Well, it has been two years since the last New Year Resolution Post. And we are probably still trying to lose weight, get to the gym more often, be a better parent or friend or spouse, stop smoking, write that book, start that new business, and on and on. Well, here are some grammar resolutions for 2016 — and no, they aren’t the same ones as two years ago!
1. I resolve never to correct anyone’s grammar—except in a published book or on TV or radio where the speaker is getting paid money to talk! Don’t correct your friends — even on Facebook — unless they specifically ask.
2. I resolve to form an opinion about the Oxford comma and to feel no guilt whether I want to use it or not. But please, be consistent in your use within the same piece of writing. Either use it or don’t — unless something would be unclear without it — or with it.
3. I resolve to not even think about separating two sentences with a comma unless there is a conjunction (like and, but, or so) present. A comma alone cannot separate two complete sentences. Try a semicolon or a period.
4. I resolve to learn the forms of the darn verb “to lie”: to realize that it is so confusing because lay is the past tense of lie, in addition to being it own present tense verb — and that lain really is a word.
5. I resolve to never use its’, because someone made it up. With all the confusion between its and it’s, the last thing we need is a third option! By the way, please also avoid on accident. It is by accident — but on purpose. And while we are at it, it’s not a whole nother story; it’s a whole other story. Or another whole story.
6. I resolve to pronounce the word mischievous correctly. The accent is on the first syllable (mis), and the last syllable is pronounced vus, not vius.
7. I resolve to learn how to spell out BBQ, and to realize that there is no Q in it at all (barbecue). And there is no ham in hamburger. . .
8. I resolve to eliminate or limit my use of a lot — and to always use it as two separate words.
9. I resolve not to put an s on toward (British use towards; American English uses toward, although no big deal). Also it is in regard to, not in regards to. And there is no such word as anyways — it is anyway.
10. I resolve to understand that good grammar improves my communication skills and the image I project to others. However, it isn’t everything. And if I can’t figure something out, there is always a good grammar book around –speaking of which . . .
If you have purchased one or more of my books this past year, thank you so much! And I always appreciate a review on Amazon or elsewhere. And I do plan more books for 2016!