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The 10 Dumbest Grammar Mistakes.


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Catching typos is easy thanks to spell checkers, but flagrant grammatical errors are harder to spot. If you weren't paying attention in seventh grade English class during those boring grammar lessons, it could come back to haunt you decades later. Proper grammar is essential if you want to be seen as educated and professional.

Make any one of these 10 errors, and you'll just look dumb!

Error No. 1: It's/its

Explanation: "It's" is a contraction for "it is." If you aren't sure whether to use "its" or "it's," read the sentence and substitute the words "it is." Does it make sense? Then "it's" is correct. If not, use "its."

Wrong: Your home and all it's contents are only protected if you lock it when you leave.

Right: Your home and all its contents are only protected if you lock it when you leave.

Error No. 2: They're/their/there

Explanation: "They're" means "they are." "Their" is a possessive pronoun just like "her," "his," or "our." All other uses are "there."

Wrong: There going on they're weekly lunch date to the restaurant over their.

Right: They're going on their weekly lunch date to the restaurant over there.

Error No. 3: Effect/affect

Explanation: "Affect" is a verb that means to have an influence upon. "Effect" is a noun.

Wrong: Gold prices have no affect on purchasing power.

Right: Gold prices have no effect on purchasing power.

Wrong: The earnings report is not expected to effect the stock price in the long-term.

Right: The earnings report is not expected to affect the stock price in the long-term.

Error No. 4: Lay/lie

Explanation: You lay down the newspaper on the kitchen table in the morning, but you lie down on the couch to watch TV at night. Here's a good way to tell them apart: If the subject of the sentence is acting on something, it's "lay." If the subject is lying down, then it's "lie." And that's no lie!

Wrong: I'm going to lay down for a nap.

Right: I'm going to lie down for a nap.

Error No. 5: You're/your

Explanation: "You're" is the contraction for "you are," while "your" is used in all other instances.

Wrong: Your so smart to realize that you're short skirts and flip-flops aren't appropriate attire in the office.

Right: You're so smart to realize that your short skirts and flip-flops aren't appropriate attire in the office.

Error No. 6: Loose/lose

Explanation: "Loose" means something that is wobbly or baggy. "Lose" is to misplace or not be able to find something.

Wrong: Don't loose that house key.

Right: Don't lose that house key.

Error No. 7: Then/than

Explanation: If you're making a comparison, choose "than." If you're talking about time, choose "then."

Wrong: First you write and polish your resume, than you look for a job.

Right: First you write and polish your resume, then you look for a job.

Wrong: Joyce is prettier then Sarah.

Right: Joyce is prettier than Sarah.

Error No. 8: Could of/would of/should of instead of could have/would have/should have

Explanation: It may sound like "of" when you speak and slur your words together, but it's not! The correct form is always "have."

Wrong: I could of gotten into that college if I only knew the rules of grammar.

Right: I could have gotten into that college if I only knew the rules of grammar.

Error No. 9: Different than/different from

Explanation: This one is easy. Use "different from" and don't use "different than." Period. (If you're British, you may use "different to.")

Wrong: My computer at work is different than the one I have at home.

Right: My computer at work is different from the one I have at home.

Error No. 10: i.e./e.g

Explanation: "i.e" means "that is," while "e.g" means "for example. Both are Latin abbreviations and are always followed by a comma.

Wrong: On their first day of work, new employees are given free company goodies (i.e, T-shirts and mugs).

Right: On their first day of work, new employees are given free company goodies (e.g., T-shirts and mugs).

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I used bold because the quote tags weren't working for me.

Catching typos is easy thanks to spell checkers, but flagrant grammatical errors are harder to spot. If you weren't paying attention in seventh grade English class during those boring grammar lessons, it could come back to haunt you decades later. Proper grammar is essential if you want to be seen as educated and professional.

Make any one of these 10 errors, and you'll just look dumb!

Error No. 1: It's/its

I agree, and I see this a lot. If you are writing professionally, "It's" should never appear on your page, anyway, as you are generally not supposed to use contractions when writing professionally.

Error No. 2: They're/their/there

This one annoys me the most. My girlfriend does it all the time, and there's nothing I can do to make her change it.

Error No. 3: Effect/affect

I do not think this is a dumb grammar mistake. It is, however, a common one. I tend to typo this one every so often, and I know few people who actually use the correct version. It's hard to remember that Effect is a noun, and affect is a verb. Just see now that effect affects him.

Error No. 4: Lay/lie

Again, another one I do not think is "dumb", but will agree is very common. I make this one a lot; fortuantely, I rarely ever talk or write about laying or lying.

Error No. 5: You're/your

Don't we just love homonyms? This one annoys me, too. Some people just should not be allowed to use contractions, they would learn much better grammar that way.

Error No. 6: Loose/lose

This one bugs me, too. I think because "loose" is a shorter syllable than "lose" people tend to add an extra "o" for the longer syllable, when in fact the opposite is correct.

Error No. 7: Then/than

Yep, it's common, and I'm sure I've made this error more than once in recent years, then again, I've gotten pretty adept at using it.

Error No. 8: Could of/would of/should of instead of could have/would have/should have

'course, then there's the internet variations of "shoulda/woulda/coulda" I tend to type this way on AIM at times, and I shoulda considered changing it, and I woulda if I thought someone coulda cared :P

Error No. 9: Different than/different from

Explanation: This one is easy. Use "different from" and don't use "different than." Period. (If you're British, you may use "different to.")

Wrong: My computer at work is different than the one I have at home.

Right: My computer at work is different from the one I have at home.

I didn't even know this rule existed. Things tend to be different than I expect.

Error No. 10: i.e./e.g

Explanation: "i.e" means "that is," while "e.g" means "for example. Both are Latin abbreviations and are always followed by a comma.

Wrong: On their first day of work, new employees are given free company goodies (i.e, T-shirts and mugs).

Right: On their first day of work, new employees are given free company goodies (e.g., T-shirts and mugs).

I don't see how it's wrong to use "i.e." instead of "e.g." In the examples you've provided, both abbreviations are correct, given proper context. On their first day of work, if the new employees were only given T-shirts and mugs, then "i.e." works perfectly well to explain the free company goodies. If they were given T-shirts, mugs, pens, stationaries, etc., then perhaps I can see your point.

That's certainly not a "dumb" grammar mistake, when you consider that if you're using "i.e" or "e.g." you're writing on a more intellectual level. A common error, perhaps, but certainly not a dumb one.

I never thought semantics would be so fun

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