TYPO Is Just a Euphemism! Common Grammar Flubs...

Monday, October 03, 2011
by Arlene Miller

A couple of years ago, former spelling bee champion Jeff Deck and his friend Benjamin Herson embarked upon The Great Typo Hunt, a road trip from coast to coast of the United States in which they located and corrected typos! The journey has now been made into a book and a blog. They found over 400 typos on their trip.

Now, you and I both know that these really were not all typos...a typo is when your fingers inadvertently hit the wrong key, right? For the most part, these are MISTAKES!!!!!

Well, as an editor, teacher, and author of The Best Little Grammar Book Ever, I know a mistake when I see one. What do you think are some of the most common mistakes in grammar (spelling, punctuation, and usage)? My book covers a myriad of mistakes, but when I really think about it, there are a few mistakes that appear over and over and over again. I was hoping to give you a Top Ten List, but I think it is going to be a mere Top Four!

In no real particular order, here are the Top Four Grammar Mistakes of the Current Time:

1. What is with that apostrophe in a plain old plural noun?

Here are my vacation photo’s! What?? Oh, you mean photos!!

There is NO apostrophe in a plural noun unless it is a number, letter, or symbol (a’s, 5’s, &’s).

2. Doesn’t anyone know the difference between your and you’re anymore, or are they just too lazy to use the apostrophe? (Hint: Take the apostrophe from the plural it doesn’t belong in!)

I hope your coming with us. Huh??? Oh, you mean you’re!

3. Just because you say “Harry and I are going to the movies,” you don’t have to use I all the time. Sometimes it really is ME! If the pronoun is a direct object, indirect object, or object of a preposition, you use me (or her or him or them or us or whom!)

He gave the tickets to my friend and I. Well, if he didn’t give the tickets to I, then he didn’t give the tickets to my friend and I either! Me is correct here.

4. YOU CANNOT SEPARATE TWO SENTENCES WITH A COMMA!!!!! (Oh, I am sorry...am I shouting?) You just can’t. It is called a comma splice.

I hope you can attend the meeting, it will be very productive. Sorry, no way. (Oh, is that a comma splice?) There are several ways to fix this:
I hope you can attend the meeting. It will be very productive.
I hope you can attend the meeting; it will be very productive.
I hope you can attend the meeting because it will be very productive.


Arlene Miller is a writer, editor, and teacher. Her business, bigwords101, provides grammar and business writing workshops to corporations and other groups. Her workshops use her book, The Best Little Grammar Book Ever!

The Best Little Grammar Book Ever is available on Arlene’s website, as well as on Amazon (and Kindle), Barnes and Noble (and Nook), and other online booksellers.

Find out more about Arlene by visiting her website, http://www.bigwords101.com/,  or contact her via email at bigwords101[at]yahoo[dot]com.


Rev. Linda M. Rhinehart Neas, M.Ed. said...

Thank you, Arlene! I am recommending your book to my ESL Grammar class. You make grammar fun!

Candice said...

Hi, Arlene ! Those are the ones that make me cringe, too :) I have one more, though: "Between" and "among" seem never to be used properly any more !

Arlene Miller said...

Linda and Candice - Thanks for the comments! Yes, between and among are in the book! My favorite is "between you and I"!!

Linda - Thanks for recommending the book!


Annette said...

Ah, yes, the many grammar and punctuation mistakes that make me cringe. Those are some good ones.

I'm curious; what source did you use for your rule on #1? The Chicago Manual of Style (the publishing industry bible) doesn't agree: Plurals and Punctuation of Numbers 9.58 (8s, not 8's). Plurals of Letters, Abbreviations, and Numerals 7.15 (The three Rs, not r's).

Another one of my apostrophe peeves is when someone uses it incorrectly in years.
It's the 1980s, not 1980's.
I grew up in the '80s, not 80's.
The woman was in her 80s, not 80's.

As a post script, alot makes me nuts; it's a lot. And I could go on and on... ;-)

Connie Hebert said...

Bravo Arlene - You've hit on some really common errors made by writers here - good work.

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