Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Writing Wednesdays: Writing PET PEEVES

Here's what annoys me a lot:

When writers (or people who claim to be writers) don't have good grammar. 

At one point in my life, I was a snobby person who called people out on EVERY LITTLE GRAMMAR error. I gloried in showing my grammar superiority.

I've gotten better about it, but these things still annoy me immensely.

1. Run-on sentences.

I won't tell you HOW MANY TIMES I see this on a blog, or when I read other people's writing. Putting a comma in between two independent clauses does not make it a good sentence.

For example, this is a run-on:

She smelled the flowers, they smelled good.  

In this case, "she smelled the flowers" is an independent clause, a complete thought. "They smelled good" is an independent clause, a complete thought. Putting a comma between two independent clauses does not make it a regular sentence. It makes it a run-on!

How do you fix them, then? There are different ways.

First, you can make one of the clauses a dependent clause.

You can add "when" in front of She smelled the flowers, thus making it When she smelled the flowers, they smelled good.

See? It's coherent. 

You can put a conjunction in between the two dependent clauses.

She smelled the flowers, and they smelled good.

You can cut the run-on into two different sentences.

She smelled the flowers. They smelled good.

I know there are tons of stylistic errors with the sentence--for example, what did the flowers smell like? But honestly, you need to have a solid base in grammar before you move on to stylistic detailing. It's only after you change the sentence grammatically that you can actually focus on the minute detailing.

2. It's VS Its

This is pretty simple, but people somehow don't get this one. 

"It's" is a contraction, meaning "it is."

It is well with my soul.

It's well with my soul.

"Its" is a possessive pronoun, meaning "it possesses [____]."

Its little fingertips probed the monitor.

So many people use "it's" in the place of "its."

But it's not confusing!

Whenever you're confused about whether to use "it's" or "its," use this technique.

For example, look at that last sentence. It's not confusing.

Ask yourself, "Does it possess not confusing?"

No, it doesn't. It cannot possess not confusing.

Ask yourself, "Does it is not confusing work?"

Yes, it does. Therefore, you use it's.

3. Your VS you're

Again, this is a big one. 

Your is a possessive pronoun, meaning "you possess [___]." It's an adjective.

Your shirt is very pretty.

You're is a contraction, meaning "you are." It's a subject-verb combo.

You're awesome!

How do you figure out when to use which? Use the same "substitution" method.

For example, take the sentence

______ label maker is insanely pathetic.

Does "You are label-maker is insanely pathetic" work?


Does "You possess a label maker [that] is insanely pathetic" work?


You can also tell if it works by judging its role in the sentence. If you need a subject and a verb in the sentence, "you're" is needed. If you need an adjective in the sentence, "your" is needed.


So, all in all, whether you're a writer or not, grammar is important. Even though some people may not notice or mind when you flub up subject-verb agreement, often people do notice and mind. (I mean, who wants to read a writer who says "The cats is good. The dog are bad," etc., etc.?) 

The basis for good writing is good grammar. So pay attention to your words and your wording, and always strive to communicate thoughts in ways that are effective, clear, and kool.

What are some of your writing pet peeves?


So...remember how I told you in this post that if I got a 2000, I could skip the rest of this summer's SAT camp?

WELL I GOT A 2040 ON MONDAY, SO I AM OFFICIALLY FREE for the rest of the summer!

from That's kind of how I feel right now. ^^

I still have to finish my AP Euro homework and stuff, but I'm SO excited. I'm really, really, really excited. I'm done! Done! Doneeeeee!!!!!!

Anyway, what are some of your writing pet peeves?


  1. Rcubed,
    Ok, first I just want to say that I love the new shoes thing on the top. That. Is. Awesome. (I do hope that short sentences are no on your Pet peeves list. Sorry about that.) I hate it when people use so much Text Talk in an essay paper. (*sighs sarcastically*) OR when you are, like peer editing and the person who you’re grading there paper didn't even touch the subject, then wants you to give your honest answer. Then you have to balance the whole "Truth and Grace" thing and... I'm really not good at that.

    I love your blog, you rock!! (actually, i got in trouble for saying that. You're suppost to say, "It is awesome what God is doing though you." Or something along those lines. (Homes Schooled PK. I get that a lot.))

    Rachel Schaus editor in chief of "Notes from my Corner of Creation." :) :)

    1. No, I actually really love using short sentences! It's mainly grammar errors, or when the sentences don't flow that I have a hard time.

      And yes...I tend to go overboard when I peer-edit as well! *twins* But I try to balance everything out too!

      Glad you liked this post!

  2. Congrats, Rcubed! I nominated you for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award over at my blog. :)


    1. Thank you so much! I can't promise I'll get to it, but thanks again!

  3. You are welcome! I know, I have another one that I am trying to get to too. :)