Grammar Bit #14.


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Can you spot the problem here? That’s right! Compliment is used incorrectly. The correct word to use in this instance is complement.

COMPLIMENT: an expression of praise, commendation, or admiration.

COMPLEMENT: something that completes or makes perfect.


If you use compliment, the story goes a little like this:

Cheese: Hey, Soup. You’re, uh… you’re looking very nice today. You taste great, too.

Soup: Why, Cheese, I’m flattered! Thank you!


If you use complement, the story goes like this:

The savory, salty cheese works well with the sweetness of the soup, creating a balance.


Unless you’ve got a bunch of magical, chattering foods, your cheese should never be complimenting your soup. Now I hope you’ll all remember this little cheese story before you decide which form to use.

REMEMBER: Just because they sound the same doesn’t mean they have the same definitions!

*All definitions from

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Biggest Grammar Pet Peeve – featuring Amanda!


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featuring AMANDA from

Long before I became an English teacher and claimed my language nerd status, my biggest grammar pet peeve was cemented. To this day, nothing makes my brain hurt more than seeing people mistake your for you’re or you’re for your. These two words are so different in meaning that no one would make the mistake of switching them, if people bothered to take a second to think about what they are saying.

You’re is a contraction of you and are. You is a pronoun and are is a verb. Together they create the two most important parts of any English sentence: the subject and the verb.

Your is a possessive adjective. Adjectives describe nouns. You all know what nouns are.

I am sure a lot of people think a mistake is harmless. I mean, people still know what you mean, right?


You’ve been warned.

I found this story on a blog called Grammar Vandal. While I am personally not interested in going around and correcting people’s grammar unless they have asked me to do so, this post caught my attention. Perhaps you will agree. It’s called, “She got what she deserved.” Click the link for the full post. What I am most interested in is here:
This is my new favorite entry on my new favorite Web site,

“Today, I was flirting via text with a coworker. Things started getting heated, and I wanted to send her a sexy picture. I asked if she had any suggestions. She said, “Your nuts!” She meant, “YOU’RE nuts.” I sent her a photo of my junk. I offended a co-worker with incriminating evidence. FML”

Okay. We know this guy isn’t the sharpest tool in the shed. Anyone knows you don’t send naked pictures to someone you barely know. And I’m going to assume that these two people are over the age of 18, because if not, that’s a different issue altogether. Assuming they both are above the age of consent,

That girl got exactly what she deserved.

She mixed up “your” and “you’re” and thus was blinded with an image of the least attractive part of the male anatomy, an image that will likely stick in her mind for quite a long time.

Unfortunately, the FML link no longer works. But I think you get the idea. If getting pictures of some guy’s man parts interests you, by all means, continue making the your/you’re mistake.
As for me, I will continue using knowing the difference between your and you’re as my unofficial intelligence or “person worthy of my time” test. Crazy and judgemental of me, maybe. But it hasn’t led me astray yet.
It is how I got my boyfriend of five years, after all.
* Many thanks to Amanda for being amazing, helping me out, typing up this hilarious post and creating the spiffy Language Nerd button. She rocks, as always. You need to go check out her blog. Here, here and here.

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