Friday, March 4, 2011

There You Have It

Apparently today was National Grammar Day. This day followed other memorable holidays that were celebrated this week, such as National Pancake Day and National Dr. Seuss Day. It was quite a week, folks.

In honor of this special day, I shall pass on to you a little grammar trick. I have a child who struggles with the usage of three notorious words: there, their and they're. To assist this child, I devised a fun memory tool. Here goes.

When the word "there" is appropriate, imagine this scenario: You see a person in need of immediate medical assistance. You gingerly approach. "Um . . er . . . um . . . er . . . you seem to be bleeding all over the place. Maybe you should go over there . . . to the ER." You may notice the subtle triple usage of "er" -- the two letters that appear in the middle of "there." We are reminded to go to the emergency room over there. If it's somewhere you can go, then the word "there" should be used.

Next we have "their." For this word we get to envision dear Old MacDonald and his farm. You know, the E-I-E-I-O fellow. Imagine that you are introducing Mr. and Mrs. MacDonald's animals to someone. "This is their goat," you say. And, because it's the MacDonalds' farm, you must include a little yodel. "E-I-E-I-O!" You continue. "This is their cow. E-I-E-I-O! And this is their pig. E-I-E-I-O!" Again, take note of the "ei" placement in the middle of the word "their" (hence the charming yodel). If it can belong to someone, the way a pig belongs to the MacDonalds, then it is their pig.

That leaves us with "they're," which is not as convoluted (or as entertaining) to explain. It looks like two words chopped and hooked together. That's because it is two words chopped and hooked together: "they are" becomes "they're."

Well, there you have it. That's how we think about words over here in the Lawson home. Emergency rooms, cows, pigs and chopping. I hope I haven't terribly confused anyone. And I really hope this post is free of grammatical errors. Either way, happy National Grammar Day.
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  1. I love you, Julianna! ...and I'm TOTALLY stealing that one! THEY'RE going to love THEIR grammar while sitting over THERE at that table! ~Kell

  2. I'm going to re-post your post on my blog, if you don't mind! The common misuse of these three words has to be one of my biggest pet peeves, especially when the misuse is demonstrated by other adults. With children, it is easily dismissed, but I think everyone else should know better. ;o) I guess I'm just a stickler when it comes to spelling and grammar.

    P.S. Haha! The "word code" I was asked to enter upon posting my comment was "ther." how funny!

    Thanks for the great teaching tool! :)

  3. All elementary school teachers need to know about your trick!



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