Grammar, Spelling, and Punctuation. They’re important because some people are apparently one misplaced comma away from snapping.

And we, certainly, don’t want anything, like that, to, happen,,,,,

Which is why I’ve put together a short guide to grammar. I like to call it:

Grammar: It’s Not Spelled With an ‘E’ Anymore, or Possibly Ever

There are just a few simple rules to remember when speaking And/Nor typing. (Loophole: you can completely disregard all grammar, spelling, and punctuation rules when typing provided you type in ALL CAPS.)

1.) Their/There/They’re/The Heir

It’s easy to know which one of the above to use in a sentence if you just ask yourself two simple questions:

          1. How many people are you talking about?
          2. Are any of them royalty?

Once you’ve answered those questions, their should be an obvious choice for which word you think you should use. Whatever it is, your first instinct is always going to be wrong so pick one of the others, knowing you’ve increased your odds to a 50-50-50 chance of getting it right.

The same method can be applied to You’re/Yore/Prince Charles/Your.

2.) Who/Whom

This is a tough one. It can be tricky to remember when to use who and when to use whom. That’s why I’ve come up with this little rhyme:

Use ‘Who’ when you’re speaking of an unknown person.

Use ‘Whom’ when you want people to think you’re pompous.

It’s the 21st century. Rhymes don’t have to rhyme anymore.

The End.

You can also print that out and carry it around with you as a reminder. People are always impressed by people who reference pieces of paper before finishing a sentence.

3.) Effect or Affect

This is the Holy Grail of grammar, but I will be honest with you: you have no chance of getting it right. That’s because the meanings change every year.

At the end of the 100 years war, when we defeated the British at the battle of Washington, the British had to sign a treaty declaring that we’d beat the snot out of them. Unfortunately nobody noticed some fine print one sneaky British General added at the bottom of the treaty, saying that “effect” and “affect” had to change meanings based on a system the British got to devise.

So if America were to ever come to its senses, rise up, and just declare that affect and effect are actually the same word, we’d have to sadly go back under British rule. I know that might sound okay during an election year, but then we’d all have to start spelling “colour” with a U.  I don’t know about you, but I for one have hot-glued all the letter U’s in my Scrabble set to all the letter Q’s, so I just can’t do that.

It’s better if we all just learn the simple system for knowing when it’s okay to say effect vs affect. It’s based on the Chinese Zodiak, made famous by restaurant placemats. If the animal of the year is a hoofed-mammal, you should use “effect” every time. If the animal of the year has played a side-kick in a Disney film, you should use “affect” at least half of the time, but no more than three-quarters of the time. If it’s the year of the snake, you shouldn’t even be out talking to people because snakes are gross. If the animal of the year can fly, it’s illegal to use “affect” or “effect”, but you can use “whom” in these instances.

Or you could just always say “result”, if you feel trying to learn all these yearly changes would negatively result you.

If typing an important document and you don’t know which word to use (and your Caps Lock key is broken), use ‘Affect’. Then go through the document and replace all the letter E’s in all the words with letter A’s. Then no one will be able to tell if you used the right word or not. They won’t even be sure if it’s your computer or your brain that’s malfunctioning.

4.) Can vs May

This one is actually really important if you plan on seeing any movies this year.

For example just because Superman CAN bleed doesn’t mean Batman MAY make him.

Or just because Katniss CAN save someone’s life in the first movie doesn’t mean that character MAY survive through the fourth movie so all that sacrificing in all those movies wasn’t all just one big waste of time!

And just because you CAN kill off Harrison Ford from your franchise doesn’t mean you ever, ever, ever should!

I MAY not ever recover.

I cartainly hopa this lasson has baan affactiva for you.

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