So I got a bunch of Spam recently. Actually, it was one rather large Spam message. All in Russian. There were several links, however, in English. Here’s what I understood: something about a video and britni spirs [sic], something with the return address “porno rep”, something with the word “sandwicheikaiwa” in it (which sounds both delicious and like something Jabba the Hutt would say), the word “squires”, a bunch of “drtuber” * video links, and the email address “prostiiitutok.ru” at the end. So I may or may not have ordered a Russian bride by the name of Britni Spirs. But I hear she makes good sandwiches…
I came across a new job the other day: state underwater archaeologist. And you thought I’d never do anything with my master’s degree in maritime history. Pah. But seriously, doesn’t that sound like a made up job?** I’m the state’s underwater archaeologist. Think of me as Indiana Jones in a wetsuit.
Is the plural of the last name “Wolf” “Wolves”? Because that would be awesome. Hello, we are the Wolves. Please leave a message and we will eat you later. I mean, call you later.
Speaking of plurals, my friend Mary asked me to post a quick lesson on some grammar and usage related issues she’s noticed on Facebook status updates. So, Mary, here it is.
Even the best of us get tripped up by this.*** A simple way to remember is to think of what you’re trying to say. If it’s a place, as in over there, think of another place. Like here. Then add a “t” in front of it and you get There. Here/There. Easy enough. When you want to say something belongs to them, as in it’s their shoe, think of another possessive: your. Your ends in an “r”; Their ends in an “r.” And of course, they’re is a contraction. The apostrophe “stands in” for the missing “a.” If you pull it apart, you get “they” and “are.” Same with your and you’re. Think “our” and add a “y” for possessive; pull the contraction apart to make “you” and “are.”
Which leads me to my next one: apart vs. a part. This one is second only to plurals vs. possessives in my pet peeves on FB (see below). A part means one part or just “part.” As in, “Thanks for being part/a part/one part of my special day!” Apart (one word, no space) means separate from. When you write, “Thanks for being apart of my special day,” what you’re really saying is, “Thanks for being separate from my special day,” and you’re either super mean and thanking someone for not participating in your big event, or you forgot the space.
Plurals vs. Possessives
I know this one is hard. But, really, it’s not. With the exception of yours, theirs, and ours****, when something is owned by someone, you add an apostrophe to the person’s (ha!) name: That is Karen’s shoe. Stop digging around in Wendy’s purse. Pass me Kevin’s harmonica so I can hide it. What have you.
If there is more than one elephant, you add an “s” and write “elephants.” If there is more than one cat, you add an “s” and write “cats.” If there is more than one hyena, you add an “s” and write “hyenas.” If there is more than one deer…oh. Well, you get the picture…pictures…For some reason, however, when people are involved we get really mixed up and start adding an apostrophe. “We are the Johnson’s” makes me want to add something like “illiterate twins” or “grammatically-challenged doppelgangers” to the end. Johnsons. Turners. Smiths. S. No apostrophe. Same as cats.
What gets really tricky, and I understand this, is when someone wants to make something plural AND possessive. As in, this is home belongs to the Johnson family. In most cases, you want to think about how many people first (as in, more than one), then worry about ownership. So multiple Johnsons (plural) live in the house, it is the Johnsons’ house. What gets confusing, even for me, is when the word/name already ends in an “s” or an “es” and then you want to make it plural or possessive. Do I make it an “es”? An “eses”? Do I do s’s and sound like I’m stuttering? Do I just skip the whole thing and write “This book belongs to multiple people named Lewis”? In that case, I find it’s best to just ask my mom. No seriously, she taught middle school English and is much better at this than I am.
But I hope that cleared up some issues. Oh, and Awwwww is the emotion (as in Awwwww a baby photo or kittens playing in a basket or a dog giggling at a man licking his toes or something). Awe is amazement, as in, “I am in awe of your grammar and usage knowledge.” Awwwww, thank you.
*Dr. Tuber = Mr. Potatohead’s more successful brother.
**Kind of like paleoanthropologist. Just kidding, Mary Leakey (that woman who was on the Google home page yesterday). Happy belated birthday!
****And a few other random ones that I’m sure people will write in about but I don’t have the energy to go into right now.