There is little that can make me lose my cool as much as grammar mistakes (I know, I’m a bit strange…). But the truth is, we all make mistakes and sometimes we don’t even realize.
A lot of languages are written phonetically (write it like you say it, essentially), making spelling and grammar fairly easy to get right. English… is not one of those, I’m afraid.
Some words have very different meanings, yet they sound the same. Some words leave you wondering what the person who came up with their spelling was smoking.
And, much like writing, pronouncing words correctly can also be a precarious task in English. Take the words bread, knead, wear and great. They all have the same vowels, but we pronounce them differently.
Despite the difficult spelling, grammar and pronunciation, English is a beautiful language. When it’s not riddled with grammar mistakes!
I’ve compiled my top 5 grammatical pet peeves below – take a look and see if you may be committing some of these grammar crimes.
Than vs Then
I cannot tell you the amount of times I’ve seen a sentence like this:
“His grass is greener then hers”
Than is the correct word to use in this instance, as it is mostly used to make comparisons. Then is used to place actions in time, for example:
“Let’s eat, then we can watch a movie”
There, Their & They’re
Though they sounds similar, they all have different meanings.
There refers to a place, for instance “Can you stand over there? You’re bothering me!”
Their signifies to something owned by a group, like “Their cat had very annoying habits.”
They’re is actually made up of two words – they and are. “They’re driving me mad”
Effect and affect
One’s a verb and one’s a noun.
Affect (verb) should be used when writing about the act of the change.
“That woman’s singing really affected me”
Effect (noun) is used when talking about the change itself.
“That woman’s singing had a very bad effect on me”
It’s and its
“Its a wonderful world”
It would be, if simple grammar mistakes like these were avoided. It’s is a contraction (of it and is) and its is possessive (think his and hers).
And my personal favourite and absolute killer is…
Should have or should of
Our pronunciation does nothing for our writing! Getting used to slurring or ‘swallowing’ ends of words leads us astray when it comes to grammar. This is clearly the case with the increasing number of should of’s appearing in written sentences. When we are referring to something that should have taken place, we often say should’ve – and when we slur our words, it sounds like should of. I assure you, it is not!
To avoid these common grammar mistakes, always make sure you get someone to check your writing before you send out or publish your work. If you don’t, things could get awkward: