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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Monday, April 15

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Naz / November 17, 2004 10:25 AM

Always with the "it's" and "its".

Michael / November 17, 2004 10:25 AM

Actually...I'm a stickler for grammar, so no. But one of my biggest pet peeves is when people substitute "your" for "you're".

amyc / November 17, 2004 10:30 AM

I grew up in Michigan, but I've lived in Chicago for 10 years. Now whenever I type "Michigan" without concentrating really hard, it invariably comes out Michicagn. Stupid muscle memory!

Ruthie / November 17, 2004 10:33 AM

Rediculous. Anyways, I don't make mistakes.

Brenda / November 17, 2004 10:35 AM

My home phone number ends in 1602, and my work street address is 1603... so I always type my work address wrong. And I have to think twice about my phone number, because I actually have two lines, and the second one is 1603.

Andrew / November 17, 2004 10:48 AM

Amy: Funny, I do the same thing.

I recently picked up the Associated Press Guide to Punctuation (surprisingly good read) and discovered I've been following my own twist on their standard for quote marks. That was a bit disturbing.

Thurston / November 17, 2004 11:00 AM

Whereas most do not use "whom" enough, I think I may use it too much. A knock at the door: "Whom is it?"

A grammatical pet peeve of mine is when sentences are ended with "at", as in "Where is it at?"
In that example, "at" is useless. "Where is it?" will suffice.

Pete / November 17, 2004 11:33 AM

For some reason, I never spell "separate" correctly without first giving it a great deal of thought.

The confounding thing is that the first person to point out my erroneous spelling of the word was an old boss of mine, a guy who never struck me as being particularly literate. Now, every time I spell the word I think of his scowling face. Ugh.

steven / November 17, 2004 11:33 AM

lvoe = love

teh = the

wokr = work

i've just recently figured out when to use "its" and "it's". a small miracle.

mel / November 17, 2004 11:36 AM

Being a spelling and vocab nerd, I was deeply dismayed to learn that 'dilemna' is actually supposed to be 'dilemma.'

Apparently I have been spelling it wrong almost my whole life. Ack.

Anthony / November 17, 2004 11:37 AM

recieve (did I get it right?). I always get the vowels mixed up.

'than' and 'then'

Andrew / November 17, 2004 11:42 AM

Anthony: No. "I before E except after C."

Yo / November 17, 2004 11:42 AM

i snot= is not

Ramsin / November 17, 2004 11:43 AM

hte. God I hate hte.

Kevin / November 17, 2004 11:43 AM

Please give me teh Plam Pilot.

Mike / November 17, 2004 11:44 AM

I write so much that by this point, my grammar should be flawless. But it's getting worse by the day. The right side of my brain seems to move a million miles an hour while the left side just teeters along. It's like an Olympic athlete getting stuck with the toddler in the three-legged race.

"Me fail english? That's unpossible." -Ralph Wiggum

Michael / November 17, 2004 11:44 AM

'I' before 'e', except after 'c'.

Katt / November 17, 2004 12:01 PM

I often type "Chicaho" instead of "Chicago."

When I'm really tired, sometimes I'll make phonetic misspellings, rather than typos. This morning I spelled "body" as "botty."

waleeta / November 17, 2004 12:23 PM

There are two things I do that drive me insane:

1. I spell my name "wa;eeta", missing the "L",
2. I cannot, for the life of me, ever remember how to spell the word "weird". Or is it "wierd"? As I type this I still don't know which of those two is correct. And don't bother trying to teach me either - my brain does not allow me to learn this word.

Joe / November 17, 2004 12:23 PM

Your: Possesive
"Your manners are common usually only to babboons."

You're: Contraction of "You are"
"You're a total incontinent moron."

Yor: Hunter from the Future
"Yor say, 'Eat meat of enemies, it make you strong!'"

Leo / November 17, 2004 12:25 PM

"To" instead of "too." It's frustrating when you know the rules but you catch yourself breaking them in a flurry of hasty typing.

js / November 17, 2004 12:26 PM

Teh instead of the and alwasy instead of always are the big ones for me.

Leo / November 17, 2004 12:26 PM

Oh, and my own last name used to give me trouble. My fingers wanted it to be "Morlaes."

robin.. / November 17, 2004 12:44 PM

i think a lot of the mistakes we're bringing up here can be attributed to what i've termed "technology-induced dyslexia," marked by the transposition of letters in short words frequently typed (hte, teh, waht, and so forth). the auto-correct function in word only makes this worse, as muscles that slip up and type "hte" or "teh" are not corrected by returning to the miskeyed word and fixing it: the computer corrects before the user can. i've noticed in my own writing that the laziness fostered by technology has carried over to my longhand: sometimes, when i think i'm writing "the" i'll actually write "teh." spooky.

other than that, i am a grammar goddess. i am in a grammar book club. i proofread for fun and for free. i correct signs with a sharpie. i hold bad grammar against people, even my friends. i know about the improper subjunctive. i can tell you "who" from "whom." i believe in the series comma and the double space after end sentence punctuation. behold! my nerd-flag, in all its glory!

steven / November 17, 2004 1:00 PM


it's supposed to be 'chicgao'.

andy / November 17, 2004 1:03 PM

Always "mutiple" instead of "multiple".

paul / November 17, 2004 1:05 PM

Many words that have certain letters on the far sides of the keyboard like 'cirlce' and 'evansotn' give me typo trouble. Some sort of keyboard dyslexia where my right hand is faster than my left.

And for some reason it took me years to stop typing 'Illinios'.

Maggie / November 17, 2004 1:05 PM

Necessary. I never spell it correctly. I just looked it up.

Michael, ditto on the your & you're as well as their, they're and there. Poor grammar angers me.

salty / November 17, 2004 1:29 PM

I always misspell definitely as "definately."

It's the way I pronounce it, with an "a" sound, and it's one of those words that I got away with misspelling for so long that it stuck.

Maggie / November 17, 2004 1:51 PM

Thurston - the preposition at the end of a sentence is a definite Chicago thing. I'm sorry - I do it, too. To me, adding "at" at the end of a sentence asks for a more precise location. For example:
Where is your office? Downtown.
Where is your office at? Michigan and Wacker.

I know. It's convoluted.

Maggie / November 17, 2004 1:54 PM

I also realize that I just said poor grammar angers me and then defended the preposition at the end of a sentence. I just have never thought of "Where are you at?" as poor grammar. Such hypocrisy!

j3s / November 17, 2004 1:57 PM

Waleeta - I am the same way! Wierd or Weird? Every single time I have to stop and think; both versions look correct to me. Also, "Museum," though I think I have finally learned that one. I used to have a problem with "license" until I started writing tech docs and had to use it way too frequently.

leah / November 17, 2004 2:34 PM

Whenever I type the name Brian, I always type "Brain".

the contrarian grammarian / November 17, 2004 3:01 PM

I don't think I have any consistency when it comes to typos... Really, it's all fair game. Additionally, out of personal choice, i'm pretty lax about capitalizing words when i'm casually typing.

One of the grammar faux pas that drive me crazy, is the inappropriate apostrophe use. For instance:

"I can just use all of those CD's as coasters now that I have them all loaded into my mac."

"Please have your ID's ready to enter the building."

I'm always seeing something like that on official-type signs too, and i just want to take a big old red pen, and mark it up.

Carrie / November 17, 2004 3:11 PM

"hoe" for "how"
"lvoe" for "love"
"eachother" for "each other"
"accidentially" for "accidentally"

A good way to remember how to spell weird is if you spell it wierd, it looks like wired.

Ellie / November 17, 2004 3:16 PM

This thread begs for a reference to Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation by Lynne Truss. It will gratify the grammarians among you, and is a surprisingly fun read ... for a grammar book.

Xan / November 17, 2004 3:22 PM

At work, both "public" and "pubic" make it through the spellchecker. I'm paranoid about it now...

Thurston / November 17, 2004 3:27 PM

I have noticed that hand-written signs in stores often use quotation marks incorrectly, and in a very particular way. Example:
"Do not enter"
"Employees only"
"The Management"
Was it the Management who posted such message, or the so-called Management? Something about this kind of use of quotations lends the message an almost sarcastic, I'm-just-following-orders tone. Has anyone else noticed this phenomenon?

erika / November 17, 2004 3:31 PM

chiagco for chicago and desing for design

nuxrs / November 17, 2004 3:44 PM

roflmao omg im alw4ys mak1n hella grammer mistaykes!!!11!!

ahem. sorry.
For some reason, i always end up thinking rhythm ends with an "n".....rhythmn. I guess i'm thinking of "hymn".

Craig / November 17, 2004 4:27 PM

My typing skill sare really sloppy, so I alway spress the space bar too early on certain letters such as d or s.

robin.. / November 17, 2004 4:28 PM

oh oh oh, nuxrs, you just landed on one of my favourites: text-message-style word shortening! i HATE "u" for "you" and "ur" for "you're."

Ellen / November 17, 2004 4:40 PM

Untied States of America.

Ironic, eh?

Alex / November 17, 2004 4:50 PM

For some reason, whenever I type the word "student", I always misspell it "studnet".

Stephen / November 17, 2004 5:22 PM

pubic for public...

seriously. Very embarassing.

amyc / November 17, 2004 5:32 PM

I saw a great menu typo today: The dessert special was Pumping Pie.

michelle / November 17, 2004 6:04 PM

My whole life I've tried to prevent 'adress' and I don't think I'll ever get it right.

suzanne / November 17, 2004 7:57 PM

Waleeta and j3s: I still remember my 3rd grade teacher's rule on 'weird.'

"It's I before E except after C. But 'weird' is weird."

I attribute knowing the atomic symbol for gold entirely to a line from "The Facts of Life." Natalie was preparing for a test and came up with this mneumonic: "A U! Gimme back my gold watch!"

I'm not sure I learned much beyond 3rd grade.

Cinnamon / November 17, 2004 11:37 PM

Wow! I don't feel so odd with my odd grammar issues.

Everytime I think I have "patience" spelled right I start using "paitence". I just learned its and it's, let's hope it sticks. Finally got business down (used to be buisness). Living with a grammar freak means that occasionally I get the "I've noticed that you never use X correctly" talk.

But I'm still frustrated that people don't include punctuation in a hyperlink.

Robin, the double-space at the end of a sentence seems to be disappearing in popularity. Which I'm happy about cause my thumb just gets too happy with all those extra spaces.

chris / November 18, 2004 6:29 AM

I have been told that I mispell "probably" I usually type "probally".

Donna / November 18, 2004 9:05 AM

I do a lot of "jsut"s for "just"s. And lately, I've had a big problem with homonyms (e.g., typing "there" when I mean to write "their," etc.).

Re: double spacing after a period--I was trained out of this habit in journalism school. Dunno why--doesn't it have something to do with layout?

Dan / November 18, 2004 9:42 AM

I definately spell words wrong, I just loose track of which ones.

Nuxrs / November 18, 2004 10:22 AM

umm...its mnemonic.

well, it IS!

sorry. i'll shut up now.

Mrs. NotIf / November 18, 2004 10:33 AM

some good grammar resources:

Good Grammar, Good Style:

Strunk & White/Elements of Style:

Chicago Manual of Style FAQs:

Sandy / November 18, 2004 10:51 AM

My mistake is kind of like amyc's and andrew's but with a twist - whenever I go to type Michigan I type Michicago instead. Argh!

Tom / November 18, 2004 11:06 AM

Misuse of apostrophes should be a capital offense. Grammar geeks should be held in high esteem and can take solace in the fact that they are fighting for a very noble cause.

Here's another great resource for those of you seeking further edification:

Mike A. / November 18, 2004 11:11 AM

I, tend to use, entirely, too many commas. It's, as if I'm, writing like, William Shatner speaks.

Xan / November 18, 2004 11:31 AM

for some reason I always write "assdress" instead of "address". never fails.

waleeta / November 18, 2004 11:34 AM

Mike A. - you made me spit out my coffee at work.

Suzanne - thanks for the tip, but it has already leaked out of my left ear. My brain won't allow it.

I spell "body" like "bosy" every single goddamn time, and it makes me cringe because I don't even know how to correctly pronounce "bosy".

davin / November 18, 2004 1:02 PM

not a grammatical error per se, but when typing my name i ALWAYS type 'daviny' insted of 'davin'. it turns my name into some sort of adjective or emotion. i always laugh at myself. i laugh a lot.

jocelyn / November 18, 2004 1:11 PM

calender - is ARRRRRR calendAR.

Ruthie / November 18, 2004 1:29 PM

I remember how to spell weird by pronouncing it in my head "weeee-ird." That reminds me that the e comes first.

I sometimes wish I didn't have an eye for grammar and spelling. I get irritated by errors in the newspaper all the time. I'd sometime rather just be oblivious.

joco / November 18, 2004 2:39 PM

typo? "teh" every time

Laura D. / December 5, 2004 11:20 PM

I mix up your and you're

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