We all make mistakes, even when it comes to grammar. However, some mistakes are more common than others.
In fact, 10 of the most common grammar mistakes are listed below. So before you hit publish on your next blog post or email, double-check to make sure you’re not making these errors. After all, nobody wants to look like they don’t know what they’re doing!
1. Incorrect use of Homophones
Homophonic words are words that are pronounced in the same way as other words but have different meanings, even if they are spelled differently. This can obviously create confusion and unfortunately, there are many pairs of homophonic words in English.
they’re/their/there; you’re/your; it’s/its; I/eye;break/brake.
When you’re writing, be careful to choose the right word based on its meaning, not just its pronunciation.
2. Mixing up adjectives and adverbs
Adjectives describe, identify and quantify people or things and usually go in front of a noun. They don’t usually change if the grammatical person changes.
Adverbs modify verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs and usually come after the verb.
He runs slowly. (adverb modifying the verb ‘runs’)
She’s a slow driver. (adjective describing the noun ‘driver’)
He drove slowly down the street. (adverb modifying the verb ‘drove’)
3. Misplacing Modifiers
Modifiers are words, phrases, or clauses that add a description to another element in a sentence. They can be placed before or after the element they are modifying, but they must be placed close to that element.
badly written article (modifier misplaced)
An article that is written badly (correct placement of modifier)
In the kitchen (modifier misplaced)
I was in the kitchen (correct placement of modifier)
4. Forgetting to use Articles
Articles are words like ‘a’, ‘an’, and ‘the’ that we use in front of nouns. We don’t always need to use them, but when we do, it’s important to get them right.
I have a sister. (correct)
I have sister. (incorrect – no article is needed because ‘sister’ is being used as a general term)
5. Using the wrong Verb Tense
The English language has many different verb tenses, which can be tricky to remember. However, it’s important to use the correct tense when you’re writing, especially if you want your sentences to sound fluent.
I am writing a letter. (present tense)
I wrote a letter. (past tense)
I will write a letter. (future tense)
6. Using the incorrect word
Searching for the right word does not always result in its discovery. You might select a word that looks or sounds similar without realizing it.
The team played good. (incorrect)
The team played well. (correct)
It is I. (incorrect)
It is me. (correct)
7. Confusing subject and Object Pronouns
Subject pronouns are ‘I’, ‘you’, ‘he’, ‘she’, ‘it’, and ‘they’. Object pronouns are ‘me’, ‘you’, ‘him’, ‘her’, ‘it’, and ‘them’.
Subject pronouns are always in the subject position, whereas object pronouns are always in the object position. In other words, subject pronouns perform the action while object pronouns receive the action.
He gave it to me. (The subject pronoun ‘he’ is performing the action of giving. The object pronoun ‘me’ is receiving the action.)
8. Unneeded Comma
Commas are used to distinguish and group ideas. Even if a sentence contains multiple ideas, you may not need to use a comma.
I want to go for a run, but I’m tired. (no comma needed)
9. Making use of Quotation Marks
When you share someone’s exact words, you must use quotation marks before and after the quote. If your quote comes at the end of a sentence, the period should be placed inside the quote. If not, a comma inside the quote will suffice to continue the sentence.
However, if you’re paraphrasing or summarizing what someone said, you don’t need to use quotation marks.
She said, “I love learning English.” (quotation marks needed)
She said that she loves learning English. (no quotation marks needed)
Certain words must be capitalized each and every time they are used. Capitalize the pronoun “I” and proper nouns at all times (names of people, places, historical events, brand names, days of the week, holidays, and titles).
I am writing a letter. (correct)
She went to London on Monday. (correct)
He is a great writer. (correct)
English grammar can be tricky, but by avoiding these ten common grammatical errors, you’ll be on your way to sounding like a pro!
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