(because somebody has to say it)
Nobody likes a know-it-all. Seriously. They're as annoying as a handful of burrs in your sock on a ten-mile hike, as aggravating as a persistent hemorrhoid.
But if you're even remotely as proud and confident as I am, when you come across someone who's apparently compelled to constantly correct you and others when you say something incorrectly or do something wrong, your initial reaction is likely to bitch-slap them backhanded, as mine is also, rather than a more appropriate reaction such as saying something like,
"Thank you for clarifying that, jackass."
We mean well. Really, we do. Or at least I do.
I can't speak for the rest of the jackasses.
When people use these words and grammar properly, it makes me and Holly Jolly happy.
Here is how we look when people get it right:
So let's have fun with it.
Ready... set... go!
your is a possessive adjective that refers to something that belongs to or relates to the person being addressed. It NEVER means "you are": Your pants are on fire.
you're is ALWAYS a contraction of "you are." There is never a case in which it functions as a possessive adjective, as "your" does: You're going to have to extinguish your pants, or you're going to become a flaming human torch.
If you switch and misuse these two words, Holly Jolly and I may send these two girls after you in the dead of night.
their is a plural possessive adjective, just as your is (usually) a singular possessive adjective, along with his, her, and its (we'll get to that last one shortly): Their house is on fire.
they're is ALWAYS a contraction of "they are". There is never a case in which it functions as anything else: They're going to have to extinguish their house fire, or else they're going to be living on the streets or in a motel like a bunch of crack whores.
there is an adverb (or sometimes a pronoun or interjection) used to indicate a place, either one that has already been mentioned or is understood, or one indicated by pointing or looking:
I'm not going over there, because their house is on fire.
A GRAMMAR NOTE: the singular noun or adjective always gets the plural verb, and the plural noun or adjective always gets the singular verb, i.e., in the case of the (oddly and inexplicably) plural "pants" above, your gets the verb are and their gets the verb is, for just two examples among many. However, if the usage of "your" is singular, such as "your burning house", then it gets the plural verb "is".
Here is Holly Jolly's non-stern, non-judgmental admonishing look she gives to people when they get these three words wrong:
its is always a possessive adjective, showing that something belongs to or relates to something. NEVER use a possessive apostrophe for this usage, as you would with "John's fiery pants" or "Jane's burning house," just two examples among many: Their house has lost its former charm ever since it burned down.
it's is always a contraction of "it is". It's never used as a possessive adjective. Not ever. Really: Their property is now a vacant lot because it's nothing but charred ruins now.
Please don't use "it's" as an improper contraction of "it has" or "it was", or else Holly will have to punish you accordingly. I have absolutely no idea how "it'd" EVER got accepted as a proper contraction of "it would" or "it had". So please don't ask me about that one.
Even the Cookie Monster sometimes gets bent out of shape when people use these two words wrong.
When I was a wee lad, there was no such word as supposably in the dictionaries. Even now, my spell checker here still puts that squiggly red line under it because it doesn't recognize it as a real word. Sometime since my youth (please don't ask how long that has been), the word gurus have added it... likely because so many people misused it in place of the correct "supposedly" that they finally threw their hands up in frustration and surrender, and reluctantly stuck it in there.
However, the correct and proper English usage was, is, and will likely always be "supposedly": They supposedly had no choice but to live on the streets like crack whores after their house burned down.
This is how I feel and react when I hear people mistakenly say "supposably":
definitely is an adverb that means certainly; finally and unchangeably. It has nothing to do with defiance: People who mix up these two words are definitely going to catch their pants on fire or get their houses burned down.
defiantly is an adverb that means aggressively challenging or deliberately disobedient. It has nothing to do with being certain or definite: Kerry and Holly Jolly defiantly posted this article to dissuade people from incorrectly using these words. Misusing these words definitely sets their heads on fire.
Holly Jolly (a veteran professional Therapy Dog) and I participate in two local library-sponsored R.E.A.D. programs (Reading Education Assistance Dogs) in which we go to the library and sit in the children's section, and kids come up to us, read to Holly, and learn how to properly approach unfamiliar dogs. We've noticed that even some preschool girls who read well beyond a 3rd or 4th grade level sometimes react like this when they see people misuse these two radically different words:
We're having fun with this, so let's add an important Bonus Tip! Misuse of these two really sets my pants on fire.
Regardless vs. Irregardless
irregardless is one of those non-word words that makes me grind the enamel off my molars and want to set my house on fire every time I hear it. Under "irregardless," my dictionary actually states "(nonstandard) see regardless".
Since regardless means "without regard to" and the prefix "irr" means "the absence of", "without", or "not" (as in irresponsible means not responsible), then irregardless is actually a double negative, meaning "without without regard to," or, because it's a double negative, "with regard to" or "regarding." That's messed up big time when you think about it, isn't it?
I'm convinced that irregardless was added to the dictionary by pompous sanctimonious arrogant professors, scholars, and academicians who mistakenly believe that saying "irregardless" makes them sound intellectually superior and like a know-it-all smartypants. They have no clue that when their students and understudies hear them say it that it makes them want to vomit and commit hara-kiri. And set their pants and house on fire.
Here's my word usage sentence for these two:
Regardless of the fact that hearing someone say irregardless makes my head explode, the next time I hear some pompous jackass say irregardless, I'm going to email them the link to this blog post and let their own smartypants catch fire.
Here is what hearing someone say "irregardless" transforms me into:
Holly and I hope you had fun with it, too!
For those of you who get these words wrong, no worries.
We still like you! A lot.*
(* Not "alot", which is not a word. "Allot" is, but its meaning is entirely different. We'll save that one for another post another day when we feel like setting something else ablaze.)
In fact, whether you get these words right or not, Holly is still a very happy girl, and I'm a happy guy. Holly even wants to play with you (and me) regardless of all our silly faults.
See? Who can resist this?
Feel free to share them in the Comments section below.
We're happy to hear from you, and add yours to our list!
Happy reading to you all, and as Holly's motto prescribes,
"Live your lives with wind-in-fur."