Posted by: Jack Henry | December 12, 2017

Editor’s Corner: The Seventh Day of English (2017)

On the seventh day of English

My true love sent to me

Seven bits of grammar

That you might find tricky.

Yes, I know most of you have seen these before, but they still stay at the top of the most often made errors in grammar. Many of you have sent in samples of signs you’ve seen with these errors, some of you complain that you receive emails with these mistakes, and I know that sometimes I even type the wrong word when I’m writing too fast. These are the top seven grammar errors, definitions of what they are, and examples of them being used correctly.

1) There/Their/They’re

· “There” means “in or at a place/point.”

Please put the suitcase there on the bed.

· “Their” is possessive.

John and Kat love all of the same things. Their favorite movie is Superman.

· “They’re” is a contraction of “they are.”

Bob and Dan said they’d be coming to the party. Do you know when they’re supposed to arrive?

2) Its/It’s

· “Its” is possessive.

A good dog knows its place is at the bottom of the bed, not on the pillows.

· “It’s” is a contraction of “it is.”

It’s a fact: today is the festival of the Balloon Man.

3) Your/You’re

· “Your” is possessive.

Please take your shoes off and leave them by the door.

· “You’re” is a contraction of “you are.”

Sandro saw his daughter’s Halloween costume and said, “You’re the most adorable little munchkin I’ve ever seen.”

4) Two/To/Too

· “Two” is a number.

He’s got a ticket to ride, but she’s got two tickets to paradise.

· “To” denotes an action.

I think I will wait until it is warmer to go swimming.

· “Too” means “also.”

Are you bringing a dessert to the holiday party, too?

5) Apostrophes

· The boy’s dog. The girl’s guitar. Sarah’s pencil. The Three Girls’ Bakery. (possessive)

That over there is Cecil’s “new” ’67 Chevy.

· The boys are going out. Girls just want to have fun. (plural)

We have three peach trees growing in our back yard.

6) Who’s/Whose

· “Who’s” is a contraction of “who is” or “who has.”

Who’s going to the fire circle tonight?

· “Whose” is possessive.

Does anybody know whose winged shoes these are in the doorway?

7) Could have/Would have/Should have

“Seeing ‘could of’ written down is one of the more shiver-inducing grammar mistakes around. Why is this happening? What does it mean?

What they’re trying to say is ‘could’ve’ which is a contraction of ‘could have.’ This is never interchangeable with ‘could of’ which doesn’t mean anything, ever.” [KC – My apologies, I
don’t remember which website I got this quote from.]

Why did you bring two games when you could’ve brought four?

Kara Church

Technical Editor, Advisory

Symitar Documentation Services

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