I've been kicking this idea around for a long time. Spring is the time when football players look at the themselves in the mirror, and say "Damn. Time to get back into shape." On the same note, as posters, we should be using this time to get into shape for the season as well. Do you want to be the best SBNation fansite on the web? Do you want to be champions? Well, we don't need to have a strength and conditioning program to do that. We need to work together to be the most educated, knowledgeable, and dedicated site, and we can't do any of that without having a strong grasp of the fundamentals--Marinelli be damned, it's still true.
For those of you who could use a little work on your grammar, don't take it personally. Nobody's perfect, myself included. It's not about you. If you want to make your posts more effective and organize your thoughts better, with a little practice you'll have it in no time. I'm not being arrogant. I'm not looking down my nose at anybody. I know nobody likes the guy who corrects grammar, or having their grammar corrected. But when I see grammatical mistakes being made in posts, they lose credibility to me. Instantly I see the grammatical error instead of the post itself. If you just haven't looked this stuff up in a while and got sloppy, or if you're drunk/stoned, that's one thing. But for those of you who do it on purpose to seem cool and edgy? It's neither cool nor edgy to be ignorant. And it never will be.
So let's "hit the weights" and go over the most common mistakes!
There vs. Their vs. They're
I. There denotes a location, an area in space/time other than here. When using there in a sentence, ask yourself this question: "Is this a place in space-time that is not here?" Examples:
A. The receiver was right here. Stafford threw the ball over there. It hit Rex Ryan in the balls. Correct.
B. Carolina? There terrible. Incorrect.
C. Man, Lambeau Field in January...I wouldn't want to play there. Correct.
D. Man, Chicago's turf sucks. There grounds-keeper must be a drunken Pollack. Incorrect.
E. If you correct my grammar one more time, there will be a problem. Correct.
II. Their or theirs are possessive, in the same family as his, hers, yours, its, and ours. You use it to show a group has ownership of something, but it's also acceptable to use when it isn't as desirable to use his or hers in a sentence, usually in the case of speaking generalities. For example:
A. A person must take responsibility for their actions. Correct. (You could use his or her, but I don't like it as much. Personal preference.)
B. The receiver was right here. Stafford threw the ball over their. Incorrect.
C. "Is this football yours?" "No," he said, pointing to a group of people. "It's theirs." or "No, it's their football." Correct.
D. I hate the Vikings. Their the most annoying team ever. Incorrect.
III. They're is a contraction. It's equivalent to "they are," so only use it when "they are" doing something--with a verb, or "they are" being described as something--with an adjective. Easy enough?
A. I hate the Bears. They're stupid. Yes. That's using it with an adjective.
B. NFL Network hired Matt Millen as one of they're commentators? DOUBLE NOOOOO!!!
C. I've got faith in the Lions. They're going to have a good season. Correct. That's using it with a verb.
D. "Is this football yours?" "No," he said, pointing to a group of people. "It's they're football." Incorrect.
Our vs. Are
Are is a verb, as in "to be," "he is," "they are."
Our is the possessive of we.
A. We love our team. Correct.
B We love are Lions. Incorrect.
C. We are going to have a top ten defense this year and win our division. Correct (also wishful thinking).
Know vs. No
No is used when you don't mean Yes. Know is when you're aware of something, have knowledge of it, or have it committed to memory. Do you know what I mean? No, I don't know what you mean. Do you know where I could get some good weed? No, I quit smoking, but plenty of people on this site could help you out with that.
It's vs. Its
It's is a contraction of "it is." So when you use it's, only use it when "it is" makes sense.
Its is the possessive of it, no apostrophe required.
A. It's going to rain on game day. Hope we get our running game on track. Correct.
B. This scoreboard is busted. Its circuitry blew up after the Lions ran up the score. Correct.
C. The Lions have a Monday night game? Its time to check the temperature in Hell. Incorrect.
D. The link for the online game-cast is down? What's it's problem? Incorrect.
Tell you what, that's enough for today. I want to reiterate that I don't mean to ruffle any feathers. If it doesn't apply, let it fly. If it does, it just takes a couple of easy fixes. Anyone who is a fellow grammar stickler, feel free to mention any pet peeves that I neglected.
P.S.: There are books that put this much better than I can, and you really only need to buy one: The Elements of Style, by E.B. White and William Strunk. It's the Bible of grammar. However, the most digestible book on grammar I know is Eats, Shoots and Leaves, by Lynne Truss. You can find both of them in used condition for $.01.