I grew up in the 1970's and 80's, a time when internet and Google were not yet words, Yahoo was an exclamation cowboys hollered out when excited, and computers took up entire rooms and required very specialized experts to run and understand them.
When I was growing up, electric typewriters were all the rage. My uncle used to be a typewriter repairman. That was a lucrative business.
Typewriters then did not have spell check. You had to know how to spell, or spend a lot of time paging through a physical dictionary and still not finding the word, because you didn't know if it started with an "Na," "No," or an "Ni."
As a kid, I was a naturally good speller. I haven't a clue where it came from, as no one in my family is great at spelling or writing anything more than a grocery list (and they still spell broccoli wrong). Then came electric typewriters that had spell check (on a teeny strip of a screen that was difficult at best to see).
I remember buying a Brother Word Processor in the early 1990's. By this time, personal computers did exist but had not yet taken over every household. I was just starting my writing career and needed something that would allow me to easily make changes, switch sentences around, print, read and then make the changes again. It wasn't quite as easy as all that, but certainly better than trying to make changes with a typewriter (that boasted nothing more than a "correct" key that backed up and whited out the word or sentence).
In 1994 I bought my very first personal computer, a Packard Bell. I think it had something like 30 megabytes for a hard drive and ran DOS plus Windows 3.1. It was a virtual powerhouse at the time. There was still no Google or Yahoo, but AOL was big and I spent an insane amount of time in chat rooms talking to people around the globe.
Since that time, I have watched computers go from a convenience to a necessity. I have also watched spelling and grammar go downhill as people sought out shortcuts instead of actually typing out a word. you're became ur, before became B4 (which, to me is nothing more than a Bingo letter), and so on and so forth.
I don't know if the invention of the internet is making people smarter or dumber. I see major grammar errors every single day, in text, in chat, in messages. And these people honestly do not know that what they are typing is wrong, and they really don't care. And that is the sad part. Here are the most common errors I see all the time...
Your. The word "your" in this spelling means, "a form of the possessive case of you used as an attributive adjective." In other words, your would be used in such a sentence as "your horse pooped in the aisle."
Yet, I see the word your used in such sentences as "your welcome." WRONG! You're is the shortened version of "you are."
How to fix this: Say the complete sentence to yourself. "You ARE welcome." If the word "are" is in the sentence, the correct sentence would be "you're welcome." (hence, you are welcome).
Here is one that drives me batty:
Could of! Those two words DO NOT even go together! Remember, "of" NEVER comes after the word "could." It is always "could have..." For example, "I could have had ice cream instead of cake." According to the Oxforddictionaries.com: "A common mistake is to write the word of instead of have or the contraction 've." I think that's how the word "of" ended up replacing "have:" If you say "could've" quickly, it sounds like "could of," and so, people not as skilled in grammar tend to type phonetically.
One last biggie (and certainly not the last), is the difference between "there," their," and "they're." This one gets the short end of the stick all the time. Here is an easy way to remember these:
There is generally in reference to a place... Such as "She is there now."
Think of the word "their" in terms of people. "It is their house." This refers to possession by someone or something, "their house," or "their claws are sharp," "their guitars have frets." And so on...
Lastly, "they're" is similar to "you're" in that, if the word 'are" is part of the sentence, you add the apostrophe. "They're going to the beach." THEY ARE going to the beach.
Get it? Good! Remember it. I want to start seeing proper grammar in more posts, texts and messages from now on....