Pang? That's weird. No, that's English. (Wouldn't you rather look smart?)

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You probably have heard the commercial running on TV now where two guys are eating fast food-

1st guy: "I woke up this morning with some serious hunger pains."
2nd guy: "Pains? You mean pangs?"
1st guy: "Pangs? That's weird."
2nd guy: "No, that's English."

Point being- if you speak English, you really need to lean how to speak English.

Yes, this post is about common mistakes. Not everybody even NOTICES these mistakes, I realize that. But they jump out at me. My Mother was an English teacher, I can't help it. Now, before you say "I don't care about English mistakes", you need to understand that there is a certain segment of the population, whether cursed by parentage like me or for some other reason, for whom these kinds of mistakes say "IGNORANCE". Wouldn't you really rather look SMART?

So hang in there- here we go:

There is location (there it is) or a kind of "state of being" (there will be cookies).
They're is short for they are (they're here).
Their is possessive, meaning it belongs to them, (their houses are for sale) Isn't every body's?

Your is possessive (your buyer is here) I can dream.
You're is short for you are (you're right about that).
Too is used as a degree of something (too much, too hard) or once in awhile as emphasis (I do, TOO).
To is location (I'm going to the house) or intention (I'm going to sell you a house).
Two is, of course, number (I have two buyers) I can WISH.
I am, too, going to sell you two houses. So there.

It's is short for it is (it's English).
Its is a possessive- something belongs to it (what is its address?)

Contractions for words like you're for you are and it's for it is, have an apostrophe (').
USUALLY possessives (that is Joe's house) also have an apostrophe with an "s". My husband is named Les, if a name ends in s, don't add another s, just a "'" (I'm Les' wife, not Les's wife).
Its- the possessive, is the exception, no apostrophe. I have no idea why.

When making a word plural (there's more than one of them) just add an "s"- NOT an apostrophe (I have 4 buyers) Sure I do.

Then there's another category of "wrong English" which involve common phrases, "hunger pains (pangs)" is an example. Here's some I've seen:
Spear of influence (it's SPHERE).
I'm doing that weather or not you want me to (it's whether).
I could care less (it's COULDN'T care less).
Witch one do you want? (it's which).
Tenants to live by (it's tenets).

It isn't hard to get these right. It's WAY easier than passing the RE test. You don't even have to LEARN them, just have a cheat sheet- a paper on your desk, a file on your computer, that you can check when you're writing.
You can also Google words. That's how I finally got it's/its right. I used the wrong one for years. I finally Googled the words together, and found several web sites that told me the right usage. If you aren't sure about a phrase, try Googling it and looking at some of the sites that come up.

Feel free to add to these. I know I use 12am and 12pm wrong, which one is noon, and which one is midnight? Can you enlighten me?


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Kathy Opatka
Serving Ocean City, MD, & The Delaware Beaches


And let's not forget..... hisself!!!! And have you ATE???....

But I must confess that I'm originally from Pittsburgh and we have a language of our own!  Gumbands, pop, jumbo, yin's ... just to name a few of our weird words!


Feb 14, 2009 07:54 AM #1
Margaret Goss
Baird & Warner Real Estate - Winnetka, IL
Chicago's North Shore & Winnetka Real Estate


I was an English major and am an avid reader and all that incorrect grammar stuff drives me crazy!  I actually read grammar books for fun ("Easts, Shoots & Leaves" and "Sister Bernadette's Barking Dog.")  Unfortunatley, they just don't teach grammar in schools and this is the result. 

My pet peeve?  Signs like "Bike's for rent."  Shouldn't everyone know how to make a simple plural?

Keep up the fight!

Feb 14, 2009 08:14 AM #2
Leslie Prest
Prest Realty - Payson, AZ

Kahy- HISSELF- you outdid yourself. Pittsburg language is (I'm sure) just fun. Payson has its own language, too.

Margaret- It drives me crazy, too. I used to teach Science, and my students thought it was SO unfair when I corrected their English on their Science papers.

Feb 14, 2009 08:46 AM #3
Shane OnullGorman
Eau Claire Realty, Inc. - Eau Claire, WI
Eau Claire Wisconsin, Real Estate Agent & Realtor- Buy or Sell

Its scary the number of blog posts you see like that... even featured ones!

Feb 14, 2009 08:50 AM #4
Diane Rice
Rice Prprty Mgmnt & Rlty, LLC, South Holland, IL - Lansing, IL

Leslie... how cum u only have jest unda 2000 points showing? An wha happun too yo udder pichure of yu and yo husbend? 

Feb 14, 2009 11:29 AM #5
Diane Rice
Rice Prprty Mgmnt & Rlty, LLC, South Holland, IL - Lansing, IL

ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh  gotcha - ok, i get it THIS one is your personal blog!  Whew!!  Thought for a minute someone had cloned you...  almost had to check to see if "i wuz who i is"

Feb 14, 2009 11:40 AM #6
Elizabeth Bolton
RE/MAX Destiny Real Estate Cambridge, MA - Cambridge, MA
Cambridge MA Realtor

Leslie - Thanks a million for posting this. There are plenty of people / readers who do care about this and make judgements so it is excellent advice (note: advice - not advise - one of personal pet peeves!). The misuse of the apostrophe sends me to the moon - it has become so common. My theory about why this might be so - at least in part - is that spell check will flag a plural that it doesn't recognize but the flag disappears if an apostrophe is added.  


Feb 14, 2009 11:48 AM #7
Susan Gonzalez Faux painting murals atlanta
Marietta Mural & Decorative Design - Atlanta, GA

Things are changing! Our language is being attacked from all corners. I saw this in a hospital parking lot and brought it to the administration's attention: "Drive Slow" AAAGHHHHH!!

Feb 15, 2009 05:26 AM #8
Leslie Prest
Prest Realty - Payson, AZ

Shane - It really is scary. I see these kinds of mistakes in newspapers, on TV.

Susan- Did they ask you what was wrong with "drive slow"?

Diane- I understood your comment! That's scary in itself! Yeah, this is now an individual blog. Since I lost the RSS feed from our office outside blog I decided to make the office one seriously for business and take the RSS from it, and start this one for fun.

Elizabeth- People DO make judgments based on language. It's part of the first impression.
You're right- advice/advise is so often misused, so is loose/lose.

Feb 15, 2009 07:30 AM #9
Paul S. Henderson, REALTORĀ®,CRS,
RE/MAX Professionals. - Tacoma, WA
Tacoma Washington Agent/Broker & Market Authority!

Leslie, So this your new post, I like it and wonder how you keep up your quality. I'm impressed!!!

Feb 20, 2009 02:41 PM #10
Leslie Prest
Prest Realty - Payson, AZ

Paul- I put up the individual blog so I can put an RSS feed of the busiess one on my web site w/o worrying about something too personal getting through. I'm going to make the business one for listings and Localism primarily.

Feb 21, 2009 05:58 AM #11
Maria Morton
Chartwell Kansas City Realty - Kansas City, MO
Kansas City Real Estate 816-560-3758

Thanks, Leslie. The it's/its is a problem with which I stuggle daily.

Feb 22, 2009 06:48 AM #12
Leslie Prest
Prest Realty - Payson, AZ

Maria- I STILL have to remind myself that it's the contraction which has the '.

Feb 23, 2009 05:07 AM #13
Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

I have seen a ton of people interchanging then and than lately on posts on AR.

Drives me nuts.


Feb 26, 2009 03:14 AM #14
Leslie Prest
Prest Realty - Payson, AZ

Tammy- I'm the same way. It jumps off the page at me.

Feb 26, 2009 04:17 AM #15
c m
Colorado Springs, CO

I know I'm late to the party, but may I jump in? I offer my pet peeve: I seen saw ...

Apr 17, 2009 08:00 PM #16
Leslie Prest
Prest Realty - Payson, AZ

Oh, Cheryl- that's a good one!

Apr 21, 2009 07:07 AM #17
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