Grammar Tip #11: Spit? Spat? Spitted?

The other day I walked by a mom who was saying to her kid, “It’s ‘spit,’ not ‘spitted’!” She seemed quite angry.

I don’t know why this bothers me so much, but I cannot stand it when people use “spit” as the past tense of “spit,” instead of using “spat.” I looked it up in the Oxford Canadian, and they say you can use either. But I think “spat” sounds more intelligent. Plus that’s what I learned when I was young.

So I would say to any kids or adults who want to talk about spitting in the past tense, “It’s not ‘spit’ and it’s not ‘spitted.’ It’s ‘spat’!”

They would probably tell me to get a life.

Grammar Tip #10: Theirs More To This Tip Than There Saying

It has been so long since I wrote a grammar tip! What with surgery in November and a profound depression brought on by rampant spelling and grammar errors in award-winning books (latest is The History of Love by Nicole Krauss), I have just not been up to the task.

Here is a tiny kvetch.

People everywhere need to stop confusing “there,” “they’re” and “their.”

The most common use of “there” means “in, at or to that place or position.”
“They’re” is the contraction of “they are.”
“Their” is the possessive form of “they.”

So here is some creative dialogue to illustrate the tip.

“Where are Jack and Fred?”
“They’re out back in their tree fort playing with their Barbies.”
“Because the Barbies like it there.”