Grammatically Incorrect

School misspelled
Despite a literary background, I still get confused by a bunch of words and grammar rules in English.  That might indicate I’m not too smart, or that the English language is a fracking mess of inconsistencies and exceptions.  I’m going with No. 2 for now.
When writing (not just for the web), here are a few common goofs to watch out for: 
  1. Affect / Effect:  Basically, use “affect" when you need a verb and “effect" if using it as a noun. Example: The effect of pollution was to affect many people.
  2. Who / Whom: “Who" is a subject; whereas “whom" is an object.   The Grammar Girl’s trick for remembering which is which is the he/him test.  "Like 'whom,' the pronoun 'him' ends with 'm.'”  If you could substitute him in the sentence, use whom; if he, then use who.  Example:  Who knows whom?
  3. Irregardless is not a word, regardless of where it's used.
  4. Practice / Practise: In the US they can both be used.  Outside the US, “practice" is a noun and “practise" is a verb.  Enough said.  We can all be Americans for those sentences.
  5. Principle / Principal:  “Principle" is a noun and means tenet or basic truth.  As a noun, “principal" (with a -pal) is a person who runs a school or part of a loan.  As an adverb, it usually is used to mean primarily.
  6. Like:  Use it as a verb to mean appreciate.  Example: I like broccoli.  Or use it as a preposition meaning similar.  Example: Like you, I like broccoli.  But don’t use it as an interjection ("Like, we all went to the movies, like, and then, like, we went home.") unless you’re 14 and live in Brentwood.
  7. Its / It’s:  “Its" is the possessive of it. Example: The dog wagged its tail.  “It’s" is a contraction of it and is.  Example: It’s time the dog wagged its tail.
  8. Alternately / Alternatively: Alternately means to take turns.  Alternatively means an option.
  9. Quote / Quotation: Quote is a verb, whereas quotation is a noun.  Example:  He quoted a Simpson’s quotation.
  10. Should of isn’t correct.  It’s should have.
What grammatical mistakes do you commonly make, and how do you remember to correct them?

Share your thoughts!

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.
Help kill spam.
Enter the characters shown in the image.