By David Willis
July 28, 2014
It’s a simple fact that grammar can be tricky for some people. Even when you carefully check content you’ve written, it’s really easy to let little grammatical errors slip through.We’re sure that everyone reading this is guilty of making silly mistakes at some point, so we’ve decided to make a list of some of the common errors:
This is the most common grammatical mistake you’ll come across and you’d be surprised how many people don’t know how each one is used:
There – refers to a place – “Let’s go over there.”
Their – something that is owned by a group – “Their football kits were brand new.”
They’re – contraction/abbreviation of ‘they are’ – “They’re going to the cinema.”
This is the difference between owning something and actually being something:Your – possessive term – “Your T-shirt has arrived today.”
You’re – contraction/abbreviation of ‘You are’ – “You’re looking well.”
This is an easy one to get wrong:Its – possessive term – “The dog hurt its leg.”
It’s – contraction/abbreviation of ‘It is’ – “It’s going to rain.”
Most possessive nouns (person/place or thing) will have an apostrophe but people often get confused as to where the apostrophe should go:
This is a common mistake that really shouldn’t occur as much as it does:Lose – “It looks like the team are about to lose.”
Loose – “Her clothes were feeling loose on her.”
These both mean different things so it is important you understand the difference:Then – time related – “We look forward to meeting you then.”
Than – comparison related – “I would rather meet at your house than mine.”
These are often used for the same reason but they actually mean two different things:i.e. – “in other words” or “that is”
e.g. – “for example”
Alot isn’t actually a word. If you are trying to say that someone has a large number of things, you would say that they have a lot of things.If you are saying you are going to set aside an amount of money, you would say that are going to allot that money.
Unfortunately, this isn’t actually a word. You need to use either regardless or irrespective.
These are often mixed up when people are talking about something changing into another thing:Effect – the actual change (noun) – “That coffee had an effect on my sleep patterns.”
Affect – the act of changing (verb) – “That TV show affected me greatly.”
Complement – something that adds to or supplements something else, or the act of doing so – “The gravy really complements the chicken.”
Compliment – something nice that someone says to you or you to say to someone else – “You look really nice today.”
If you count it, use fewer – “Jenny has completed fewer assignments than she did last term.”
If you can’t, use less – “Aaron has less incentive to do what I say.”
Historic – an important event – “The war memorial today will be historic.”
Historical – something that happened in the past – “The historical events of World War 1 are still being felt today.”
Principal – noun – the highest in rank or the main participant. Also, it can be used as an adjective to mean the most important of a set.
Principle – noun – a fundamental truth, law or standard.
A word that is used too many times for the wrong reasons. Literally means exactly what you say is true, making it very figurative. It should not be used as a metaphor or an analogy.
An example would if you say “I am literally dying of shame.” By saying this, you are telling people you are actually dying because of the feeling of shame, which is highly doubtful.
When you are speaking in the present tense, a sentence must have subjects and verbs that agree in number. If the subject is singular (about one thing), the verb must be singular. If the subject is plural (more than one thing), the verb must be plural. As an example:
Incorrect – The books is good for learning a new language.
Correct – The books are good for learning a new language.
An must always appear before a vowel sound. If it does not start with a vowel sound, use a:
However, people often get confused with the letter h. For example:
The way to work out whether to use an or a is the sound. It is not a question of whether the words starts with a vowel, but if it starts with a vowel sound.
Already – adverb that means prior to a specified or implied time or as early as now:
All ready – means completely prepared. It is also slightly more emphatic that just prepared – “Brad is all ready to go.”
Who’s – abbreviation of “who is” – “Who’s that attractive person over there?”
Whose – use this if you want to talk about who owns something – “Do you know whose football that is?
This list doesn’t includes every single grammatical error you can find and it is understandably more difficult for people to avoid these mistakes if they don’t write in their native language or struggle with grammar in general. If in doubt, ask someone else to check the content you have created. A second pair of eyes can help to spot certain errors and ensure that everything you send is flawless.
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