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Top 10 Annoying Grammar Mistakes (and how to avoid them)

Grammar is a tough, tough beast. I’m not sure why. My guess: it’s because most of the mistakes we make are on concepts that we learned in the third grade.

After third grade, we’re expected to remember, but the concepts aren’t reviewed very often and we just forget. I know I did. I had a rude wake-up call when I started teaching College Composition classes ten years ago. Teaching is really the best way to learn! When I started teaching Composition, I got a heck of a lot smarter – and in a hurry.

Top 10 Grammar Mistakes Bloggers Make and How to Avoid Them

The advent of social media has made grammar errors even worse, yet. No longer do we need to think about proper grammar at all. Capitalization – what’s that? Why do we need spelling rules – UR anyone?

Tell me I’m not the only person who texts with proper capitalization, punctuation, and spelling?? And there are soooo many blogs, and so many people writing whatever they want. I can say this because I make a ton of mistakes myself.

Here are ten grammar mistakes or typos you might make that you will want to fix as soon as you see them!

Top 10 Grammar Mistakes Bloggers Make {and how to avoid them}

1. It’s/ its

Please, please, please, do me a huge favor and read the lesson here.  Bottom line. It’s = IT IS. Always.  It’s is never, ever, ever, ever possessive, just to throw a wrench in everything you thought you knew about apostrophes and possessive words. 😉 The dog’s head = its head. his head. her head.

Apostrophes are not used to make pronouns possessive. Not it’s head. Not his’s head. Not her’s head.  It’s head = it is head. I see this one mistake more than almost any other. If you take nothing else away from this post, please learn the difference between it’s and its.

 2. Would of / could of / should of 

WRONG! Instead of the word OF, use HAVE. Would HAVE/ Could HAVE/ Should HAVE. That is all. Read more here, if you’re curious.

3. Your / you’re

It’s not YOUR welcome, friends. It’s YOU’RE welcome. Always. You can read more here.

4. There / they’re/ their

I hope most of the errors I see with these three homophones are simply typos. But if you’re unsure, read up on the different usages here.

5. Definately — (the number one most misspelled word in the English language)

DEFINITELY is the spelling you want to use.That’s def·i·nite·ly. Unless you are talking about your defiant child. But even then, definately is still spelled wrong. 😉

6. Affect / effect —

Long story short: effect is almost always a noun. Affect is usually a verb {though there are exceptions – to both}.  Will knowing the effect of the drought in California affect your gardening choices in 2014?  You can read more on this concept at The Grammar Girl, if you want more information. When in doubt, though, just use a different word. Impact is a great choice! Will knowing the impact of the drought in California impact your gardening choices?

7. I vs me

This one depends on context. It’s proper to say I went to the store – not me went to the store. Everyone knows that, right? But, would you say, Please give directions to my friends and I? or would you say, Please give directions to my friends and me?

In this case, you want to choose – Please give directions to my friends and me. And here’s why – Please give directions to me. Not please give directions to I, right? Doesn’t that make sense? You can read the nitty-gritty here. When in doubt, just break your sentence down to include only I or me. You’ll be able to tell right away which word is proper.

8. Possessive vs plural

Okay, my friends. This is a tough one for some reason. Apostrophes do NOT notate plurality. Unless you mean to show that something belongs to something, or to join two words together to make contraction, just don’t use an apostrophe. Please read here for more detail’s. Gotcha! 😉

9. Suppose to / supposed to

What can I say about this one? There’s always a D on the end of SupposeD to. If you don’t believe me, read here.

10. Who’s / whose — 

This one is similar to the it’s and its example above. Who’s = WHO IS. Always. WHOSE is the possessive form even though it has no apostrophe. Stupid English language. It’s just trying to confuse you. I promise you that I’m right though. 🙂

The best way to get your point across is to be credible. And the best way to be credible? Know your grammar. Avoid spelling errors. Understand homophones. Capitalize words properly. And help out your fellow bloggers. If you see any of the mistakes I mentioned above in posts you read, I bet the author would like to know! A thoughtful comment {or a private email} might be appreciated. 

top 10 word choice errors

If you’re looking for helpful grammar resources, here are my top picks:

Grammarly – Instantly fix over 250 types of errors with this free web-based grammar checker!

Strunk & White Elements of Style

The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation 

Eats, Shoots, and Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation 

The Grammar Girl’s Quick & Dirty Tips for Better Writing

Chasing Joy

Wednesday 12th of March 2014

So I have been using it's and who's incorrectly my entire writing life.

Michelle Marine

Thursday 13th of March 2014

Lots of people have! There's still time to learn and fix it!

Lynn

Saturday 1st of March 2014

My pet peave is using the word "cement" describing a sidewalk, parking lot, etc. The word is "concrete"--not cement. Cement is one of the ingrediants of concrete. Even Stephen King has written about cement sidewalks--shame, shame.

Michelle Marine

Sunday 2nd of March 2014

Hehehe! I will try to get this right for you, Dad. :-) I know I call it the wrong thing.

Lisa Nelson

Saturday 1st of March 2014

Great post! Thanks so much for sharing! I probably have made all these mistakes and more. It's funny that you mention Affect and Effect, because I was just looking at that a few days ago. Same with I and Me!

Pinning!

Kristina @ School Time Snippets

Thursday 27th of February 2014

Yikes! I DEFINITELY do #2-- oops!! Will work on that! Also apostrophes are my weakness, too ; ) {Yep, had to scroll back up to check the spelling on that one!} Thanks for the tips!

Michelle Marine

Thursday 27th of February 2014

1/10's not bad, Kristina! :-) I think I will do a post just on apostrophes. They cause a lot of grief. Thanks for commenting.

Tina

Wednesday 26th of February 2014

I think this is a great post and an even more wonderful series. As a self-professed grammar nerd, I'm obnoxious about checking and rechecking my work. However, I tend to be more gracious with others simply because I recognize that not everyone has had the benefit of the training and practice that I have had. I would hate for anyone to come to this series and feel beaten up if this is an area of weakness. We all have our weaknesses.

Thank you so much for sharing your experience and resources!!

Michelle Marine

Wednesday 26th of February 2014

Tina - I hope no feels beaten up by me. That's certainly not my intent, at all. Knowledge is power, but mistakes still happen - look through my posts and I know you will find some. :-)

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As an Amazon Associate Michelle Marine, SimplifyLiveLove, earns from qualifying purchases.