A funny look at the most common grammar and spelling mistakes.
Knowing proper grammar is imperative for a successful social and professional life. While most can easily look past improper grammar (mainly because many are unaware of proper forms as well), being knowledgeable of correct grammar gives you a one-up in your daily life. Given below are definitions and tips to help you remember the most common grammatical mistakes.
Also known as dangling modifiers, these are identified when a word or phrase that modifies a word not clearly stated in a sentence. In other words, they appear when an individual improperly places, or fails to place, a coherent description of a noun (or nouns) within a statement.
In the following examples, the phrase at the beginning sets us up for a noun that doesn’t exist! Dangling participles “dangle” because they hang out there with nothing to support!
Looking around the yard, flowers sprouted in every corner.
Who is looking around the yard? Not flowers! We know that the participle “looking” really refers to a person, and in the sentence that person should be “I”. To fix this sentence, you should add the noun to match your modifier.
LOOKING AROUND THE YARD, I COULD SEE THAT FLOWERS SPROUTED IN EVERY CORNER.
Eating like a hungry hippo, the dessert disappeared from my plate within seconds.
Who is doing the eating? Not the dessert! To fix this, add an “I”.
EATING LIKE A HUNGRY HIPPO, I MADE THE DESSERT DISAPPEAR…
Who and Whom
This one opens a big can of worms. “Who” is a subjective — or nominative — pronoun, along with “he,” “she,” “it,” “we,” and “they.” It’s used when the pronoun acts as the subject of a clause.
“Whom” is an objective pronoun, along with “him,” “her,” “it”, “us,” and “them.” It’s used when the pronoun acts as the object of a clause. Using “who” or “whom” depends on whether you’re referring to the subject or object of a sentence.
When in doubt, substitute “who” with the subjective pronouns “he” or “she,” e.g., Who loves you? vs., He loves me.Similarly, you can also substitute “whom” with the objective pronouns “him” or “her.” e.g., I consulted an attorney whom I met in New York. vs., I consulted him.
“An attorney” acts as an object in the latter statement, thus, enabling one to use “whom”. In the former sentence, “he”, or a person, is an active subject in the statement, thus making “who” the appropriate term to use.
Then vs. Than
There’s a simple distinction between these two words. Use “then” when discussing time. As in, “We had a meeting, and then we went to lunch.” Include “than” in comparisons. “This meeting was more productive than the last one.”
EFFECT VS. AFFFECT
“Effect” describes a result or outcome; it is the thing, or result, produced by an influential force.
“Affect” means to influence, or produce an impression. It is the factor that causes an Effect.
Here’s a trick to help you remember: “Affect” is almost always a verb (e.g., Facebook affects people’s attention spans).“Effect” is almost always a noun (e.g., Facebook’s effects can also be positive).
There are some exceptions. “Effect” may be used as a transitive verb, which means “to bring about or make happen”. e.g., My new computer effected a much-needed transition from magazines to Web porn. There are similarly rare examples where “affect” can be a noun. e.g., His lack of affect made him seem like a shallow person.
Lie vs. Lay
The term “lay” describes an object. Someone lays some thing somewhere. On the other hand, “lie” means to recline. Thus, to “lay down” is incorrect for a human to say, or do, personally. Lay, in that sense, only refers to the past. Therefore, if you need to “lay down” presently, the correct form of that statement for you to say is “lie down”.
Punctuation can make or break a sentence. There is a huge difference between “Let’s eat Grandpa”, and “Let’s eat, Grandpa”. With how frequently we communicate with email, simple mistakes (like the absence of a period) can completely twist your message: “I’m sorry you can’t come with us.” and “I’m sorry. You can’t come with us.”
And The Oxford Comma
Even with the controversy of the Oxford Comma:
A sentence is formed of two parts: subject and predicate. This arrangement can be quite simple.
Jourdan ate. — “Jourdan” is the subject and “ate” is the predicate.
THE MISUNDERSTOOD Phrases
Other MISUNDERSTOOD WORDS
Grammar Guide Infographic:
By: Jourdan Rombough