As newly assigned copy editor, here are a couple of grammar items I would like to see used with more punctiliousness.
When quoting someone, the punctuation afterward goes inside of the quotation marks.
"He is like, so hot," she sighed. (If that comma were an exclamation point, which should be used with extreme caution, the exclamation point would be in the same position.)
It's means it is and nothing else. When using its as a possessive, there is no apostrophe. You can test by re-reading the sentence and replacing it's with it is. If the sentence makes sense, leave the apostrophe. If the sentence loses its sensibility, lose the apostrophe.
It's an angry badger that will shake its fist at you.
Your, You're. The secret here is to read that apostrophe as an "a." If you read sentence and cannot replace you're with you are, then use the your.
You're going to regret not eating your vegetables.
Lose: To not have something anymore because it is lost.
I need to lose some weight. If I lose my black stretchy pants, I'll be in trouble.
Loose: To be less tight.
I gained so much weight that my black stretchy pants weren't even loose any more.
They're: They are.
Their: It belongs to them.
There: A place.
If the witch and her monkeys don't get their umbrellas, they're never going to get there without melting.
If you have helpful grammar tidbits, pet peeves, fetishes, or anxieties, please share.
*In response to shared anxieties, and to gratify my evil smug side, I give two more tidbits:
Capitol: Where Obama will be inaugurated.
Capital: A letter that could beat up the other version of itself. Also can be used with the killing kind of punishment for crime.
Fewer or Less?
Fewer: When a quantity can be assigned a number.
She has fewer pairs of shoes than her mother. (36 fewer pairs, to be precise.)
Less: When a quantity can not be assigned a number.
She has less sartorial junk than her mother.