Here at Daily Mayo, every now and then I like to talk about writing tips. Today’s post is all about common grammar mistakes everyone makes.
Everyone makes grammar mistakes. Even writers with decades of experience and even professional editors still make grammar mistakes. You can study grammar all your life and still not get the hang of everything simply because not only is English grammar crazy, but much of it is subjective. Still, there are common grammar mistakes everyone makes based on the standard grammar rules. I’ve struggled with some of these grammar mistakes myself, and I bet many of you have, too!
You probably won’t be surprised by this, but my husband and I have gotten into heated arguments over several of these grammar mistakes everyone makes. Why? Mainly because we’re both always right. 🙂
10 Common Grammar Mistakes Everyone Makes
This one should be easy, but it isn’t. I think of it like this:
Someone is good.
Something is well.
You are a good person, you did that well. This may not always work out, but it usually does, so I go with it.
Commonly, I hear people use “I” when they ought to say “me.” For eaxmple, you would say “I went to the store,” so you would say, “George and I went to the store.” But you would never say “George threw a rock at I,” so you should also never say “George through rocks at Sharon and I.”
When you are the subject use “I.” When you are the object, use “me.”
Empty words are basically the bread of language. They fill up space, they are easy to use, but they are basically worthless. I am guilty of this and so are a lot of writers. In casual speech, empty words are allowed, but they drag down the quality of formal writing. Try to avoid these common empty words:
- There are
My husband and I have almost come to blows on this one, but it turns out he was right (sigh).
Bring means to draw something closer to you, while take means to move it away from you. You would say, “George is taking me to the movies,” and George would say, “Make sure you bring money because I am not paying.”
Which and that are easy to mix up. “That” is restrictive and “which” is relative. So, you would say, “I only eat foods that are made from chocolate,” or “Do you like fish? I recommend salmon which has many beneficial nutrients.”
This is actually a new one for me. Nauseous actually means that you make other people sick- kind of like noxious means a fowl odor. So, if you do feel sick, you feel nauseated. If you are nauseous, you should probably shower. Because that’s just gross.
This is a common grammar error when writers make a comparison, but to nothing. The writer might say, “Our hot dogs taste better!” And of course you are left questioning, “better than what?” This is often used in marketing- I’m assuming so you can fill in the comparison with whatever you want, but it is still wrong.
So, always make sure you complete the comparison. “Our hot dogs taste better than dog poop,” for example.
Guess what? There is no such word as “alot.” It is actually two words. A and lot. I like you a lot or a little. Never alot.
This is another nearly violent argument I’ve had with my husband. Which spouse was right in this debate?
Into is a phrase that indicates movement “She stepped into the shallow stream.” In to can be used in more places and usually ties in with other parts of the sentence (such as infinitive verbs like “to eat”). So, basically, you can use into whenever the phrase indicates movement and does not tie in with other parts of the sentence.
Sadly, I think my husband was also right on this one, so perhaps the wrong spouse is an editor.
I usually see this in bot writing, but students will also do it to inflate their word counts. These are the sentences that you will see that use words that are absolutely meaningless.
Here are some superfluous phrases that make me cringe:
- On account of the fact that
- In that period of time
- The fact of the matter is
- A large proportion of
- In conjunction with
- For all intents and purposes
Cheers to your better grammar future.
What grammar mistakes do you hate the most?