I have a reputation as a “grammar/spelling Nazi” and I guess I have to cop to that. It’s not that I never make a mistake, but I find myself reacting—I admit sometimes even emotionally—when I see “it’s” when it should be “its,” “your” when it should be “you’re,” “there” when it should be “their,” and so on.
I’ve posted quite a bit about this on Facebook, and that’s how I got my rep. But lately I’ve been posting less and less about these egregious infractions. Why? Because I’m convinced that it’s hopeless.
Because it’s contagious. That’s right. Contagious.
You literally “catch” the wrong way of writing something, simply because it’s floating around in the general mental atmosphere. I know this is true, because I’ve found myself writing “it’s” when it should be “its,” etc. more than a few times, to my horror. When this first started happening, I asked myself: Why would I do this, when I know it’s wrong, and I’m totally opposed to anyone doing it, much less myself?
The only answer I could come up with is that I “caught” it—it was simply floating in the air.
Have you had this experience? I bet at least some of you have. This is how language changes, how things that used to be considered errors are now correct and you can even find them in the dictionary!
So this is why I say it’s hopeless. Would you agree? Or do you think it’s worth trying to fight it?
Of course this doesn’t mean I’m going to start writing “it’s” when it should be “its” on purpose—God forbid!