It's common for people these days to mispronounce or misspell a word. It's also becoming more frequent for people to misuse words in a sentence. Too often, people are using the wrong words or using the correct words but using them in the wrong way. Committing English grammar mistakes can be costly. By using the wrong words or incorrectly phrasing your sentences, you can end up being misunderstood " with people taking actions which can prove disastrous or harmful to others. Here are the most common English grammar mistakes people make in today's world of decreasing literacy and increasing bastardization of the English language.
1. Lose vs. loose
People seem to have forgotten the difference between the two. How hard can it be to remember that lose are for losers who are losing; and loose for clothes that are too large for skinny people or for tigers who got out of the cage?
2. Your vs. you're
One is a possessive pronoun giving you the possession of something, while the other one is the contracted form of you are. How hard can it be to remember that?
Your burger is on fire.
You're on fire.
3. Affect vs. effect
To affect means to influence while effect means the result/s of something.
His grades were affected by his poor performance in class.
His poor performance in class was the effect of his parents' divorce.
4. There vs. they're vs. their
There is sued to denote a place, time, or location. Their is a possessive pronoun used to indicate possession. While there is the contracted form of they are.
I'll meet you there after an hour.
It was their idea to give you a going away present.
They're the members of our baseball team.
5. It's vs. its
This is a common mistake among writers. It's (with the apostrophe) is a contraction of it is or it has while its is a possessive pronoun. A simple rule of thumb to follow is replacing its/it's with it is and seeing if the sentence is grammatically correct.
It's a bird, it's a plane, it's Superman! (It is a bird, it is a plane, it is Superman!)
This toaster has its own timer.
6. Then vs. than
Than is a conjunction used for comparing two things; while then can be used as an adverb, adjective, or a noun. A simple way of distinguishing between the two is by remembering that than is always used for comparisons. If you're not comparing, then you use then.
That man is uglier than my dog.
Clean the house, and then take out the trash.
7. could of, would of, should of
There's simply no correct usage for these phrases. The correct terms to use are could've, would've, should've. Perhaps mistakenly use the former because they sound so much like the correct terms. But make no mistake, could of, would of, and should of makes no sense in English grammar. To avoid making such a mistake, practice using the unshortened form of these phrases and contract them later on.
I would have won the race if I did not stop to tie my shoelaces.
I would've won the race if I did not stop to tie my shoelaces.