Social media has created a space that allows us to feature ideal content and give strangers a first impression. In our offline lives, we may be well-spoken and attentive to detail, but a minor grammar mistake in online writing can reflect our intelligence during harsh judgements.
Nobody is perfect, but if you find yourself questioning grammar when writing a caption, LOOK IT UP! It takes two seconds to google “APART vs A PART” and learn how to use the correct form. People won’t ridicule you for double checking your writing, but they’ll be the first to point out your mistakes.
Here are a few common lessons I’d like to share with my friends:
- A Part vs. Apart: “A Part” is a phrase talking about one piece. When you are A PART of a team, you are one part. “Apart” is an adverb for when you break something APART, separating the pieces. They have opposing uses.
- When to use ADVERBS: When an adjective is used to describe a verb… you’ll usually add “LY” to the end of that adjective. I want something very BADLY (not bad). I QUICKLY answered the question. In some odd cases (ex. goodly isn’t a word) you’d say you’re doing WELL.
- There vs. Their vs. They’re: Look over THERE (distance)! THEY’RE (they are) sitting by a tree with THEIR (possessive) picnic basket!
- Every day vs. Everyday: “Every day” is referring to all days, as in each day. I work EVERY DAY. “Everyday” is a term to describe something consistent, as in an EVERYDAY routine.
- Commas: Often misused in social media, commas have 5 general rules. Use a comma after an introductory clause, before and after parenthetical phrases, to separate independent clauses linked by a coordinating conjunction, to separate items in a series, and before a quotation. See examples and learn more here.
- Should have vs. Should of: You should HAVE (past tense) already known that should OF is always incorrect. Should have = should’ve. Should OF doesn’t work by definition, the mistake occurs for those who are writing based off of pronunciation.
- Further vs. Farther: Further in time, farther in physical distance… I look this one up every time because I’m never sure!
- Lastly, the easiest way to get trolled on the internet: YOUR vs. YOU’RE. “Your” is possessive, “you’re” is short for you are. If YOU’RE unsure, please use YOUR brain and check Google!
A friend of mine, Jen, has also recommended using NoRedInk to check grammar– she suggests her students use this as necessary!
Sometimes there are multiple right answers, sometimes slang is intended, and sometimes there are parts of speech that everyone is a little unsure about. I don’t know it all and I am not trying to establish myself as superior with this blog post. I simply want to encourage that social media is treated more like a resume– featuring the best parts of you with minimal mistakes.