the quality or state of being literate, especially the ability to read and write.
Perhaps my definition of literacy implies a higher standard than that of the general population. Although scribbling letters of the alphabet with a Crayola is a beginning, I expect more from those who have already passed through puberty. The number of people I encounter who fail these simple rules of grammar is skyrocketing. It is also shocking and appalling! It is for that reason that I offer this simple but embarrassing public service announcement.
A homonym is a word pronounced the same as another but differing in meaning, whether spelled the same way or not. My first example compares these three words: THERE; THEIR, and THEY'RE.
THERE is a location, generally the opposite of "here". "The dog is over THERE."
THEIR is possesive. "Each party-goer possessed a can of beer. They took THEIR beer onto the patio."
THEY'RE is a contraction for "THEY ARE", The writer has chosen to blur these two words together. You could say "THEY ARE here" or "THEY'RE here". Both statements mean exactly the same thing.
Three more words that sound alike: TWO, TO, TOO
TWO is a number that follows "one" and precedes "three".
TO is a word that means to move in a particular direction. "I'm going TO the store". The opposite of "from".
TOO is a word that means "also". "You're going to the circus? I want to go TOO."
And finally, THEN and THAN.
THEN is a condition that follows an "if". "IF you break my toy, THEN I will tell Mother."
THAN is a comparison of more or less. "John is taller THAN Sally."
The fact that adults will send eMail or text messages with these errors in grammar makes me want to scream! I learned these rules when I was still riding a bicycle - possibly with training wheels. Don't they teach this in schools anymore? What has happened to the American public? How do you expect to promote and protect Liberty if all you can do is make your "X" on the ballot? Nobody knows how to write in cursive (aka long hand) anymore, either. Everybody prints like THEY'RE still in grade school.
Thomas Jefferson said, "If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be." Do your homework, people!