Monday, January 18, 2010
How to Sound Smarter
I got the February 2010 issue of Reader's Digest last week, and there's an article that made me think of all of you.
How to Sound Smarter
Okay, yeah. While it sounds like I'm insulting you, I'd never. Not since I lurve you like I do. It was more what's in the article, "the Reader's digest version of those rules for talking and writing--the ones you missed in high school." See? Now it makes much more sense.
Some rules won't surprise you, others may make you cringe (guilty, as charged), while perhaps one or two will have you scratchin' your... whatever it is you scratch. Anyway, here are my favorites, as they appear in the article (bolding and emphasis theirs).
You never mean: Between you and I
You always mean: Between you and me
Why: Between you and I sounds fancy, therefore right, but don't be so quick to belittle Cookie Monster ("Me want cookies!"). In this case, me is correct because it's the object of the preposition between.
You almost never mean: I feel badly
You almost always mean: I feel bad
Why: Is your sense of touch physically impaired (almost never) or are you feeling some guilt after screwing up (almost always)?
You never mean: The reason is because
You always mean: The reason is that
Why: The reason is that the word reason implies because. Likewise, why say "the reason why" when you can say "the reason"?
You never mean: The person that
You always mean: The person who
Why: A human is a "who." Anything else (yes, including animals) is a "that."
You never mean: Could of
You always mean: Could have
Why: This error pops up because of the similar pronunciations. But remember, every sentence needs a verb: "I could have written a better cover letter."
[Janna's note: I could've written a better cover letter sounds like I could of written a better cover letter. Thus, confusion.]
You never mean: Very unique
You always mean: Unique
Why: Unique things and people are one of a kind, absolute.
You never mean: Everyone has their grammar hang-ups
You always mean: Everyone has his or her grammar hang-ups
Why: Everyone, everybody, and close cousin each are singular, so words that refer to them should also be singular. Or, since we all have our grammar hang-ups, you could just rephrase the sentence.
For more examples, see the latest issue of Reader's Digest.
So did you learn anything new?