Purists of the English language always get bent out of shape about little things.
Just misuse its or it’s and they don’t sleep for weeks.
The misuse of the three-letter word and the apostrophe is probably the most common error in grammar.
The “it game” though, is pretty easy to play yet one of the most difficult to master. The grammar rule is, “If there should be an ‘is’ in the sentence, it’s is correct.”
“The team won its game.”
“It’s about time they won.”
That was easy, wasn’t it?
Now let’s play the “who or whom” game. But to play that game you need to know something about subjects and objects, something most of us haven’t studied in a while.
This old sports writer would probably say the baseball players are the subjects and the baseball is the object, but then I wouldn’t want to embarrass my former English teachers.
Yet they would probably remember that back then, English was not my best subject.
One old saying is “rules are made to be broken” and nothing demonstrates that better then the English language.
If you want to cheat, follow this rule. If in a sentence “he” would be used, the correct choice is “who” but if “him” would be used, the correct choice is “whom.”
Who will escort the bride down the aisle? He will.
The bride will be escorted down the aisle by whom? Him.
Clear as the water rolling down Mud Creek, right?
In grade school we learned spelling rules like, “When two vowels go walking, the first one does the talking.” Except in some cases like friend, break, you, coin and pieces, to name a few.
Let’s try again.
“It’s I before E except after C” except for in some cases like weird, weight, height and seize to name a few.
We may have learned the rules in grade school but we learned the exceptions in middle school and there wasn’t any good away around it other than good old fashion memorization.
Quite frankly, my memory isn’t that good.
Today we rely on spell checker. That’s kind of like using a calculator in math and that leads to a whole new set of problems. Writing, or at least typing, is easier and spell checker instantly finds misspellings and sometimes automatically corrects them for you.
For example, the word “deviled,” if not typed correctly, can be changed to “devised.”
Other tricks in the English language are the heteronyms.
This doesn’t really make sense to me: lead (to go in front of)/lead (a metal); wind (to follow a course that is not straight)/wind (a gust of air); bass (low, deep sound)/bass (a type of fish).
Even more difficult are the homophones: to/two/too; there/their/they're; pray/prey.
I’m not even going to try to explain the homographs.
The purpose here is not to give a lesson in grammar but just to point out how difficult the English language can be. E-mail, texts and posts on Facebook and Twitter won’t make it any easier in the future.
Maybe it’s time for a rewrite?