Whether it’s a business email, a thank you card or a PowerPoint presentation, most of us are writing something every day. By avoiding some of the most common grammatical mistakes, you can avoid the embarrassment of having someone point out an error in your writing. Here are some of Mackoul’s top grammar mistakes to avoid:
1. There vs. Their vs. They’re
· There = a place
· They’re = the contraction for they are
· Their = an object owned by a group of people
2. Then vs. Than
Use “then” when discussing time. Use “than” when showing comparisons.
3. Affect vs. Effect
The majority of the time you use “affect” as a verb and “effect” as a noun.
Example: The snow affected my event.
The snow did not have an effect on my event.
4. Dangling/Misplaced Modifiers – Modifiers are words or phrases that modify something else. Misplaced modifiers are modifiers that modify something you didn’t intend them to modify.
Example: Walking down the stairs, the clock chimed loudly.
Was the clock walking down the stairs? This should be rewritten to avoid reader confusion.
5. I vs. Me
“I” is a subject pronoun, and “me” is an object pronoun.
6. “Fewer” vs. “Less”
Use “fewer” when discussing countable objects. For example, “He ate five fewer cookies than his friend.” Use “less” for intangible concepts, like time.
7. It’s vs. Its
Use “it’s” as the shortened version of “it is.” Use “its” when you are showing possession.