If you’re like Master Yoda, the syntax-challenged Jedi Knight of Star Wars films, you might say: “Grammar, necessary is not.” Since you may disagree on that one, I’ve crafted a title for this blog make the point:
“Stop clubbing, baby seals.”
The baby seals are doing the clubbing here. Unless that’s what you really intend to say, leave out the comma.
Here are a few other biggies in the grammar department:
1. Misplaced “I” and “me”:
“I” is used as the subject of a sentence or clause. Whereas “me” is the subject.
EXAMPLE OF PROPER USE OF “I”:
I went to the store. (“I” is the subject)
EXAMPLE OF PROPER USE OF “ME”:
My sister has faith in me. (“Me” follows a preposition and is the object of the sentence.)
2. Misuse of the apostrophe:
Apostrophes are used to denote possessive words and contractions
EXAMPLE OF PROPER USE OF APOSTROPHE FOR POSSESSIVE WORDS:
The ball is Jane’s.
EXAMPLE OF PROPER USE OF APOSTROPHE FOR CONTRACTIONS:
I won’t be at the concert. (“Won’t” is the contraction of “will not.”)
It is never correct grammar to use an apostrophe to denote plurals.
3. Confusing “Less” and “Fewer”: If you can count it, it’s fewer.
EXAMPLE OF PROPER USE OF “LESS” AND “FEWER”:
I have fewer sugar cubes and less coffee in my mug.
4. “More than” vs. “over”: The words “more than” refers to quantity while the word “over” is a physical/spatial comparison.
EXAMPLE OF PROPER USE OF “MORE THAN”:
The zoo has more than 10 monkeys.
EXAMPLE OF PROPER USE OF “OVER”:
The geese are flying over my house’s roof.
5. Confusion of “its” and “it’s”: “Its” refers to ownership, whereas “It’s” is a contraction for “It is.”
EXAMPLE OF PROPER USE OF “ITS”:
The cat drank its water.
EXAMPLE OF PROPER USE OF “IT’S”
It’s time to go to bed. (It’s is a contraction for “It is.”)
What are your favorite grammar snafus?
All opinions are my own and not those of my agency or the federal government as a whole. Follow me on Twitter: @JayKrasnow To read more blogs on storytelling, communication and other related topics, visit Jay Krasnow’s blog, www.storymoose.com
Jay Krasnow is part of the GovLoop Featured Blogger program, where we feature blog posts by government voices from all across the country (and world!). To see more Featured Blogger posts, click here.
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