How to Avoid Common Grammar Mistakes

3G.Blog_.WritingTips.09.06.2013

Can’t remember the difference between their, there and they’re? Slept through your second grade grammar lesson? Don’t want to keep your AP Stylebook in your purse? Neither does Ed!

Here are some useful grammar tips that every Ed-ster remember:

Power of the Oxford comma: Though the Oxford comma (the comma placed right before the “and” in a list) can often times be left off, it is also necessary in certain situations and can completely sway the meaning you’re going for. See this example:

            I went to the park with my dogs, Barack Obama and Oprah Winfrey

            I went to the park with my dogs, Barack Obama, and Oprah Winfrey.

Without the Oxford comma, the sentence has a different meaning. The first example makes it appear as if the speaker is taking her two dogs who are named Obama and Oprah. When you add in the Oxford comma, it shows that you went to the park with three separate things: the dogs, the President, and the talk show host.

Loose and Lose: The double-o means something is baggy while the single-o means that you misplaced an item.

            I always lose my button-down shirt. It’s fine though, because it’s so loose on me.

Affect and effect:  Affect is the trigger that produces a change while effect is ultimately the resultant of said change.

            Vogue’s editorial content was greatly affected by Anna Wintour’s arrival; she has had quite an effect on readership.

Who and whom: Who is the subject while whom is the object in which something is being done to. Still having trouble? Try answering the question being asked. If you can answer it with he/she, use who. If you answer using him/her, try whom.

            To whom did Harry Styles give that necklace to?! Who can even keep track of who he is dating these days?

 They’re, there, and their: C’mon guys! This one is simple. They’re is the contraction they are, there is referring to the location of something and their is used in describing a possession of someone.

            Look, there is Will Sheehey! Is he on the Hoosiers? Yeah, they’re so good but their record doesn’t do the team justice.

Do you have any tips to avoid common grammar mistakes? Let Ed know in the comments below!

Alexandra Diamond

Advertisements