When I was younger and in my lovely adolescent years, the days were so busy with school that the only time I really had to talk to my family was at the dinner table. I would launch furtively into some story of utmost importance and interest (or at least to my teenage mind), when all of the sudden, my mom would interrupt me. Would she comment? Did she have a pressing question? No, not that. Sadly, she interrupted me just as furtively to correct my grammar. It was extremely annoying. And I am so thankful for it! I have already started doing it to my 8 and 6 year old’s, and I am sure they find it just as taxing. But, hey, paybacks, right? It is working though. I hear some of their friends make grammar mistakes my kids used to make and now they even correct each other.
I will not deny, though, that as with most things in my life, I take the grammar thing and get a little OCD about it. If manners were not more important to me (and thank God they are!), I would even correct people I knew. I correct the newscasters on TV, I correct the DJs on the radio, I correct the journalists in the newspapers (who writes this stuff and where did they go to school??); I correct all the people that can’t hear me and don’t know me, but I really cringe when I hear poor grammar in person. So today, for your viewing pleasure, I am going to list some of the most common grammar faux paus so that you, too, can annoyingly correct your kids and co-workers.
1). I should have got/ran/ate. What?? Really?? This kills me. More to the point, I hang out with lots of runners, and I can’t tell you how many times I have had to cringe and keep my trap shut while I heard this phrase. It should be: I should have gotten, I should have run, and I should have eaten. If you are over 10 and you are still making these mistakes, then go get your junior high grammar books and brush up.
2). Where’s that at? Oh, the dreaded preposition at the end of a sentence!! Not allowed, sorry. You can say, “where is it?” or “where is your house?” or “where are you located?”, but for the love of all that is good, do not end a sentence with “at.” Or any preposition, really. You shouldn’t say, “who are you going with?”, but “who is going with you?” or “with whom are you going?” Okay, that may sound a little 18th century for you, and I will totally let that slide, but not the “at” mistakes. It just sounds bad.
3). A lot vs. allot. Okay folks, reality check. A lot is two words, not one, and if it were one, it would be alot, not allot. Allot is a different word meaning to portion or distribute. I see this mistake sooooo often, especially on facebook.
4). They’re vs. their vs. there.Wow, this is a common one. They’re is a contraction for “they are.” For example, “they’re coming to dinner.” Their is a possesive. For example, “It is their couch.” There is a adverb meaning “at or in that place.” For example, “The book is over there.”
5). You’re vs. your. Another one I see on Facebook all the time. You’re is a contraction for “you are.” Your is a possessive used to indicate the person as the possessor or as the recipient of an action. For example, “Your blanket is on the right.” Please, do not write “Your pretty!” It. Drives. Me. Nuts.
6). “Her and Me.” It should be “she and I” or “he and I” or “he and she,” but not “him and me” or “him and I. A good way to remember this is to just turn the sentence around and include only one person. For example, one would say, “I am going to the store,” or “She is going to the store.” Just a little trick of the trade for you.
7). Accept vs. Except. Accept is a verb meaning “to agree to.” Except is a preposition or a conjunction meaning roughly, “unless” or “if not.” For example, “Allison accepted the birthday invitation.” Or, “The whole class was invited except Paul.”