10 Easy-To-Avoid Grammar Mistakes

I’m going to get all Grammar Girl on you here. Bear with me.

I’m not a grammar saint, but I’m nerdy enough to both laugh and nod my head at Eats, Shoots and Leaves. As a communications guy, it helps.

A few basic grammar mistakes have started to really bug me. I’ve see them more and more recently, especially on micro-blogging platforms like Twitter.

I know, I know, you’re perfect. Feel free to skip this post if that’s the case. For the record, I’m not perfect. I make mistakes too. There, I said it.

Still here? Ok, I’ll begin. Here are 10 easy-to-avoid errors that I keep seeing:

  • You Don’t Need To Capitalize Something Just Because You Think It’s Important.
  • You’re/your: “You’re” is a contraction of you are. “Your” is possessive (it belongs to you).
  • We’re/were: “We’re” is a contraction of we are. “Were” is the past tense of the word “be.”
  • Fewer/less: If you can count it, use “fewer.” If you can’t, use “less.”
  • It’s/its: “It’s” is a contraction of “it is” or “it has.” “Its” is possessive.
  • Accept/except: I’ll make it simple. The "x" in "except" excludes things. Make sense? Accept it.
  • "Action" is not a verb. Don’t tell me you’re going to "action" something.
  • You were not "plurking" or "identing" or "powncing." You were making up new words (yes, I’m guilty of this one too).
  • A lot/alot: "A lot" is English. "Alot" isn’t.
  • Hear/here: A hint: "hear" has "ear" in it.

Those are my current pet peeves. What are yours?

Update: I just found three more in one post on a very well-read blog. I won’t link to it because, well, I’m not an ass:

  • “…don’t have a strong platform to stand from.”
    • You stand on a platform, not from it.
  • “[xxx] is not in a web professional.”
    • He is neither a web professional nor in the web profession.
  • “Companies should already have a crises plan ready…”
    • Companies should already have a crisis plan for when crises occur. Singular/plural.

Proofreading, people!

Dave Fleet
EVP Digital at Edelman. Husband and dad of two. Cycling nut; bookworm; videogamer; Britnadian. Opinions are mine, not my employer's.