I, like many others, have a fear of publishing an article, post, update, or tweet with a grammar mistake. Unfortunately, I have posted plenty of grammar mistakes. Bookmark, save, and print this post to make sure your messages are clearly communicated without grammar mistakes.
Examples: It’s raining today. The dog wagged its tail.
The possessive form of “it” is “its,” not “it’s.” Use “it’s” only when it means “it is.” Unless you can replace “it’s” with “it is,” use “its.” Never use “its’.”
- #2: Using an apostrophe (’s) to form the plural of a noun
Examples: The snake’s skin; The box’s weight.
Note: The plural of most nouns is created by simply adding s or es. Snakes, skis, boxes. Apostrophes are usually only needed when you are indicating possession.
- #3: They’re vs. their vs. there
Examples: There are nine planets in the solar system.
The two boys raced their bikes.
They’re both tired after riding so far.
“There” is used in two ways. It can specify a place. It can also be used as an expletive or empty word to start a sentence. ”Their” is used as a possessive form of “they.” ”They’re” is short for “they are.”
- #4: Do the quotes go after or before the period?
Inspirational quote from Esther Dyson
Examples: He asked, “Are you hungry?”
She replied, “Yes.”
Did she say, “Yes”?
Put quotation marks after a period or comma. Put quotes before a colon. Put quotes after a question mark unless the entire sentence is a question.
Examples: You’re right about the changes. Your hat is in the closet.
Examples: You can effect change by voting. She affected a worldly manner to hide her shyness.
Effect means ‘to cause to come into being.’ Affect means ‘to put on a pretense.’
Examples: The accounting department had more problems than we did. If you can’t get Windows to boot, you’ll need to call Ted.
Note: When a sentence construction begins with If, you don’t need a then. Then is implicit.
Example: Use an anti-spyware program (e.g., Ad-Aware).
The term i.e. means “that is”; e.g. means “for example”. And a comma follows both of them.
Examples: Anyone can download my software. But a single-user software license can only be used by any one user at a time.
“Anyone” means “any person,” not necessarily a specific person. It could refer to multiple people simultaneously. As two words, “any one” refers to a single person.
- #10. Commonly misspelled words
- #11. Mismatching subjects and adjectives
Examples: After the fire drill, each child returned to his seat.
After the fire drill, the children returned to their seats.
When the subject is singular, use a singular adjective. When the subject is plural, use a plural adjective.
- #12: Using the words basically, essentially, totally, virtually, literally
These words seldom add anything useful to a sentence. Try the sentence without them and, almost always, you will see the sentence improve.
- #13: Using ‘and’ instead of ‘to’
Wrong: Try and come to my party.
Try to come to my party.
- #14: Using ‘of’ instead of ’have’
Wrong: You should of seen her face.
You should have seen her face.
- #15: Quick recap of typical common usage grammar mistakes
• There vs. Their vs. They’re
• Loose vs. Lose
• Its vs. Its
• i.e. vs. e.g.
• Effect vs. Affect
• You’re vs. Your vs. You Are
• Then vs. Than