Friday, October 7, 2016

Top 5 Grammar Mistakes

Top 5 Grammar Mistakes

If you want to look smart, it is best to reduce your grammar mistakes.  Here are five of the most common mistakes made even by excellent writers!

1.       Using an apostrophe for a plural word – example: The class will meet on Wednesday’s.  This is plural, so it should by Wednesdays.  If you aren’t sure about adding an apostrophe, ask yourself if the word is plural or possessive.  A possessive word gets an apostrophe, like “the bike’s tire is flat.”

The most common misuse of the apostrophe that I’ve seen refers to a family – you should write “the Johnsons,” not “the Johnson’s”.

2.       Using an apostrophe for its when it isn’t possessive– example: “The tree lost it’s leaves” is incorrect because “its” is not a contraction for “it is.”  The correct sentence is, “The tree lost its leaves.”  Also correct is “It’s time to go” because in this case, “it’s” is a contraction for “it is.”

3.       Capitalization Remember that you only capitalize proper nouns, which are the names of people or places.  For example, “our school’s principal” is not capitalized, while “Principal Heller” is, since it is a name.

For a title, you capitalize each word except the small words like is, for, and, about.  A sample title is “All about Eve.”

4.       The use of I – “Henry and I went to the store” is correct because without Henry, it would be “I went to the store.”  In this case, I is the subject.  “They gave Jane and I a big thank you” is not correct because in this case, I is the object, which should be me.  “They gave Jane and me a big thank you” is correct because without Jane, it would be, “They gave me a big thank you,” not “They gave I a big thank you.”  To get this right, just remove the other person and see how it sounds.

5.       Less vs. fewer - Less refers to amount, such as “less water.”  Fewer refers to something that can be measured by number, like “fewer apples.”  About ten years ago, Bob Green, a columnist from The Washington Post, convinced the Giant Supermarket to change the fast line sign from “10 items or less” to “10 items or fewer” so that they could be grammatically correct.


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