An Uncomplicated Life Blog: 5 Common Grammar Mistakes To Stop Making Immediately

Friday, December 11, 2015

5 Common Grammar Mistakes To Stop Making Immediately

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 college grade school and it was just a typo.

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!


  1. The grammar nerd in ME is so glad that YOU'RE posting about this. REGARDLESS of what others think, I think everyone should know these before they leave grade school. A LOT of people may say, "but it doesn't matter." <<<
    But, it does. It really does.

    I think I worked all of those in THERE. ;)

  2. Sharing, sharing, sharing. I don't think you have to be pregnant to get annoyed with all these mistakes! Some blogs I have read are so bad and annoy me so much that I instantly click off their blog. The "I" rule gets me all the time and always makes me so mad... and I'm and engineering major, which rarely focuses on English! This is such a great post that many people, not just bloggers, need to read.

  3. I cant stand it when people use irregardless. It's not a word!!!! And your/youre drives me bananas too!

  4. My husband bought me a shirt one year for Christmas that said "warning: I am silently correcting your grammar." I love it!

  5. Great tips, lady!!! I know many people who just use blank and I and think it's right. SO NOT RIGHT PEOPLE!

  6. Hahah YES!!!!! I love your comment "Forgive me if I'm snarky." I get beyond annoyed when people mix up there/their/they're. It's NOT that hard, people!

  7. Irregardless makes me laugh - more so because it doesn't have that squiggly line that it's not a real word! xo, Biana -BlovedBoston

  8. I also think that "being obsessed" with something should be removed permanently but you know our strong feelings on that ;-)

    Loved that I and me difference plus the perfect example of it. Makes total sense now.

  9. I corrected all my quotations (and in a thesis, you're quoting a ton of sources!) by placing them inside the period. <---- I thought the period goes inside the quotation?

  10. Yesssssssssss I love this post!! I wrote one grammar post so far and have oh so many more to go. Even just seeing the period outside the quotation marks makes me cringe. The you/me thing is a pet peeve of mine, too. Two things are especially annoying about it for me: 1. when people think you're wrong because they think it's always blah blah and I and 2. I have noticed in a lot of my daughter's books they use this incorrectly.

  11. As a language teacher I'm a big fan of this! The floating period always gets me. I see that one all the time! So glad you're setting some people straight ;)

  12. The I and me is tricky, but important to learn

  13. Your and you're mistakes annoy me so much when I see them. There/Their/They're is also another one that grinds me haha. Loved this post!

    Jess | It's That Time For...

  14. OMG have you read about the alot on Hyperbole and a Half? LOL I always think of it when I read 'alot' now.

  15. Yes! I get so annoyed seeing these (and plenty more) all over the internet. I think it's worse at work, or when you're reading a blog post by someone that should know better. Maybe you should do a part 2 (and then some...) to help out our illiterate friends!

  16. Oh girl I'm laughing. YES!!!! One of our friends said irregardless this weekend and the hubs and I looked at each other like, "Come on man!" How do people not know this?! And your example for how to figure out if you should use I or me; I totally do that because I don't want to be wrong. And there/their/they're mistakes are right up there with your/you're.

  17. i am definitely not amazing or whatever with grammar and the like, but you know what always drives me bonkers? when people use loose instead of lose. drives me absolutely bonkers.

  18. How about it's versus its (it's means it is, its is possessive) or worse, when people don't know how to use apostrophes at all!! Dad's means dad owns something (dad's car), dads means multiple fathers. I can't stand reading a blog with the wrong apostrophe usage, it's the easiest grammar rule ever!

  19. I love this. It made me smile & I learned something (#3)

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