Mighty Red Pen

April 10, 2009

Be afraid, be very afraid

Filed under: Apostrophe catastrophe,Grammar goddess,Perilous punctuation — mighty red pen @ 6:08 pm
Tags: ,

I don’t know what you’re afraid of . . .


But I’ll tell you what MRP is afraid of: someone who uses your when they mean you’re.

Spotted on Protagonize.com.



  1. This someone has not only problems with possessive adjective vs. pronoun plus auxiliary verb,
    he also uses “won’t” twice, where the first one should read “know”. Hmm. Maybe his friends are leaving him because he doesn’t know how to express himself … 😉

    Comment by rip — April 10, 2009 @ 7:28 pm | Reply

  2. To be more precise: There are even three instances of “won’t” in No. 5, but I was referring to the sentence in brackets.

    Comment by rip — April 10, 2009 @ 7:30 pm | Reply

  3. I concur.

    Exhibit A:


    -nick / protagonize

    Comment by nick — April 10, 2009 @ 10:01 pm | Reply

  4. Hmm. Maybe I, unlike some people, don’t care about grammar. Maybe I just like to write and express myself in MY own way, and since Protagonize is a writing site to EXPRESS yourself, people there and people elsewhere shouldn’t criticize me for expressing myself the way I want to.

    Comment by Bre — April 11, 2009 @ 2:13 pm | Reply

  5. @Rip–What you said.

    @Nick–I agree, it’s frustrating when writers don’t seem to think it’s important to know the rules of grammar, spelling, and punctuation.

    Comment by mighty red pen — April 12, 2009 @ 3:23 pm | Reply

  6. @Bre–How curious, a writer that doesn’t CARE about grammar. Well, here at MRP, we are writers (and other word nerds) who DO care about grammar (and punctuation, spelling, and other matters related to language), we care very deeply. In fact, these things are fundamental to clear expression, and they prevent readers from being distracted by basic misspellings or misuse of punctuation. This is, after all, a public forum, and not a diary.

    Comment by mighty red pen — April 12, 2009 @ 3:23 pm | Reply

  7. As much as I hate standardized spelling, I confess it helps prevent confusion. Correct grammar prevents misunderstandings and helps ensure that when we express ourselves we do so in a way that is accessible to others.

    Expressing yourself is important. Expressing yourself to others clearly is a skill worth developing and one that will serve you well in life.

    Of course, not every writer intends to communicate with others, I suppose. If you write for purely masturbatory reasons, then, by all means, use whatever conventions strike your fancy.

    Comment by David — April 13, 2009 @ 12:54 pm | Reply

  8. […] other day, a visitor to MRP commented that she did not care about grammar and spelling, and that she should be allowed to express herself […]

    Pingback by No, you can’t has cheezburger « Mighty Red Pen — April 15, 2009 @ 5:09 pm | Reply

  9. Fine. I’m a horrible writer, since I don’t care about grammer. I’m a horrible writer because I forget sometimes grammar (and punctuation, spelling, and other matters related to language). I’m a horrible writer over-all. Fine. I never wrote for anyone else except me, and I never intended to put it on the internet where people can poke at it and prod at it for fun.. but my friends said, ‘Hey, Bre, your a good writer, let others see it.’ Pfft. Apparently they are liars, aren’t they?

    Anyway, thanks for pointing out my mistake.

    Comment by Bre — April 21, 2009 @ 5:44 pm | Reply

  10. Bre, don’t be discouraged about YOUR writing just because we care about grammar and spelling here! If it doesn’t bother you, then carry on. No one is saying you’re a horrible writer — we’re just saying that it’s important for writers to care about things like grammar (and spelling and other matters related to language) because when done poorly, they can get in the way of what a writer is trying to express.

    However, re: that difference between “your” and “you’re” which prompted my original post in the first place, I’m sorry to have to point out this is a mistake you just made again in your comment.

    Comment by mighty red pen — April 21, 2009 @ 6:09 pm | Reply

  11. ****You are..**** happy?

    Comment by Bre — April 21, 2009 @ 6:19 pm | Reply

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