As part of my job I proofread stuff. Now I’m a decent, but not fabulous, proofer. I’m decent because I’m detail-oriented, but not fabulous because I don’t know the rules of grammar as well as I should. I know them pretty well, but not to the level a professional proofreader or copyeditor should. So I’d never want to be a full-time proofer and would never market my skills as a professional proofreader, but I don’t mind chipping in occasionally–particularly when I know I can fix several issues.
Lately, not just in my current work proofing, but in other readings, I’ve been seeing: "can not."
Listen up everyone out there that thinks that is proper, it isn’t! It’s a WORD, people, not a phrase! It’s "cannot," not "can not!" A word; not a phrase.
Conversely, "a lot" is a phrase, not a word. It’s "a lot," not "alot." (Don’t you just love English!)
Oh! Another thing, "and" and "but" are NOT interchangeable! Hello! Just because they are both conjunctions, doesn’t mean they are equal! Ugh.
Sigh, a disclaimer: I know there are a lot of English speaking countries floating about and they might have different grammatical rules (for quotes about this, see previous blog), but the above rules are correct for U.S. English!
Whew. Just had to rant! Don’t even get me started on the differences between em-dashes, en-dashes, and hyphens. Or that whole attempt to change the rules about punctuation inside quotation marks! (Now, the funny thing is that there are probably other grammatical mistakes in this blog!)