Friday, June 29, 2012

6 Common Grammar Mistakes

Having grammar mistakes in your copy or blog posts can detract from your credibility as an expert. We all make mistakes from time to time, but you want to be sure you're not making them on a consistent basis. With that said, check out a few common grammar mistakes people make:

1. Your/You're: Your is a possessive pronoun -- your website, your business, your family. You're is a contraction for you are -- you're smart; you're amazing; you're an entrepreneur.

A tip for being sure you're using the correct version: Read the sentence out loud by saying "you are." If it doesn't make sense, you're using the wrong word. So, let's say you write, "Your going to succeed if you are determined." Read it aloud, saying, "You are..." You'll see that you are makes sense, and change your to you're.

2. It's/its: It's is a contraction of it is or it has -- It's been a hot day. It's great to follow your dreams. On the other hand, its is a possessive pronoun -- My phone is on its last legs. 

To be sure you're using the right one, use the your/you're example.

3. Their/they're/there: Their is a plural possessive pronoun -- their ideas, their websites. They're is a contraction for they are -- They're going to an event. They're going on vacation in July. There is used several ways; it could reference a place: Let's go there, or it can be used as a pronoun: There is a great website that offers business advice.

4. Affect/effect: Affect is a verb -- The number of customers you have affects your bottom line.
Effect, on the other hand, is a noun -- The effect of social media on society has been studied.

One way to tell which word to use: Think in terms of the effect; you can't put a "the" in front of a verb.

5. Who/whom: Who is a subjective pronoun like, he, she, it, we and they. Whom is an objective pronoun, like him, her, it, us and them.

The word you use depends on whether you're referring to the subject or object of a sentence. To help determine which one to use, substitute who with one of the subjective pronouns: he, she, it, we, they. Example: Who started a business? She started a business.

Substitute whom with the objective pronouns, him, her. Example: I spoke with a client whom I met on Facebook. (Who did I speak with?); I spoke with her

6. Lose/loose: Lose means "to become deprived or lacking." (I hate when I lose my car keys). Loose means "not rigidly fastened or securely attached." (My nephew has a loose tooth). 

Need more tips? Check out 20 Common Grammar Mistakes That (Almost) Everyone Makes.

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