(A quick diatribe) We received about a dozen holiday cards this year, and thankfully only one contained an egregious grammatical error: the dreaded apostrophe in place of a simple plural. I don’t know what it is about last names that just beg people to add possessive apostrophes to them, but it’s evidently very powerful. I’ve always been linguistically inclined; the your/you’re/there/their/they’re stuff snapped into my brain easily and early (typed ‘earlily’ at first, don’t tell anyone) so I don’t understand not understanding it and/or the broader basics such as possessives and pluralization. I have no sympathy for native English speakers who flub these. Should I? It’s not a hypothetical question. Is it that difficult for those who don’t naturally ‘click’ with language the way they might with math? I loathe math and struggle mightily with embarrassingly elementary concepts, but I think of these rules of language as simple laws you learn once and follow instinctively for the rest of your days. I equate them with basic addition and subtraction, which even I can do next-to-instinctually. So when I see mistakes on things such as holiday cards, which are very representative of the sender and therefore assumed to have been proofread, I fume.

And when the sender of the glaring error is an elementary school teacher, as was in this case, I weep.