People who know me are aware that I’m a hardcore grammar Nazi. Be that as it may, I acknowledge that English is a complicated language with rules that are often anything but straightforward. Nonetheless, it does have some rules so simple that even a goldfish with Down Syndrome could understand them, yet I see college educated humans fuck them up on an almost daily basis:
1) “It’s” vs. “its.” What is so complicated about this, people? If you want to say, “it is,” use an apostrophe; otherwise, don’t. Or do, but brace yourself for the swift kick to the genitals I’ll subsequently deliver.
2) “You’re” vs. “your.” Mixing these up is even more egregioius than it’s/its; at least in that case one could argue that other possessives use apostrophes, so it’s easy to forget that “its” is different. I suppose “you’re” could be subject to the same argument, but hello, dumbass, what’s that ‘e’ doing at the end of the word? Moreover, the far more common version of this mistake is writing “your” when intending a contraction, something anyone with even the most basic understanding of the apostrophe should never do.
3) “Their” vs. “there” vs. “they’re.” Applying the simple contraction rule mentioned above takes care of “they’re.” There’s no convenient heuristic for distinguishing between “their” and “there,” so these two have to be memorized. Can you manage that, you idiots? Considering how many of you keep track of the performances of hundreds of ballplayers at once, I think with a little effort you can keep track of two very common words with utterly different meanings.
Seriously, how can people make it through elementary school, much less high school and college, without a grasp of their native tongue’s most basic principles? If I were in charge, people caught making these mistakes would be sent to re-education centers and forced to write the offending words over and over, like they did with naughty schoolchildren back when this country wasn’t full of spoiled pussies.
Recidivists would simply be shot.