Grammar: The difference between knowing your shit and knowing you're shit.
I've noticed the aforementioned phrase doing the rounds on Facebook. This probably makes it old news to everyone else.
However, I like it.
It's got that ring of truth.
Now's the time I confess to a soft spot for apostrophes. I like to think I know them pretty well. We go back a long way. I hate to see them get hurt.
But they are increasingly bullied, belted and bashed into places they shouldn't go.
So please, help me stop apostrophe abuse.
It won't be easy. I know teachers who can't distinguish between an apostrophe and an apocalypse.
If teachers were never taught grammar, how can they impart knowledge they were never given?
I was lucky. I went to school in the days when English was taught properly. I remember banging heads with an old-school teacher over the difference between "it's" and "its" after he docked me a mark on an assignment. I was wrong. But the lesson stuck.
I'm dreading the day my daughter starts school. Not because I'll feel like she's grown up but because I know I'll be correcting her teachers' remarks.
Without an intervention on a grand scale, our children will never learn.
The good news is apostrophes aren't that challenging.
I reckon with one concerted campaign, we could educate everyone who's not sure where to use them.
2012 is the National Year of Reading.
What a fantastic concept. Encourage kids to pick up a book instead of a game console. And helping illiterate adults master our fantastic written language.
Perhaps next year we could continue the theme.
National Year of Writing 2013.
We could even have a ribbon. Well, half a ribbon. In the shape of an apostrophe. Black of course.
A good writer uses words the same way a sculptor uses clay. He bends and shapes them to his will to create a work of art that evokes emotion.
There are few things as satisfying as reading a powerfully written sentence. They can make you laugh out loud. Or cry. Or feel love, or hate, or fear.
One of my favourite communicators, Stephen Fry, argues that language shouldn't be confined to a straight jacket. My words, not his. He's far more eloquent. He suggests words can be best used when they're used incorrectly. Unexpectedly.
And Mr Fry would most likely view this rant as the work of a pedant and a semi-educated loser.
Well, I didn't finish Uni. So he has a point.
But I do "bubble and froth and slobber and cream with joy at language". Again, his words.
I have previously argued that the only languages which aren't evolving are those of doomed civilizations.
And I sometimes start sentences with 'and' and 'but'.
But an errant apostrophe can change the intent of a sentence.
Remember, it's the difference between knowing your shit and knowing you're shit.
Follow Michael on Twitter @michaelcoombeswww.therundown.com.au
Do you find it offensive for women to breastfeed in public?Vote
Copyright © 2013 Yahoo!7
All rights reserved.
Select your state to see news for your area.