All of us have at least one language we’re really good at, and it’s typically our first language. I wouldn’t say I’m a master at English, but I’m pretty good at it. If you’re reading this, you’re probably pretty good at it, too. That makes a lot of us who are pretty good at English.
Here’s the bad news: there are a lot of native English speakers who should be good at English but aren’t. It could be that apostrophes are confusing to them, they’re lazy about applying them, they just don’t care or all of the above. People who are bad at spelling have probably always been bad at spelling, but it didn’t bother us before because it wasn’t in our faces. Well, it’s in our faces now. Social media means we are constantly reading other people’s writing whether we want to or not. We don’t want to judge people for their spelling errors, but they’re distracting, so it’s really hard not to. Spelling errors are clearly affecting our social media relationships, so imagine what they could possibly do to professional ones.
Let’s do a quick refresher lesson, so we can all live in a world where spelling errors don’t exist and we never look dumb (at least not for spelling reasons). As the old saying goes, “There are no bad people, there are just bad spellers.” That’s a saying, right?
So, if you happen to be one of the millions of people who forgot to pay attention in English class, or if you just don’t remember, because remembering things can be hard, this lesson is for you:
1. Your vs. You’re
Your – something belongs to you
You’re – you are
Ur – not actually a real word
Excuse me, your tag is sticking out.
You’re going to tuck your tag in, right?
2. Its vs. It’s
Its – possessive form of it
It’s – contraction of it is or it has
The tag on your shirt has a mind of its own.
It’s actually really upsetting that tags even exist.
3. There vs. Their vs. They’re
There – a place or idea
Their – possessive of they
They’re – contraction of they are
Shirt tags are always there.
Their discomfort outweighs their purpose.
They’re more trouble than they’re worth.
4. Whose vs. Who’s
Whose – possessive of who
Who’s – contraction of who is or who has
Whose idea was it to sew itchy tags with sharp edges onto cozy shirts?
Who’s in charge at the tag company?
5. Lets vs. Let’s
Lets – plural of let
Let’s – contraction of let us
So what if the tag lets us know to properly clean the shirt?
Let’s just not wear shirts anymore.
6. Affect vs. Effect
Affect – to cause change
Effect – a result of a cause
Okay, not wearing a shirt has negatively affected my job.
Who knew that losing your job is a side effect of not wearing a shirt?
7. Lose vs. Loose
Lose – opposite of win
Loose – opposite of tight
Now I know that losing my job is a side effect of not wearing a shirt.
Maybe if I buy my shirts extra loose, I won’t feel the tags.
8. Accept vs. Except
Accept – to receive, admit, regard as true, say yes
Except – excluding
I’ve accepted that shirts are made with tags.
I still don’t like tags, except I like the game Tag.
9. Weather vs. Whether
Weather – wind, temperature, storm
Whether – introduces two alternatives
Weather permitting, I will play Tag and wear my shirt inside out so I don’t feel the tag.
Whether or not you agree with me, Tag is a fun game to play, just not alone.
10. Then vs. Than
Then – element of time
Than – comparison
At the end of the day, I took my shirt off then put my pajamas on.
This story is more pointless than I originally thought.
And there you have it! Now you’re ready to go out into the world (behind your computer) and spell things.