Do you make these common and embarrassing English grammar mistakes?

The most beautiful piece of prose ever can be created and presented, but it will not be appreciated or create the effect that it should if it is crawling with grammar mistakes. Grammar mistakes decrease the legitimacy and impact that any piece of writing may have. Using proper grammar demonstrates class as well as authority. The harsh reality is that if good grammar is not used in a message, no one is going to pay attention to it. It is for this reason that while writing, a great amount of detail should be given to using correct grammar and especially to not falling prey to common grammar mistakes.

Misusing Homonyms

One of the more common and easy grammatical mistakes that one can fall into when writing is the misuse of homonyms. A common example of this is “there, their, and they’re.” Using the wrong form can make a writing look unintelligent and thereby lose all of its credibility. “There” is used to specify a location or can be used as an expletive and a sentence starter. “Their” signifies possession and is technically the possessive form of they. “They’re” is simply a contraction of “they” and “are.” The reason that these mistakes are so often found in writing, is that spell check has no way to properly check for the misuse of homonyms. It is up to the writer to double check to make sure the right word is used.

Its and It’s

Another common error commonly observed is the misuse of “its” and “it’s.” Such a small factor as whether to use an apostrophe or not can seem like a trivial issue, but it is not. Using “its” and “it’s” correctly will communicate intelligence as well as diligence through attention to detail. “It’s” is a contraction of “it is” and should never be used to signify possession. “Its” is used as a possessive pronoun and should never be used as a contraction for “it is.”

Who, Which, and That

Another easy grammar mistake which should be avoided is the proper use of “Who, Which, and That.” Though these words may seem like they are interchangeable, they each actually have an specific form in which they should be used. “Who” should always be used to refer to persons. “Which” on the other hand should only refer to animals and other creatures or things. “Which” should never be used to refer to a person, just as “Who” should not be used in reference to animals. “That” can be used for both people and things. Though stylistically “that” is most often used in reference to objects. “Which” and “that” also signify different things when used in reference to objects. “Which” generally refers to a broad array of outcomes or objects. “That” is used to specify a narrower range of outcomes when used in reference to an object. So basically “that” restricts to specific ideas or locations, while “which” expands and is broader.


The other way that grammar is often abused is when it comes to punctuation, specifically commas. The best way to eliminate punctuation and comma misuse is to consult a grammar book or study course, as the world of punctuation is vast and can differ depending on specific needs. Pursuing a better understanding and use of grammar will improve the quality and impact of your writing greatly.

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