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