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Grammar 101 – Avoid These Common Mistakes

December 17, 2020

By Mary E. Corrado, courtesy of SBAM Approved Partner ASE

With so much more communication via email today, I’ve noticed more and more grammar mistakes.  We have to dig back to the fourth grade to remember some of the most important grammar rules.  The review below will help you dust off the cobwebs of those elementary school lessons.

Ladders.com recently reviewed the top grammar mistakes that could be harming your career.  Be sure you’re not making some of these common mistakes:

  1. Your vs. You’re – “Your” is possessive.  “You’re” is a contraction for “you are.”  When proofreading, make sure you choose the correct one.
  2. Its vsIt’s – This is probably the most common mistake I see.  Remember, “Its” is possessive, and “it’s” is a contraction for “it is.”
  3. There, Their, and They’re – This one reminds me of a lesson one of my elementary teachers taught me.  The “i” in “their” helps me to remember that it’s possessive.  Then the apostrophe in “they’re” signifies that it’s a contraction – short for “they are.” “There” refers to a place.
  4. Affect vsEffect – I still have to google this one sometimes! The easiest way to remember this one is that “affect” is a verb, and “effect” is a noun.  For example:
    1. The movie really affected how I feel about cats.
    2. The movie had a big effect on how I feel about cats.
  5. Me vs. I – This one can be tricky, because the grammatically correct version might sometimes sound odd.  But when referring to yourself and one other, you should be able to remove the other name and have it still read correctly. See examples:
    1. Please review the draft from John and me. (You could easily also say, “Please review the draft from me.” 
    2. John and I need to be updated on the progress of the draft. (If you remove John, you would say, “I need to be updated on the progress of the draft.”
  6. To vs. Too – This is another common one.  Remember that “too” always means “also” or an extreme, such as “too much.”
  7. Seen vs. Saw – This might be my biggest grammar pet peeve. “Seen” always requires a helper verb.  It should never be used alone.  For example, “I seen a ghost” is incorrect.  The correct version would be “I saw a ghost” or “I have seen a ghost.”
  8.  i.e vs. e.g. – Again…this is one I rely on google for! To explain it simply, “i.e.” means “in other words” or “that is” and “e.g.” means “for example.”
  9. Who vs. That – This rule is pretty simple – use “who” when referring to a person; use “that” when referring to an object.
  10. Into vsIn to – “Into” describes movement.  If you are not describing movement then it should be “in to.”
  11. “I could care less” – The correct version of this would be “I could NOT care less.”
  12. Irregardless – This isn’t a word!  So don’t use it.  The correct word would be “regardless.”
  13. Peaked my interest – This one was an eye-opener for me.  It’s actually “piqued my interest.”
  14. Worse comes to worse – It’s actually “when worst comes to worst.”
  15. A mute point – We are not saying there is no volume, so it’s actually “a moot point.”
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