Monday, December 15, 2008

Grammar Rant No. 3.14

Today's rant: Homonym trouble.

What is UP with opera singers and their homonym trouble? If English is their second language, then fine, it's understandable. Otherwise, there must be something wrong with the educational system in this country.

Ok. I know we love them for their amazing talent for singing and acting the most beautiful music in the world. But still...

Here we go with grammar lesson number pi.


there: pronoun for location. The stage is over there.
their: third person possessive pronoun. The men left their codpieces in the dressing room.
they're: contraction of 'they are.' They're on their way to the cast party.
Combo: They're shocked that their costumes were left over there.


your: 2nd and 3rd person possessive. Is this your libretto? Your makeup is smeared.
you're: contraction of 'you are.' You're only in the chorus so stop singing along with the principals.
Combo: You're not going to believe this but your mother stopped by with your lunchbox.


its: third person singular possessive. The opera singer set the chair on its side.
it's: contraction of 'it is.' It's difficult for opera singers to spell correctly.
The confusion is that for regular noun possessives we add 'apostrophe-s,' so people (such as opera singers) insert it in the third person possessive 'its' where, in truth, it doesn't belong.

And my new favorite homonym error, which I saw for the first time in my life today:


where: location. Where is the party tonight?
wear: Tonight's event is evening wear only. Did you bring your gown?
ware: something that is for sale, an article of merchandise, often used in the plural: The artist will be selling his wares at the craft show.

Learn it. Love it. Use it.


Anonymous said...

Are your referring to somebody who wrote about changing into his evening where?

That reminds me of the saying "Semper ubi sub ubi."

Susan said...

Heh. Caught me. And I know who you are too, Mr. Anon. Since I don't know Latin I don't get the joke... always something under something????

Susan said...

Never mind, I looked it up. Cute.

Kaitebon said...

It means always where under where...

and you'd be surprised how many staid Latin teachers have passed that on to their students!

Kaitebon said...

PS: You meant "grammer" as joke, right? Because it's making me feel dizzy...

Sarah said...

The title of this post is a test, is it? To see if we notice how to actually spell 'grammar'? Clever. Subtle.

Susan said...

Uh... yeah. I did that on purpose. Right.

Note to self: do not post blog entries after drinking pomegranate girltinis.

I'll change it so no one else gets dizzy.

rebeccawinslow said...

how about - instead of "Are your referring to somebody who wrote about changing into his evening where?"

"Are you referring to somebody changing into THERE evening where?"

Alas, my Latin learning of a half-century ago (not "hence") fails me when i try to translate "Semper ubi sub ubi." Maybe something like always everywhere under everything? Or: "me, te, nous, vous, se avant y avant ... " something or other.
Jeep Gerhard

Susan said...

Just want to remind everyone, including myself, that we lurve our favorite opera singers for their (they're, there) musical talent, not their (they're there) spelling skills.

Semper ubi sub ubi.

Banawoman said...

"Semper ubi sub ubi."
The irony is that those of us who were forcefed Latin in our tender years are now very good at spelling. Let's be clear, though, that the above directive is NOT in any way meant to be adopted by certain opera singers.

Anonymous said...

i like the way u have explained grammer. i would love to learn more from u.