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How to Nail Perfect Grammar Even if You Slept Through Grade School

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Don’t end a sentence with a preposition…

 

Between the deep dark of the internet and the screenshots your friends take, nothing is ever forgotten. Especially the improper use of the English language.

 

We all know someone (and if you’re lucky, it’s you) who has impeccable grammar and spelling skills, but they abuse their knowledge and can turn it against you in the comments section, via text, or on your social channels. Here are 10 common grammar mistakes so you can easily dodge the nitpickers:

 

They're vs. Their vs. There

“They’re” is a contraction of “they” and “are.”

“Their” is possessive and claims ownership of something.

“There” is referring to a place.

 

You’re vs. Your

“You’re” is a contraction of “you” and “are.

“Your” claims ownership of something.

 

Affect vs. Effect

Affect is a verb meaning to influence something.

Effect is a noun which refers to the thing being influenced.

 

(If you still aren’t sure try using “impact” instead, just to be safe.)

 

Further vs. Farther

Further is an imaginary distance, figuratively speaking.

Farther speaks to actual, physical distance traveled.

 

i.e. vs. e.g.

i.e.: in essence, or in other words

e.g.: exempli gratia, or for example

 

Less vs. Fewer

Less is used for inanimate objects and anything that isn’t plural. (e.g.: money or time)

Fewer is for plurals and things you count.

 

A brand or company is an “It,” not a "They"

A business is not plural. And since it’s also not a “he” or “she,” it needs to be referred to as an “it.”

(e.g., "My company is having its annual holiday party this weekend...")

 

Comma splices

Similar to a run-on sentence, these are not a good thing. Comma splices occur when two independent clauses are connected with only a comma. They are considered independent for a reason. Keep them that way, or add the appropriate conjunction.

 

Subject-Verb Agreement

If the subject is singular, the verb must be singular.

If the subjects are plural, the verbs must be plural.

 

Me vs. I

Use “me” when the subjects can be used interchangeably to the verb.

Use “I” when the subjects are linked as they apply to the verb.

 

Kelly took Stephanie and me to the store. (You wouldn’t say “Kelly took I to the store.”)

Stephanie and I went to the store. (“Stephanie went to the store.” “I went to the store.”)

 

Really impress your grammatically correct friends with this:

The interrobang, represented by ?! or !?, is a nonstandard punctuation mark used in written language and combines the functions of the question mark and the exclamation mark (e.g., “WTF!?”).

 

Stop wondering if anyone is silently correcting your grammar when you speak and start being the one to correct others! Oh, and for the love of everything…stop saying “I seen.” There are so many others to learn—share your own grammar pet peeves below!

 



Last Updated: January 6, 2017
About the author

Cally Martin

Callan is a social media loving, blog writing, event planning freelancer who believes in the power of the oxford comma. Originally from America’s high-five (Michigan), she’s been in Austin since 2015 and doesn’t plan on moving anytime soon. When not attached to WiFi, she can be found running around the lake or drinking mimosas at brunch.