Grammar Still Counts

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I’ve said it before: buying Microsoft Word does not make you a writer, just like the fact that I own a few power tools does not make me a carpenter (in fact, I’m really not allowed to use the power tools at home. Safety issues).

Just because you’re writing for a blog instead of a traditional media outlet, the rules of spelling and grammar are not suspended (abbreviations on Twitter are a bit different because of the 140 character limitation).

Here are a few things I’d like to see members of the blogosphere get a handle on:

  • Your vs. you’re. No, it’s not “your going to the store.” It’s “you’re (you are) going to the store.” Your means it belongs to you, like your car (or your grammatical error).
  • Too vs. to. You go to the store. Your mom can go too. However, if your sister wants to go, you may have too many to fit in one car. Got it? Two, of course, means one less than three. People seem to understand that one, but I too often see “we had to many.” No! Too many!
  • Less vs. fewer. If you can count them, it’s fewer — as in 15 items or fewer, not less (I won’t even start about taking 20 items into that lane. That’s another post). If it’s volume, it’s less — as in he drank less beer. Fewer cans of beer, less beer.
  • “That’s a tough road to hoe.” Think about it. When in your life have you ever seen someone hoeing a road? It’s a tough row to hoe, as in a row of crops. Better yet, avoid the cliche.
  • They’re vs. their vs. there. Stay with me here — They’re (they are) going to have to take their (possessive) car and park over there (direction). The words are not interchangeable, they just sound alike.
  • Irregardless. If anyone can tell me the difference between “regardless” and “irregardless” and clearly explain what that “ir” does to change the meaning, that person may use the word all over the Interwebz. Until then, please stick with regardless.
  • Affect vs. effect. In almost all cases, affect is a verb, effect is a noun. Plain and simple.
  • I vs. me. I see lots of mistakes here. “Bob and me are going to get coffee” is wrong. Check yourself by dropping Bob out of the sentence. Would you “me am going to get coffee?” No, so it’s “Bob and I are going to get coffee.” Same test for me: “that table belongs to Bob and I.” Again, would you say, “that table belongs to I?” Nope. So, “that table belongs to Bob and me.”
There’s more, but these are the errors I see over and over. What are some of your pet grammar peeves?
Photo credit: “Write” by the trial. Creative Commons license.

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