Correct 5 common grammar errors with these easy rules!
Hey look, I get it. English and grammar isn't everyone's strong point. Maybe you snoozed in class, maybe there are too many rules to remember, or maybe there are too many exceptions to the rules to remember! When I was learning French, I remember distinctly hating all those dang exceptions after I memorized verb conjugations, so I totally get it. But if you're employed and writing emails on behalf of your employer, if you're a blogger writing on the internet, or if you still hand write letters, we need to talk about 5 grammar mistakes to stop making IMMEDIATELY.
Forgive me if I appear snarky. I'm very pregnant. And very tired of having to re-read sentences because the grammar is so bad, I can't tell what you're actually trying to say. Here are the biggest mistakes I'm seeing, and how to fix them:
1) When to use "me" and when to use "I"
This is the biggest offender by far! So many times, people think they're writing correctly by saying, "My sister and I" or "My husband and I." But many, many times, the I is incorrect. It should be "me." How do you know when to use I and when to use me? Simple. Take the other subject out of the sentence. Does it make more sense to have I there, or me? Here's an example:
"We were hoping for a call back today, but nobody has spoken to my mother or I." To determine is this sentence is gramatticaly correct, take "my mother" out of it. You're left with "We were hoping for a call back today, but nobody has spoken to I." Does that make sense? No. You'd use me here. The sentence should read, "We were hoping for a call back today, but nobody has spoken to my mother or me."
When in doubt, take the other subject out, and you can figure it out! I should trademark that. Copyright of Paige, right there.
2) The difference between "your" and "you're"
This is probably the second biggest offender I see on blogs. Which is surprising, because it's not a complicated grammar rule to follow. In fact, was doing some blog pinning and came across a pin talking about what to do "now that your done with college." I thought, for real?! Is that supposed to be a joke?! Are you sure you even graduated college...? Ok, I'm getting too snarky. Pregnancy hormones, y'all. Regardless, check out the difference in meaning:
YOUR: Possessive adjective. Signifies ownership. Your car, your house, your children, it's all yours. It's describing something (adjective) that is yours (possessive).
YOU'RE: Contraction of a pronoun and a verb. It means "you are." You're coming with me, right? It signifies that the pronoun (you) is utilizing the verb "to be" (which conjugated for you is "are").
Here's a tip on how to always implement it correctly: When using you(re)(r) take the r or the re off and insert "are." If the addition of "are" makes sense, you want the contraction "you're." Example: "When we leave, should we take you're car or mine?" Is that sentence correct? Let's see. By taking the re off you're, we're left with: "Should we take you are car or mine?" NOPE. You'd want to use your in this case. For the college education pin I mentioned above: "What to do now that your done with college" would read "What do now that you are done with college." Make sense? YES! So the blogger really meant to use the contraction here, not the possessive adjective. I'm hoping she really learned that in
3) Where to put a period mark when using quotations
Here's one I learned the hard way! I remember it well. It was 2009 and I was submitting chapters of my Master's thesis to my committee chair for editing. I myself didn't know if the period should be inside or outside the quotation marks, but my best guess was out. WRONG. My chair was so annoyed with me, she refused to correct any more of my work until I corrected all my quotations (and in a thesis, you're quoting a ton of sources!) by placing them inside the quotation marks.
In MLA, Chicago and AP (Alternative Press) styles, which are the standard for media writing, the period ALWAYS goes inside the quotation mark. You don't have "floating periods." <--- case in point. Nothing should ever look like "this". <---floating period.
4) The use of the word "irregardless"
This one is really simple. There are no rules with this word. Why? BECAUSE IT IS NOT A WORD. Regardless is a word (I used it in number two intentionally to demonstrate meaning) but irregardless? Double negative. Not a real word, despite it's use in American speech. Don't believe me? Look it up (oh hey, I did it for you!) You start to use this word in your writing and you may as well use gooblygunk instead. Actually, that may be a word. Irregardless is not.
5)The use of the word "alot"
This one is also super simple. ALOT IS NOT A WORD. It's a lot. Two words. They're separated. With a space. In fact, spell check is angry with me just for writing that, so I'm not sure why I see it so often, but I do. I get that spell check doesn't catch everything, especially grammar, but dang! Run a spell check over your post or your email before you hit publish or send, and you'll look a whole lot smarter.
I hope that was helpful for a grammar brush up, or maybe even a learning opportunity if it's been a while since you've reviewed English grammar rules! Heck, you could even be flipping me the bird for my grammar-police-snarky commentary throughout this post, I don't care. As long as these 5 common grammar mistakes are stopped immediately and your communication is more clear because of it, it's a win-win in my book!