible. YOU'RE autistic. YOU'RE mine.

And, YOU'RE welcome. Think for a second. If you were to say "your welcome," as most people write, you're saying that the welcome belongs to somebody. It is your welcome. What you really mean is YOU ARE welcome, correct? So. You're welcome. Got it?

Lesson 2: Its and it's

ITS is the gender-neutral possessive pronoun, so it implies belonging of some sort. ITS table. ITS book. ITS hair.

IT'S is a contraction of IT IS or IT HAS. IT'S not fair. IT'S okay. IT'S been nice.

Lesson 3: Maybe and may be

MAYBE is an adverb, so it answers the question "to what extent?" in a way. MAYBE we'll go to the movies. MAYBE you're wrong. MAYBE I did say that.

MAY BE is a verb phrase. It MAY BE okay. It MAY BE that we'll go to the movies. You MAY BE coming with us.

This rule generally holds true for other words that can be compound words versus two words, too. SOME TIMES and SOMETIMES. EVERYDAY and EVERY DAY.

Okay, I'll stop, because if you made it through that, I'm impressed. I can think of a million more things to teach you, but those are the ones that stand out in my mind right now and mistakes that I frequently see.

If you ever have a grammar question, you know who to ask ;)


  1. I didn't know that you're was used as a verb. Are definitely is a verb. It could very well help with using it correctly, but I am able to tell by "look": that is, does it look right in the sentence.

    Thanks for the point about verb phrases too. I think it might help as well, especially with words like "every" and "any".

  2. It's a contraction that contains a verb, a verb phrase, I suppose. But if you remember that it is part verb, keeping in mind the "are" aspect of it, you'll do well.

    I think you're the only person who took my lesson to heart, Adelaide. I didn't think anyone would. But, you know, this is my blog, and I can write whatever I feel like on it, and I felt like grammar!

  3. Lydia,

    I actually appreciated this post. Although I am familiar with the first two things you mentioned, the third one is quite helpful to me. I have wondered about compound words in the past and never really knew how to be certain I was using them properly.

    One of my favorite memories is diagramming sentences in 8th grade trying to see who could handle the longest and most complex sentence!

  4. When I was at school we had grammar lessons - English Language was taken as an exam subject at 16 - so I'm happy you're taking it seriously.

  5. Lol Amanda. That's one thing about me... if I take it at all (and sometimes I don't), I sure do take it seriously!