I remember in sixth grade I would often ask my teacher for permission by asking "Can I …"
She would always reply "I do not know if you can but you may."
This always seemed to go right over my head. I know I must have had a puzzled look on my face because she always laughed afterwards when I starred at her.
Once, my mother (who was a teacher at the same school) was in the same room when this happened. She laughed too.
Except for the can vs. may puzzle, I really did very good in school when it came choosing the correct word, or form of a verb, and related things. Probably because I have always loved to read and read everything I could.
Spelling is a different story.
For some reason, I have never been done been very good at it. Perhaps I have been too lazy to learn the rules properly. Between my typing and spelling, it is a wonder I get anything legible on the Internet.
In fact, my spelling is so bad, I seem to have taught my voice recognition software to misspell also. This is something they say is impossible. I seem to have evidence to the contrary.
Anyway, where is all this leading?
Brian at Copyblogger had an excellent post about grammatical mistakes. One of the five he covered is it’s vs. its. This particular mistake is one that drives me crazy. No matter how hard I try, I can never remember which is which.
2. It’s vs. Its
This is another common mistake. It’s also easily avoided by thinking through what you’re trying to say.
“It’s” is a contraction of “it is” or “it has.” “Its” is a possessive pronoun, as in “this blog has lost its mojo.” Here’s an easy rule of thumb—repeat your sentence out loud using “it is” instead. If that sounds goofy, “its” is likely the correct choice.
I agree with him. You should take a look at his post.
The funny thing is, now that I am writing more and writing because I want to, I am having a harder time with these things than I did when I was in school.
Now, I have heard it stated, by those in marketing, that an occasional misspelling actually increases response in a marketing letter.
Now, even after I proofread (and run spellchecks) I usually still have too many misspellings even by that standard, so I already have that base covered.
Do grammatical mistakes work the same way? Does an occasional dangling participle really hurt conversion or can it help? Does it have any effect at all?
BTW, running a spellchecks on this post, I found I have misspelled misspell nearly every time. 🙂