Monday, August 20, 2012

5 Most Annoying Grammar Mistakes

There are so many things that can go wrong grammatically when it come to the English language. From the plethora of exceptions to the rules outlined in our grammar books to the silent vowels that are invariably evident in our words, grammar is often a tough nut to crack for most of us. While nobody is perfect, there are some grammar mistakes that should never be made by anyone at any time. There are some mistakes that are made that are simply inexcusable. Here are five of them:

1. Confusing homophones like "they're," "their," and "there"

These three words are all different and they must never be mixed up. Confusing these words is criminal because it not only confuses your reader, but it is just plain annoying. Their is possessive and means the object belongs to someone. There is in reference to a place as in "neither here nor there." They're is perhaps the easiest one of all since you are given a clue as to the word's meaning by the apostrophe. They're is a conjunction standing for "they are." Please do not mix these common homophones up. It makes you sound unintelligent if you do not know the difference between these words.

2. Never use "of" as a verb

Everyday, people use this annoying slang, "should of," "could of," and "would of." This is clearly the wrong usage. Following should, could, and would should be the word "have" for example. All too often, people say "should of" when they actually mean "should have." Do not make this mistake by being too lazy to say or write the correct word.

3. Commas galore!

Use commas correctly. You do not need to pop a comma in every sentence just because you haven't done so in a while. Commas are necessary because they signify to the reader when to take a breath. However, a lot of times people overuse this form of punctuation. It is important to remember that while commas signify a break to the reader, there is no need to litter your entire paragraph with them.

4. The dangling participle

If you have a participial phrase, it needs to modify what follows next in the sentence. If you leave a phrase like this that has nothing to do with what you place after the comma you are leaving a dangling participle. This confuses your reader and fails to follow a coherent structure.

5. Fluffy words

It is understandable to want to sound intelligent and as if you have a strong mastery of the English language. However, many people mistakenly use elaborate words to sound smart, when they truly have no idea how to use these big words. This, in turn, makes you sound like you have no grasp on your vocabulary, while lowers your credibility in the reader's eyes. Stick to what you know and be sure to look up words you do not know. You will sound more intelligent and more credible.

While we make grammar mistakes, these five are quite possibly the most annoying of all. When it comes to your writing, remember, keep your homophones in check, never use "of" as a verb, limit your commas, refrain from leaving a dangling participle, and don't use too many fluffy words.

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