Common Grammar Mistakes to Avoid

WORDS THAT SOUND ALIKE

Sometimes we confuse words that sound the same or similar.

You’re: You are.  // You’re a really nice person.
Your: Belonging to you.  // I like your hat.

They’re: They are.  // They’re going on vacation.
There: In a specified location.  // My car is parked over there.
Their: Belonging to them.  // Bill and Sally are on their honeymoon.

TIP: When in doubt, spell it out. Use you are and they are. Avoiding contractions will help you avoid errors.

To: Indicates movement or direction.  // Alex is going to school.
Too: Also.  // Joe likes pizza, too.
Too: In excess.  // Janet ate too much pizza.
Two: The whole number between one and three.  // Fred ate pizza for two days.

Then: Indicates time, order in a sequence.  // We will go to the movies, then we will get dinner.
Than: A term used for comparison.  // Anita is taller than Sebastian.


PRONOUNS

Who: A pronoun referring to a person.

That: A pronoun referring to an object or concept.


APOSTROPHES DO NOT FORM PLURALS

Most words just need an S added to the end.

  • Singular: Book
  • Plural: Books
  • Singular: Car
  • Plural: Cars
  • Singular: Computer
  • Plural: Computers

Most words that end in an S get an ES at the end to become plural. Still, no apostrophe.

  • Singular: Guess
  • Plural: Guesses
  • Singular: Glass
  • Plural: Glasses
  • Singular: Lens
  • Plural: Lenses

Sometimes a plural is a different word altogether, but it still does not use an apostrophe.

  • Singular: Mouse
  • Plural: Mice
  • Singular: Goose
  • Plural: Geese
  • Singular: Tooth
  • Plural: Teeth

Apostrophes are used for possession.

  • The book’s cover is blue.
  • My car’s windshield is cracked.
  • She replaced the computer’s hard drive.

PERIODS AND QUESTION MARKS

A period ends a sentence that is a statement (a telling sentence).

  • I am going shopping.
  • Sally likes Italian food.
  • The sky is blue.

A question mark ends a sentence that is a question (an asking sentence).

  • Are you going shopping?
  • What kind of food does Sally like?
  • What color is the sky?

Sometimes, when we make a statement that tells the reader that we are wondering or questioning something, we want to put a question mark at the end.

  • I thought we were going to the movies?

Wrong!

It is still a statement. A period ends a sentence that is a statement (a telling sentence).

  • I thought we were going to the movies.

The writer is telling the reader something, not asking a question.

 

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