This page is directed at speakers of English as their native language. While the contents may be of interest to non-native speakers, its full import generally will not apply.

Whatever happened to the precise and proper use of the English language? Granted, it's not the most specific, or easy to learn, language in the world, but its common use in virtually every country on the face of the Earth today suggests that it's perhaps the closest thing humanity has to a "universal tongue."

Why then, have its practitioners allowed it to become such a scattered collection of malapropisms? For example, in the previous sentence, and in the preceding paragraph, the word "IT" appeared five times in various forms, each used in the proper context. We shall use this example as a starting point for our exposition, which is a focus on the misuse of English on the Internet.

"ITS" or "IT'S" -- When and why

The confusion regarding the use of the possessive-form-versus-contraction results in one of the most oft-witnessed gaffes on the Internet today. While the common possessive adds an apostrophe to the noun to denote possession, this is NEVER done with the article "it," which is a modifier and not a noun.

"IT'S," on the other hand, is a contraction denoting the shortened form of "it is" or "it has." These forms are ALWAYS written with an apostrophe.

"LOOSE" or "LOSE?" -- Who wins?

Is the letter "O" underappreciated? Underused? Why does this extraneous vowel make its appearance so frequently in the antonym (the opposite of) "win. "


While this might sound like a sympathetic reassurance, the prevalence of this mixup can only be ascribed to laziness. How else could one mistake a the possessive form of the pronoun "they" (their) for an adverb describing "that place" (there), or a contracted form of "THEY ARE?"


One can only assume that people spell this word phonetically; pronouncing the word def-in-AT-lee rather than def-in-IT-lee. Or else can someone explain this faux pas to me?

"TOO." -- It's "TO" much!

Can you believe people still make this mistake? The word "too" is a part-of-speech meaning "also" or denoting an excess (too many, too much). The word "to" has multiple meanings, none of which includes the above.

"YOUR" and "YOU'RE"

If your reading this, then you're sense of correctness and propriety is taking a beating. Does this bother you?

Blips, Bleeps, Bloops, and Maroons

Some people are just plain lazy.

HAVE YOU EVER TRIED TO READ A MESSAGE THAT SEEMED TO BE SHOUTING AT YOU??? how about. one where the author make no. attempt at capitalization punctuation syntax orevenproperspacing? For such messages, some think the best corrective measure is the use of the ext message key...

This page was created on March 23, 1996
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