National Grammar Day: 5 Common Grammar Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Today is National Grammar Day, a perfect time to brush up on those essential grammar rules that can make a big difference in your writing. Whether you’re crafting a business email, a social media post, or even a novel, strong grammar ensures your message is clear, professional, and impactful.

Here are 5 common grammar mistakes to watch out for, along with easy tips to avoid them:

1. Subject-Verb Agreement:

  • Mistake: “My friends and family is coming to visit.”
  • Fix: The subject is “friends and family” (plural), so the verb needs to be plural as well. Correct sentence: “My friends and family are coming to visit.”
  • Tip: Identify the subject (the noun doing the action) and make sure the verb agrees in number (singular or plural).

2. They’re vs. There vs. Their:

  • Mistake: “I can’t find my phone there on the counter.”
  • Fix: “There” refers to a place. In this case, we need “their” to show ownership of the phone. Correct sentence: “I can’t find my phone their on the counter.”
  • Tip: Remember “They’re” is a contraction of “they are,” “There” indicates location, and “Their” shows possession.

3. Your vs. You’re:

  • Mistake: Your coming to the party tonight, right?
  • Fix: “Your” indicates possession, but here we need “you’re” which is a contraction of “you are.” Correct sentence: You’re coming to the party tonight, right?
  • Tip: A simple trick is to replace “your” with “you are” in the sentence. If it sounds correct, use “you’re.”

4. Comma Splices:

  • Mistake: I went to the store, it was out of milk.
  • Fix: This sentence creates a run-on. We can either use a semicolon or separate it into two independent clauses. Corrected options: “I went to the store; it was out of milk.” OR “I went to the store. It was out of milk.”
  • Tip: Be mindful of comma usage. A comma shouldn’t join two independent clauses.

5. Dangling Modifiers:

  • Mistake: Walking down the street, a car sped past me.
  • Fix: The phrase “walking down the street” modifies “car,” which isn’t grammatically correct. We can rephrase or add a subject for the modifier. Corrected options: “As I was walking down the street, a car sped past me.” OR “A car sped past me while I was walking down the street.”
  • Tip: Ensure your modifying phrases clearly connect with the intended subject.

Bonus Tip: Proofread carefully! Take a second look after writing to catch any errors you might have missed.

By familiarizing yourself with these common mistakes, you can significantly improve your writing and ensure your message is clear and impactful. Happy National Grammar Day!

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