Whether you are browsing Internet forums, reading a novel or simply walking through a shopping mall, you are surrounded by grammar and spelling. Yet despite our exposure to grammar on a daily basis, there are some common grammatical errors which most people still end up making. From mixing up your and you’re, or using the incorrect ‘there’, grammar is a constant battle for some people.
Here are the top 10 grammatical errors which almost everyone makes!
1. Does grammar affect your life, or effect it?
The difference between affect and effect is something which a lot of adults still do not understand. It has to be noted that they are not simply interchangeable, and the meaning of the sentence could well change depending on which word you use. The verb is affect – the process of affecting something. The verb will then have an effect on something – the noun. Therefore, your ability to use correct grammar may affect your chances of getting a job, which in in turn have an effect on your ability to pay rent.
2. So, how many errors are there in your sentence? Or is that they’re? Their?
Although this is quite a simple rule to understand, people are constantly getting the difference between there, their and they’re wrong. Quite simply, their is used for possession: “The couple watched their children playing”. They’re, on the other hand, is a contraction of “they” and “are” – “They’re watching their children play.” There is commonly used to describe a place, so “They’re watching their children play over there.”
3. Does your grammar need fixing?
This is quite possibly the most common error used on the Internet. “Your” is used for possession: “Can I eat your apple?” You’re, however, is once again a contraction (hence the apostrophe!) – “you” and “are” make up you’re. Although it may be quite common, it really isn’t very hard to fix if you take your time to re-read your sentence!
4. It’s a little harder
There are certain rules of grammar which need to be ignored in certain circumstances, and it’s/its is one of these times. The rule is that when you are denoting possession, you use an apostrophe – “the dog’s bone was taken away” for example. But you would not use “it’s bone was taken away”, as you may think. It’s is one used to contract it is or it has. “It’s been snowing again!” would be correct, as the sentence would be “It has been snowing again!” without the contraction.
5. You don’t want to lose!
Lose or loose? All you have to do is think about what the word sounds like – you lose a game, whereas your pants may be a little loose. The “oo” in loose is pronounced differently, so you shouldn’t forget which to use!
6. I wish there were fewer mistakes. Or less?
If it is something you can count and quantify, then you want to use “fewer” – “I had fewer bananas than my brother”. If you cannot, you want to use less – “I had much less energy than my brother”.
7. Go and see the principal!
The principal is someone who comes first in rank; a principle is a standard or truth. Therefore you may never want to go and see the principal, because your principles mean you are a well-behaved person.
8. I could have sworn that you’d know this
I could’ve! Maybe I should’ve. At least I would’ve. When you are contracting could have, should have or would have, you may say “of”, but the word if have. The sound “of” comes from the “ve” at the end of have – so when expanding the words, do not write “I could of done better in my test” – you could have, had you listened in English class!
9. Apostrophes don’t need to be hard
The apostrophe is one of the most confused pieces of punctuation in the English language, coming second perhaps only to the semi-colon. The only need for an apostrophe is when denoting possession (“the dog’s tail wagged”) or for a contraction (“I don’t understand!”). Apostrophes should not be used in any other circumstance, and certainly not simply because you want to pluralise something! Remember, though, of the its/it’s exception of possession!
10. Help me out?
If you are unsure of whether to use “me” or “I”, in a sentence, the way to figure it out is to remove the person from the sentence. “Jackie and me are going to the shops” – if you removed Jackie from the sentence, it would be “me is going to the shops”, so you would clearly want to use “Jackie and I are going to the shops.” Simple!
Helen Cocci is a student, writer, musician and painter. She is also a member of a grammar club that started a proofreading and editing service. GoProofreading.com combines her work, study and hobby.