Writing isn’t easy.
From word choice to syntax to punctuation, there are so many chances to make magic or fall flat on your face.
Unfortunately, our tech-obsessed generation relies on emojis, “LOLs” and acronyms far more than proper grammar. If you’re a writer like me, you try to double-check your work before you hit submit. Yet, it’s almost impossible to be perfect.
Here are five common grammar mistakes that will send your editor (or whomever reads your work) over the edge.
They’re vs. There vs. Their
The trifecta. The thorn in your side.
Trying to figure out what version to use can be troublesome for both students and adults. According to Katy Koontz, editor-in-chief at Unity Magazine, mixing up ‘their’ and ‘there’ is a major pet peeve. Oh, and don’t forget about ‘they’re’ either.
To try and avoid making this mistake, keep in mind that ‘they’re’ is a contraction for ‘they are’ and is used to describe a group doing something. For possession, always use ‘their.’ And finally, ‘there’ can be utilized as an adverb, pronoun or noun to describe a state or condition.
There you have it.
Your vs. You’re
If you’re talking to a grammar guru, typing the wrong version of ‘your’ can be a quick way to end your chances of a second date. Believe me, I’ve heard about it.
Keep in mind that the contracted version (you’re) is used for describing someone in the process of doing something. So if you use it correctly, you’re smart.
‘Your’ is used for possessive purposes. So use your common sense and make sure you’re not one of the many people who mess this up on a daily basis.
Everyday vs. Every Day
When you do something every day, it becomes a routine. It’s an everyday routine you might say.
Keep in mind that ‘everyday’ is an adjective used to describe something you do routinely.
On the other hand, ‘every day’ actually mean ‘each individual day.’ As Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology humanities instructor Kendra Stanton Lee puts it, “I tell my students the way to remember if it’s two words is to test whether the sentence makes sense to say ‘every single day.'”
That vs. Who
Always use ‘who’ when describing a person. For example, I am the one who is trying to teach you a few grammar rules.
On the other hand, use ‘that’ when referring to inanimate objects. That should just about do it.
It’s vs. Its
Isn’t it funny how a simple apostrophe can change the whole meaning of a word? In the case of it’s vs. its, it all comes down to possession.
Koontz has a helpful tip for remembering the difference. Utilize ‘its,’ which do not have an apostrophe, for possession – just as you would use ‘his’ or ‘hers’.
On the flip side, “it’s” is a contraction for ‘it is.’ As in, it’s vital to remember the difference!
Keep these grammar tips in mind and it’s going to be a lot easier to make your editor (or teacher) happy.