Help me learn this!

I feel so stupid and I know Laura and Phyllis for sure can help. I hope Phyllis comes here today. I need  grammar help and I went here and now feel stupider and dumber than ever!

I know the to, too and twos finally and the their, there and they’re. I know that aren’t, weren’t, didn’t or any word with *apostrophe t* at the end pretty much means *are not* (aren’t), *were not* (weren’t)and *did not* (didn’t). It’s easy to know if you say it. Say the word and if you’re not sure add the *not* and see if it sounds right. Pretty sure you know that *Your car* and “you’re car” don’t sound out the same. Your not sure or you’re not sure? It’s easy once you think about it. School was many many moons ago.

But now I want to know when you add the ‘s and when you change the y to ie and when you just add an s and when you add the apostrophe. For example: when do you use babies or baby’s? Mom’s or Moms? Cars or Car’s?

When I try to read about it I get very confused with the “positive this” and the terms that I have no idea what they mean. “Singular compound noun”?! What the heck is that?

Can anyone tell me this like you’re talking to a first grader?

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35 Responses to Help me learn this!

  1. mssc54 says:

    Okay, I am go in two rite this very slow lee bee cause eye no ew can not read very fast.

  2. Jason says:

    Yea this is a big one for me. It might be rude but I try to point out words that are misspelled at work, because everything that is put up for the public to read represents all of the employees.

  3. Sue says:

    Our language is so confusing! Too many rules! Apostrophes act as a contraction for the word, but don’t they also show possession? So, cars, without apostrophe, would be the plural form, but if you say the car’s radio, you’re talking about the radio that belongs to the car. So, the apostrophe shows possession. Right?! That is a hard one to remember!!! LOL! But, if you said Dad’s going to the rodeo, you’re really saying Dad IS going to the rodeo. Aaaahh! I don’t know!

  4. Dina says:

    I am happy to see this post. Ask Laura, improper use of the ‘s recently replaced throwing cigarette butts out the moving car window as my #1 pet peeve (seriously, my earth is not your freaking ashtray.) You would not imagine how rampant this is in the corporate world (using ‘s incorrectly – not throwing cig butts out an office window.) It is embarassing.
    Simply, apostrophe s (‘s) is used to mark a missing letter(s) as in it’s (it is). Apostophe s can also be used to show possession – the cat’s meow.
    If the noun is already plural – cats – the apostrophe follows the s – cats’ toys.
    It is not generally accepted to show plurals – I bought a bag of apples (not apple’s) at the store.

    Hope this helps!

    Next week – e.g. versus i.e. 🙂

  5. Laura says:

    Generally, ‘s means you own it. So up above, where you categorized the recipes? You haven’t pluraled (multipled) “salads”, you’ve made it possessive. As in, “the salads own the and such”. Which doesn’t make sense. It should be “salads and such”. Plural – just add “s”, in general.

    Most of the time, you drop the Y and add ies, when you’re pluralling (pluraling?)… multiplying… a “y” word… IF the y has a consonant before it: babies, ponies, families. You just add “s” when it’s a vowel+y: toys, plays, etc.

    As Sue said, you only use the apostrophe when you want to show possession. And it can get complicated when you want to show multiple possession, because you can use both the ie AND the apostrophe… as in: families’, babies’. The families’ vacation involved the Ericksons and the Smiths. The babies’ blankets got dirty.


    Any others?

    • Joy says:

      Somewhere in the middle of this I heard the teacher from Charlie Brown.

    • Phyllis says:

      Sorry…. I got to the party late once again! But Laura’s explanation is the best one I’ve seen. Sadly, I really can’t explain these things very well because it’s one of those things that just comes naturally to me. I really believe that the school systems don’t focus on these as much as they did when I was growing up. I see A LOT of mistakes when I read articles written by people younger than myself (which, at this point, is most of the world, LOL!) What really bugs me is when announcers or newspeople SLAUGHTER the language in their speech! Most annoying!

  6. Laura says:

    Oh, another one is the I and Me dilemma. When to use “I”, and when to use “me”.

    She and I went to the store. …. The dog smiled at Josh and me.

    The easy way to do this one is to drop the other person out of the sentence. If it still makes sense (I went to the store; the dog smiled at me), you’ve done it correctly.

  7. Laura says:

    Oh, and this is a FAR more entertaining set of explanations than that other link…

  8. SKL says:

    Rule # 1: Never use an apostrophe to make a word plural. (On another website, a commenter’s signature says: “A kitten dies every time someone uses an apostrophe to pluralize.”)

    Rule #2: Possession can be shown using an apostrophe. Mary’s husband; the Smiths’ baby. Exception: when you are using a pronoun. His, hers, theirs, its. No apostrophe.

    Rule #3: Contractions are the only other use for an apostrophe. You are “contracting” a long word into a shorter one. The missing letters are replaced with an apostrophe.

    Rule #4: Grammar is not cosmetic. Never use an apostrophe just to make a word seem more reader-friendly. (Like, “I got all A’s.” No, it’s all As.)

  9. Nikki says:

    I needed this lesson, also! You’re not alone here, Joy. 🙂 Thanks everyone.

  10. Laura says:

    Another lesson: “too” generally means “also”

    “I am going too the store,” is incorrect. “I am going to the store, too,” IS correct.

    and “I am going two the store” gets you incarcerated in grammar jail.

  11. avomnia says:

    I was going to chime in but it looks like it’s been pretty well covered. BTW, that “it’s”—a contraction of “it has”. Just in case you were beginning to think clearly. Bwhahahahahahahaha!

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