Posted on April 7, 2012 - by Nicole Humphrey Cook
Hey, today is Saturday and it’s the Letter G in the A-Z Challenge and I could not come up with a better word than Grammar to apply to writing. Grammar mistakes are so common.
You make them. I make them. We all make grammar mistakes from time to time. I know I do it, but these are the five I try to watch most often. Can you add more?
1. Your vs. You’re – This is my biggest pet peeve ever and I see it so often it makes me sad. So many writers still confuse this, and it just seems like something a writer should be aware of.
So what’s the difference?
Your is a possessive pronoun. Correct usage would include talking about “your writing”, “your books”, “your blog”.
You’re is a contraction. It is used in place of “you are”. Correct usage would be “You’re not impressing anyone when you use the word your in the wrong spot.”
2. Apostrophes – Apostrophes can be tricky. They are used to show possession in most cases. You would not say “My fathers book is on his’ table”. You would instead say “My father’s book is on his table.” (lame example, I know.)
Apostrophes are also used in words like it’s and couldn’t and don’t.
Instead of it is; you use it’s. Instead of could not; you use couldn’t and instead of do not; you use don’t.
3. Brush up on Homonyms - Homonyms are a group of words that share the same spelling and the same pronunciation but have different meanings. Especially common homonyms are:
- there in place of their or they’re
- wether and weather
- pair, pear and pare
- no, know
- break, brake
- hear, here
- plain, plane
- to, too and two
There are plenty more so just make sure you have chosen the correct word for the meaning behind the word. Make sense?
4. Grammar books. Get one. In fact, I recommend getting two or three different grammar books. It seems that no single book is completely concise. Oh! If you’re American, don’t read Eat, Shoots and Leaves, and if you have read it, consider finding a different book to read now. The book was written in England and it contains rules of punctuation and grammar that are wrong in American English. The nice thing is, the author tries to point them out when she runs into them, but she missed several.
5. Learn the difference between i.e. and e.g. In fairness, I misuse these all the time, but I am vowing to be better at it. (which is why I am including it!)
The term i.e. means “that is”. (mind trick: in other words)
The term e.g. means “for example.”
You always place a comma after using them, no exceptions.
Incorrect example: Buy a new laptop (i.e., Dell).
Correct example: Buy a new laptop (e.g., Dell).
Example with explanation: Jamie loves reading fashion magazines (e.g.,Vogue and Elle). Here you can see these are only examples of what Jamie enjoys reading. There are many more fashion magazines she enjoys reading.
Example with explanation: Jamie loves reading fashion magazines (i.e., Vogue and Elle). This clarifies that Jamie only likes reading Vogue and Elle. It is used as further clarification of the original sentence.
What grammar mistakes do you hate seeing?
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