As a writer, words are the tools of my trade. Putting them together properly is important to me. And as a parent, I want to hear my kids speak properly, without any of the grammar errors so prevalent in the vocabulary of today’s teenagers.
So here are ten simple grammatical errors that are like fingernails on a chalkboard to me.
- Lie/lay: You lay your book down and lie down for a nap.
- Had/would have: If I had known about this, I would have been angry.
- Of: That was not so great a story – not so great of a story. The of is completely unnecessary to the sentence.
- Less/fewer: I have fewer problems with less money.
- Would have, not would of: I would have gone to the party if I’d known my friends would be there.
- Went/gone: If I had gone (not went) to the party, I’d have seen them.
- Its/it’s: Its is possessive, it’s means it is.
- Their/there/they’re: Their is possessive, there is a place, and they're is a contraction meaning they are.
- Saw/seen: Few things great more than hearing a person said I seen instead of I saw.
- Your/you’re: Again, your is possessive, while you’re means you are.
Bonus #1: Could care less/couldn’t care less: Could care less means you care greatly, couldn’t care less means you’re indifferent.
Bonus #2: Good/well. When someone asks how your new manuscript is going, tell them it’s going well, not good. A family story that still makes me laugh – 15 years later – is that when I was in labor with my daughter, my husband told me I was doing good. Between panting and blowing, I snapped, “That’s doing well!”
Perhaps that’s why that same child, my daughter, coined the phrase, “Grammarific” when talking about me!