My attitude toward punctuation is that it ought to be as conventional as possible. The game of golf would lose a good deal if croquet mallets and billiard cues were allowed on the putting green. You ought to be able to show that you can do it a good deal better than anyone else with the regular tools before you have a license to bring in your own improvements. -Ernest Hemingway
This is kind of off the wall and has nothing to do with my home or garden, but I'm a grammar freak. I was communicating with someone over Google Talk today about a USB adapter he needed for his phone. I found one on eBay for $0.99 with free shipping. He was commenting on how cheap it was.
At this point I replied with, "Umm. That's less than a penny." He knows that. He just wanted to get at me. He next typed, ".99 cents would be VERY good. Bother you?" "Yes, actually. That's one of my least favorite grammatical errors." Naturally, he got to harassing me since he now knew I didn't like it. "I had no idea. Is it wrong to say .99 cents?" I replied with a simple " :) " to which he continued, "I could maybe afford .99 cents. .99 cents is a good deal. I may have .99 cents. Can I borrow .99 cents?" I told him, "No. My penny cutter is broken." He said, "See if you can find one for .99 cents?" I replied, "I can't and that's not a question either, while we're knit picking grammar..."
I'm always amazed at how many people are confused with that. It's not 0.99 cents, people! Do you realize that's 99 hundredths of a cent? It's either $0.99 or 99¢ but NEVER 0.99¢ or 0.99 cents.
Another one that makes me smile, but doesn't bother me so much, is when people say, "Guess what?" "Guess what" is not a question. It's a command sentence and should be ended with either a period (that's the little dot, remember? Like this: ".") or an exclamation mark (!). That's probably confusing to people because we use "What?" so much. When you say "Guess what" to someone, and end it with a question mark, it almost makes it sound like you didn't understand yourself. "Guess! Huh, what?"
I could go on and on about grammar errors, but I'll just bring up one more. See this little guy? " ' " He's called an apostrophe. I'm sure you've seen him about being used both correctly and incorrectly. The most common mistake I see with him is when he's placed in words that are meant to be plural. "We are picking apple's." Ok, so this implies either "apple is" or that the apple owns something. "Apple is" simply doesn't make sense in this sentence unless you were to say, "We are picking. Apple is...." which you can see is going nowhere really fast. If we see it to mean that Apple, whoever this might be, owns something, the first problem we run into is that he should have his name capitalized. We wouldn't want him to feel like he's being degraded, now would we? The next problem is, supposing we are picking something that belongs to Mr. Apple, WHY DID WE STOP THERE?! What were we picking of his? What's that period doing there before the sentence even got through telling us what we were doing?!
Maybe another time I'll carry on some more about things like "your or you're", "than or then", or when commas are supposed to be used. Just my luck, I probably messed up on each of the areas I've been ranting about in this very post. :) English really is a very fascinating language. What do foreigners do for entertainment? They can't say things like "Mete out the meat to all you meet" or "Pare that pair of pears" or even "Did you read what I read about a reed in red?" I just love English! I also love to see people use proper grammar. :)