The world is full of them, and they are all around me. When I see them, I wince with excruciating pain. Their perpetrators should be jailed.
What are they? They are mistakes in grammar, spelling and word usage. And they’re everywhere.
Since I can’t take a big red pen and correct every error in sight or strike from the record everything anyone has ever said, I’d like to help the world out a bit by explaining some aspects of the English language to all of you here.
Lia’s Top 10 Grammar/Spelling/Word Usage Tips:
1) To / too / two
To = preposition. Too = also. Two = one plus one.
I am going TO the store. Oh yeah? Me TOO. The TWO of us should go together.
2) You’re / your
You’re is a contraction of “you are.” The apostrophe replaces the space and the “a.” Your means “belonging to you.”
YOU’RE pretty, but not as pretty as YOUR sister is.
3) It’s / its
It’s is a contraction of “it is.” Its means belonging to “it.”
IT’S a shame the dog doesn’t even know ITS own name.
Do NOT do this:
4) Their / they’re / there
Their = belonging to them. They’re = they are. There = not here.
THEY’RE gone. Where did they go? They went over THERE. Too bad, because I wanted to eat THEIR food.
5) Than / then
Than is used to compare things. Then is what happens after now.
You are better THAN he is at basketball. If you teach him how to play, THEN maybe he’ll be a better player.
6) Good / well
Good is an adjective (describes a noun), well is an adverb (describes a verb).
She sings WELL, but she’s not a GOOD dancer.
7) Everyday / every day
Everyday (one word) = adjective. Every day (two words) = adverb.
She usually wears her EVERYDAY clothes EVERY DAY of the week, but on Saturday, she dressed up.
8) Apostrophes in years
When describing a decade, just add an “s” at the end of the four-digit year. When you’re just using the two-digit year, add an “s” at the end, and add an apostrophe at the beginning.
Remember: an apostrophe means something is missing.
I was born in the late 1980s, but I listen to music from the ‘60s and ‘70s.
9) Freshman / freshmen
Freshman is singular and freshmen is plural; however, freshman can also be used as an adjective.
When in doubt, replace the words with sophomore or sophomores and you’ll know what to do.
Hey FRESHMEN! Come to the FRESHMAN Bonding Night. All the cool FRESHMEN will be there. But don’t worry, Mark won’t be there because he’s not a FRESHMAN. He’s a sophomore.
(Replace with “sophomore”: Hey sophomores! Come to the Sophomore Bonding Night. All the cool sophomores will be there. But don’t worry, Mark won’t be there because he’s not a sophomore. He’s a junior.)
10) Fewer than / less than
Fewer than is used for individual items, and less than is used for bulk or quantity.
FEWER THAN 20 people visited the restaurant and those people spent LESS THAN $100, so the owner had to go out of business. I went to the supermarket and bought LESS food THAN I bought yesterday, and I paid for it in the “10 Items or FEWER” line.
And there you have it: 10 easy guidelines to speaking and writing English properly. THEY’RE very useful, and knowing grammar WELL is better THAN sounding like an idiot. Use these rules EVERY DAY!