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Grammar Mistakes: 10 Crimes You're Probably Committing

Grammar Mistakes: 10 Crimes You're Probably Committing

RE: Grammar Mistakes: 10 Crimes You're Probably Committing

Although we have covered this territory before, I believe it's good to revisit it regularly. Among the grammatical errors that I disklike most:

Nominative- versus objective-pronoun abuse:

Quote (Sportscaster)

It's time for Bill and I to take a station break.

"I", in this case, acts as an object of the preposition. To easily check, just drop off "Bill and": One wouldn't say, "It's time for I to take a station break."

Quote (Colleague)

My manager took my wife and I out to dinner.

Again, one would not say, "My manager took I out to dinner."


Grandpa: "Who wants to go out for ice cream?"
Grandkids: "Me"

To easily check, just complete the sentence: "Who wants to go out for ice cream?"..."I do."

(aka Dave of Sandy, Utah, USA)
“People may forget what you say, but they will never forget how you made them feel."

RE: Grammar Mistakes: 10 Crimes You're Probably Committing

1. exclamation point: A renowned german journalist recommends using it not as sparsely, as this article recommends it. Surely always only a single one for each instance. But if you don't have anything to say in an article or book, then perhaps you shouldn't even write it! He recommends about one exclamation point per page of a book. Quite a lot, I use it less often, but I see his point.

2 - 4: Agreed.

5. I learned something new, agreed for not knowing elsewise.

6. As far as I learned it's true. But in german there are 12 rules about quotation marks. Especially since they can be used for whole sentences, parts and just for emphasis. So I may join you in disagreeing. For the case of whole sentences I agree to the article.

7. Agreed.

8. I remember the Stephen Fry typography of his speech about language. I'm on his side with this, you shouldn't be too picky about it.

9. Related to 8, in this case you can have the same dispute in german with the same words more (=mehr) and over (=über). Well, we talk of higher and lower numbers. It's obvious enough "over" may apply to counts of things, too. I agree it's more precise to say more than 500 blog posts, but you save pronouncing one th and make it a word shorter when talking about over 500 blog posts, and it's obvious you don't mean you sat on 500 blog posts writing the 501th.

10. I agree, maybe I'm rather indifferent. I seldom use both of these words.

Bye, Olaf.

RE: Grammar Mistakes: 10 Crimes You're Probably Committing

My disagreement on 6 comes from so many years as a programmer, where the quotation marks are delimiters for a character string. If the punctuation is a part of the statement being quoted, then it should be within the quotes. If the punctuation is intended to be part of the outer sentence that contains a quote, then it should be outside of the quotation marks.


Jerry: Fire!
Tom: Why are you yelling "Fire!"?

Bill: Mud. Mud. Mud. Mud. Mud. Mud. Mud. Mud. Mud.

I don't care if it's incorrect, it's correct in my version of reality.

A T-Shirt I saw recently...

Quote (A T-Shirt)

Let's Eat Grandma
Let's Eat, Grandma

Commas save lives!

RE: Grammar Mistakes: 10 Crimes You're Probably Committing

My list is almost identical to Olaf's.

#2 - People really have a problem with this? I would think that There, They're and Their would be much more prevalent. (especially not using They're)

#7 - Again, a more common error might be Would of and Could of instead of the proper contractions Would've and Could've

#8 - Stephen Fry

#9 - I use over as a relative term. As long as under could be used as the opposite I see no issue. e.g. I completed over 8 hours of billable work today, yesterday I completed just under 4 hours of billable work. I can see that other words might be better but I don't consider this use wrong.

#10 - This is one of my greatest pet peeves. I don't know why but irregardless sounds like fingernails on a chalk board to me. I've stopped pointing it out, as I feel it is a lost cause, but you will never ever hear me say it.

What's most important is that you realise ... There is no spoon.

RE: Grammar Mistakes: 10 Crimes You're Probably Committing

Quote (SantaMufasa)

the grammatical errors that I disklike most

Not to mention typographic errors!

RE: Grammar Mistakes: 10 Crimes You're Probably Committing

Sam Bones, your examples are still in line with what the article is saying, as your examples used exclamation point and question mark. Then you don't disagree on point 6, actually.

Bye, Olaf.

RE: Grammar Mistakes: 10 Crimes You're Probably Committing

Thanks, DansDad, for catching that. It will help me repent of that error. smile

(aka Dave of Sandy, Utah, USA)
“People may forget what you say, but they will never forget how you made them feel."

RE: Grammar Mistakes: 10 Crimes You're Probably Committing


"Crimes" is a little harsh.

"You're Probably Committing" is a bit harsh too in some cases. Though the piece is quite a mix of genuine errors (grammatical or otherwise), stylistic advice, and pet peeves with nothing behind them but a personal prejudice...

#1 Agreed, but it's a stylistic point rather than a "grammar mistake". There's nothing ungrammatical about shouting! Even if you do so in every sentence!

#2 Is this really a "crime" that we're "probably committing"? I'd have thought most people get over that one in school. Lose vs loose seems to be much more prevalent in the text I read online. But it's arguably a spelling fault rather than a grammar one.

#3 I don't think this is a hard-and-fast rule at all. I'm sure you could find a sackful of examples - by the best writers - of "that" being used to refer to a person. If it were an error, it would be a grammatical one, but I don't think it's an error at all.

#4 Another personal preference masquerading as a grammar "rule". Either "It" or "they" is acceptable to refer to a corporation in my view.

#5 I think this one is probably true, though I think it's possible to construct exceptions to it: "Joe was awarded the title Vice President of Martketing last week". A typographical issue rather than grammar.

#6 Typography not grammar. Not sure of it's status in the universal rule vs. personal preference stakes either.

#7 Absolutely right - and increasingly prevalent in the era of the spell-check. But it's spelling and not grammar.

#8 A pretty well-established rule, dating from 1770 according to Wikipedia, and - wonder of wonders - it's even a genuine grammar issue. Mind you, apparently the The Cambridge Guide to English Usage describes the choice "between the more formal fewer and the more spontaneous less" as a stylistic choice. If you use "less" when Ms Lyons would use "fewer", you're only going to ring alarm bells among pedants.

#9 Utter tosh. Dictionary.com lists 21 prepositional uses of "over", including such not-the-opposite-of-under examples as "to hit someone over the head", "a big improvement over last year's turnout", "to quarrel over a matter", and, yes, "not over five dollars".

I don't even see how the statement "Over is the opposite of under" leads her to conclude that "it shouldn't describe number or quantity". Why on Earth not? Over can be an antonym for under, it can also be a synonym for "more than", it can be both at the same time, and (as shown in the examples above) it can be neither. Isn't English great?

#10 A horrid word that I'd personally never use. But it's a real one, and one that dictionaries should be including. The purpose of a dictionary is to describe the language as it is used - so you can go and look up unfamiliar words to find what they mean. It's not there to act as a doorkeeper for "proper words". If we're collecting ugly and pointless words, I'd add "utilise" to the list.

-- Chris Hunt
Webmaster & Tragedian
Extra Connections Ltd

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