Story Thread
Diary of An English Major: Ch. 1 Cleaning Up Texting

By Shannon Hanrahan  •  April 02, 2015

This article belongs to a 2 part series.

  1. Diary of An English Major: Ch. 1 Cleaning Up Texting
  2. Diary of An English Major: Ch. 2 Returning to Handwritten Letters


In a world of lolz, tbhs, and obvis galore, it is a surprise that anyone knows what anybody else is saying these days. I know I sound like your grandma, but so many people have become lazy with their grammar skills, most likely due to having auto-correct and spell check at their beck and call. Even I am guilty sometimes of ignoring the rules that I am so quick to call others out for breaking. Well, for the love of the oxford comma, I am going to get you on my level of grammar nerd status with these tips, tools, and healthy challenges.

Tips to Never Forget

Writing is such an essential part of our lives, and we have seemingly lost touch with its art. I am talking about handwritten letters, songs that have real words, and novels that leave you a little smarter in the end. I can’t tell you how many times I am editing things as I go about my day. Don’t even get me started on people’s texting. It is distracting to say the least being hyperaware of grammatical errors, but something I still value. So although I can’t change what the rest of the world deems cool or viral, I can change, or at least help, your writing. Falling victim to the most common grammar mistakes leaves you open to ridicule and frankly just not looking as intelligent as you are. There are so many to choose from, but here are a few of my favorite offenders to re-memorize and never forget again: 

  1. Your and You’re: Please learn this one. Your is possessive, e.g. “Your dog is cute”. Whereas you’re is a contraction of you and are, e.g. “You’re getting a dog”. If you aren’t sure which to use, replace you’re with you are and see if that makes sense in the sentence. If not, then you are probably looking for the possessive “your”.
  2. To and Too: To is a versatile preposition but is typically defined as “toward something” or “until something”, e.g. “I am going to the mall”. On the other hand, too is an adverb meaning "very" or "additionally", e.g. “I am buying dresses too”.
  3. There, Their, and They’re: There are 3 choices, so the odds are more difficult than the others if you are going about the guessing game for your grammar. There is defined as “in, at, or a specific place”, e.g. “We will eat when we get there”. Their is possessive, e.g. “Their place is very cute”. Lastly, they’re is the contraction of they and are, e.g. “They’re going to Australia”. When you are deciding between the 3, just stop and ask yourself some questions to find the correct word.
  4. Its and It’s: This one is just like your vs. you’re. One is possessive whereas the other is a contraction. Its is used when you are using it as a possessive, you use the version its, e.g. “Its collar is pink”. On the other hand, it’s is used a contraction for it and is, e.g. “It’s going to be hot today”. Testing “it is” in a sentence where you are unsure will help with choosing one over the other.

I like to think that I lack an appropriate amount of class, so I try to only call out my close friends and family on their grammar fallacies. Unfortunately, the aforementioned mistakes are often too much for me to bear. In the grand scheme of grammar, these are the easy ones to memorize; all it takes is a little practice and attention to detail. Taking a second to think about the words you need to use will save you from awkward shout-outs for poor grammar usage.

Tools for Grammar Greatness

You may be asking yourself how I am going to fix all of your writing woes all the way from Santa Monica. Well, to be honest, I’m not really going to, but can. They are like your very own editor, assisting you whenever you decide to leave your writing footprint. Aside from just being a grammar checker, they also offer a plagiarism checker that will not only check for copying, but also help you with your citations. Who actually remembers the exact formula to generate those anymore?

With both a free and paid version, Grammarly lets you decide how much help you actually need. If you need a little extra attention, the paid version gives your work a more in-depth review and provides you with more explanations as to what is wrong and why said mistakes need to be fixed, teaching you in the process. If you really want to nail down the whole grammar thing, you can add the Grammarly extension to your browser and it will check your posts, tweets, tumbles, and more. To top it off, we have promo codes to make their services even more affordable.

Challenge Yourself

Good writing takes concentration and effort, especially if you aren’t keen on all of the grammar rules in the handbook. So I am challenging you to spend one week, just one week, writing every text you send out using perfect grammar, i.e. correct punctuation, spelling, usage, and so on. Since we spend so much of our time texting, those poor habits often reappear in our professional work, which is not a place for slang or poor communication. You are only just beginning your transition into a grammar nerd, so use the resources available to you. Before you know it, people will be coming to you asking you to grammar check their work. Maybe you will share your secrets or decide to keep them to yourself. Only time will tell.

Evaluating your grammar skills of the past, the present, and the future may be tense, but I am only just getting started helping you. These tools and tips will get you on the right path, and soon you too will be able to peruse the Internet laughing at grammar jokes that nobody else around you understands.

xo Shannon


In this Story Thread: Diary of An English Major: Ch. 1 Cleaning Up Texting

  1. Diary of An English Major: Ch. 1 Cleaning Up Texting
  2. Diary of An English Major: Ch. 2 Returning to Handwritten Letters

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Shannon Hanrahan Shannon Hanrahan Shannon is a LA transplant from Philadelphia and a social media junkie. When she is not Pinteresting or Instagraming away, she enjoys eating dessert first, traveling to new places, and being a self-proclaimed DIY expert (aka HGTV addict).


Steve Sutanto,  April 27, 2015

Good article, Shannon.

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