By Guest Blogger Dave Beveridge, English teacher
Even with auto-correct, Google auto-fill, spell check and Grammarly, there are still common grammar mistakes, some even unchecked by our computer soulmates. When texting friends, grammar is less relevant. However, when sending formal letters, updating your resume, or trying to sound intelligent online, having poor grammar could be a deal breaker.
Here are 10 Common Grammar Mistakes you can start correcting today!
Sale vs. Sell
Sale is a noun; sell a verb.
Examples: He put the cheese on sale, but couldn’t sell it all.
I am going to sell my bike.
Did you see that boat that is for sale?
Acrost and Hisself
Neither of these are words. To say these words with a sweet Southern accent is one thing, but to write them is a word crime.
Examples of correct use: We will walk across the street.
He was very proud of himself.
Their, There, They’re
Remember the sentence: They’re over there in their car.
Reminders: They are (the apostrophe removes letters). There has the word here in it, hence location. Their has the word heir in it, hence ownership.
Its and It’s
The apostrophe replaces letters. For instance, the o removed from do not makes don’t. The same rule applies to it is creating the contraction it’s. Although counter-intuitive, the word its shows possession.
Example: Whose book is that? It’s mine. Its’ is also not a word because we have the word theirs to show plural possessive (Also sans apostrophe).
The dog played with its tail.
Accept and Except
Accept is to receive and Except is to exclude or unless. Think of the X in except. You would exclude someone, something. Or put the word “the” in front of it as: The exception to the rule is…
Example: All seniors were accepted to college, except the people who failed English.
To and Too
Besides meaning also, the easy way to remember too is the EXTRA o means a lot of something or excessive.
Example: Your music is too loud OR I would like some ice cream, too.
Stationary vs. Stationery
Stationary means “in place.” Note the a in both. Likewise, stationery is paper; both have an er.
Examples: Keep the car stationary until I get back.
I need stationery to write my letter.
Compliment vs. Complement
Like the one above, these commonly confused words differ by one letter. An easy way to remember is to note the “i” which will remind you that “I” received a compliment.
Examples: She complimented me on my new shoes.
Those shoes complement your outfit nicely.
Who and Whom
When to use the pronoun who or whom has baffled people for generations. If you have studied grammar, the easiest explanation would be that who is in the subjective case (the subject of a sentence) and whom the objective case (direct object, indirect object, or object of the preposition.)
For those without the time, here’s a quick tip. Whenever you would use the subjective pronoun HE, use WHO. Whenever you would say HIM, say WHOM.
Example: To whom were you speaking? I can’t believe you spoke to him.
Who’s vs. Whose
Another case of the apostrophe taking out letters. In this case, who is or who was becomes who’s. The word whose is used when asking questions.
Examples: Whose shoes are these?
Who’s going to the dance tonight?
Stop adding apostrophes on your names for Christmas cards! The Smith’s wish you a Merry Christmas is totally incorrect. Maybe you want to say, “The Smith’s dog wishes you a Merry Christmas” but unless that is what you’re trying to say, just use an “s.”
Example: The Smiths wish you a Happy Holiday!
If you have a name that already ends in “s” you would say “The Joneses wish you a Merry Christmas.” If you don’t like how that looks, say “The Jones Family wishes you a Merry Christmas.”
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