I've been reading a lot lately, specifically blogs and forums. (Baby blogs and forums ... because that's what I'm into right now.) But they're driving me crazy with the spelling and grammar errors. I don't mean the people who don't even care about spelling and grammar. I don't read those blogs at all. I mean the ones who care, who clearly spell check and make an effort with their grammar, but who make the same mistakes so often and with such regularity that I fear the incorrect version will become standard. I hate it when that happens.
1. breath vs. breathe: The first is a noun. The second is a verb. Do not say "I can't breath." Of course you can't because there is no such action as "to breath."
2. prophecy vs. prophesy: Same thing. Also -- no such word as "prophesize." To give a prophecy is to prophesy, pronounced "prophe-SIGH."
3. done: This may be a Philadelphia thing; all my students did it. It's an odd construction with the word "done." Instead of "I am done with my homework" or "I have done my homework," they say, "I am done my homework." Sounds so wrong to me!
4. needs: Another odd construction which I suspect is regional, but since I've only seen it online, I'm not sure what region that would be. This is when they say "My oven needs fixed" or "The baby needs fed." Shouldn't that be "My oven needs TO BE fixed"?
5. voila: Can no one spell this word? Ever? Spellings I have seen include "wa la" and "whoa-la." Come on, people! If you've only heard a word said and never seen it spelled ... look it up! Or (when you fail to find it in the w's) ask someone!
6. its and it's: Do I really need to go into this? Yet it's probably the most common punctuation mistake out there; its proper use seems to baffle everyone.
7. bath vs. bathe: See breath vs. breathe. I know not everyone knows about that nice Old English rule whereby a vowel after "th" turns it into a hard sound. But you can always just memorize the words where this happens, right?
8. per se: not persay. This is not an English word; it is two Latin words.
9. myself: Not "Sydney and myself went out to lunch," but "Sydney and I went out to lunch." "Myself" isn't meant to be stuck in just because you don't know if it's supposed to be "me" or "I." It's only meant to be reflexive or intensive -- that's it! "I like myself" or "I myself enjoy spaghetti" are correct uses. "She was interested in talking to Louis or myself" is not.
10. lay and lie: No one seems to remember the difference! I lie down. Yesterday, I lay down. I have lain here for an hour. Let's lay it to rest. Yesterday, we laid it to rest. I have laid the topic to rest. There is a song that goes, "If I lie here, if I just lay here ..." Well, which is it? Lie or lay? Only one can be right! I know it is so common to say, "I'm going to lay down for a bit," or, "I laid on the couch all day," but -- it's wrong.
And a baby picture ... because I can't help myself.