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Monday, April 22, 2024

Cap and Gown List

I’ve always been jealous of those who rant. It may seem a strange thing to envy, but people who get passionate about a topic and then get annoyed, angry, and just lay into someone seem so emotionally free. Granted, they may also be criminally unbalanced, but that’s a topic for another day. There’ve been times in my life I wish I had yelled or screamed; sometimes I wish I could be a royal bitch who just calls it like I see it. Alas, that’s not me. But as I began to work on this week’s column, I was determined that I too could be an effective ranter.

No one says my rant has to be aimed at someone who wronged me, or a situation out of my control. I can still rant about something that bothers me…besides, this list is all about doing things I’ve never done.

Prepare yourself for something you have probably never seen, read or imagined: A rant about poor grammar! Please indulge as I geek out and rail against punctuation errors, poor diction, and all things written that are just grammatically wrong.

Here we go!

There is a difference between they’re as inthey’re fabulous“; their as intheir fabulous friends are here“; and there as inthere are my fabulous friends. One is a pronoun, one a contraction and one an adverb. Those are different parts of speech and deserve to be treated as such.

There’s more.

Your: adjective meaning of or relating to you or yourself. Your jeans zipper is down.

You’re: contraction meaning you are. You’re going to be embarrassed when you discover your unfortunate zipper situation.

Accept: verb meaning to receive or to give admittance or approval to. I accept that not everyone loves the semicolon.

Except: preposition meaning with the exclusion or exception of. I before e, except after c.

By now you’re probably convinced I’m either a monumentally frustrated English teacher masquerading as an Aggie columnist, or the geekiest coed on campus. Either way, I’m sure this column won’t induce you to invite me to your next party.

But I digress.

I sat in a midterm the other day, prepared to kick its multiple choice butt. Imagine my displeasure to find what stood between a perfect grade and me was not my lack of preparation, but rather the wording of some of the questions.

One subject IS and two ARE, parallelism is heavenly and spelling does count when all the students should be focusing on is eliminating a,b,c or d rather than trying to ascertain which word the professor meant to type. It’s impossible to divine the answer when you can’t decipher the meaning of the question!

Don’t stop me; I’m on a roll! If I see one more person’s Facebook status that demonstrates a total lack of understanding of the difference between your and you’re, they better watch their grammar-hating behinds. Seriously people…they’re entirely different words.

The apostrophe can be your best friend, but change a few letters around and it becomes catastrophe. When something is possessive, add an apostrophe before thes.Ex: Dude, did you read Emily’s column today? Nerd alert!

You can also use an apostrophe to replace theIin is. Ex: Yeah playa, but Emily’s a cool girl if you get past the grammar obsession.

I’m pleading with you (students, faculty, friends, enemies and strangers): Elements of Style by Strunk and White is online. Look it up.

I’m begging you!


EMILY KAPLAN joined the Apostrophe Protection Society her step-mom found online. If you still want to be friends, e-mail her at eckaplan@ucdavis.edu.


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