Top Five Grammar Pet Peeves and How To Fix Them by Karen Wojcik Berner

 

grammar-nazi

Hi. I’m Karen, and I’m filling in for Liddy while she’s participating in NaNoWriMo. Go, Liddy!

Today, I’d like to discuss grammar. Let’s face it. Grammar is not sexy, but without its proper usage, a Rhodes scholar can look like a middle school dropout. Here is my list of Top Five Grammar Pet Peeves. As a bonus, I’ve thrown in a list of the 25 Most Commonly Misspelled Words.

Affect, Effect

When used as a verb, “affect” means to influence, according to The Associate Press Stylebook. “Effect” means to cause. Used as a noun, “effect” means result.

Examples:

The weather affects traffic patterns.

The new mayor will effect many changes in the city.

Apostrophes Gone Wild

I see this error every day, and it makes me cry inside. Perhaps grammar teachers are trying to correct this, but no one is listening. How many of you spotted this egregious error polluting otherwise festive holiday cards? What is wrong with the following line?

Season’s Greetings from The Smith’s

Written as it is, the statement begs for the question “Smith’s what?” The Smith’s dog? The Smith’s island vacation? Neither a dog, nor an island can convey wishes. This merry signature is a victim of apostrophes gone wild.

The line should read as follows.

Season’s Greetings from The Smiths.

It is plural, not possessive. No apostrophe.

Punctuating Decades

This is something people get wrong constantly. When punctuating decades, use an apostrophe to indicate the numerals that are left out. Add an “s” to pluralize. No, I repeat no apostrophe before the “s.”

Examples

The 1980s had some great music, especially the post-punk, alternative bands.

She loved ’80s music.

World War II ended in the mid-1940s.

Good versus well

How many times have you heard the following statement on television or in conversation?

He played good.

Too many times to count? Well, it is wrong. The correct usage is as follows.

He played well.

But why?

“Well” is an adverb. Adverbs describe verbs. When used as an adverb, “well” means “skillfully.” “Well” as an adjective means “healthy.” You would not say someone played healthy, would you?

“Good” is an adjective. Adjectives describe nouns, not action verbs.

Examples

She did a good job.

My breakfast tasted good this morning.

Irregardless

I hear it’s actually in some dictionaries, but I don’t care. Irregardless is still not a legit word because it’s a double negative. Regardless is correct.

irregardless-is-not-a-word

A list of 25 Most Commonly Misspelled Words

accommodate

consensus

acknowledgment

argument

commitment

deductible

dependent

embarrass

harass

liaison

separate

withdrawal

equipment

gauge

lightning

minuscule

achieve

committee

definitely

surprise

weird

supersede

existence

privilege

publicly
karen-author-photoAuthor Bio:

Karen Wojcik Berner writes contemporary women’s fiction, including the Amazon best-selling series, the Bibliophiles. An award-winning journalist, her work has appeared in several magazines, newspapers, and blogs, including the Chicago Tribune, Writer Unboxed, Women’s Fiction Writers, and Fresh Fiction. She is a member of the Chicago Writers’ Association.

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18 thoughts on “Top Five Grammar Pet Peeves and How To Fix Them by Karen Wojcik Berner

  1. Thanks again for being a guest blogger Karen! Always been a pretty good speller but sometimes I even mess up on some common spelling words. Once in awhile I end up spelling ‘creator’ as ‘creater.’ I know I’ve spelled it incorrectly as I’m typing and go back to fix it right away.

    Like

  2. I share all of these. I’ve also noticed in recent years many people (even intelligent and college-educated) have taken to writing “of” in place of the contraction for have. So I keep seeing “would of”, “could of”, “should of”. It makes me want to scream.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ah, apostrophes for plurals. Drives me crazy. Although, I seem to recall learning that one would use an apostrophe to make a number plural. It was in the grammar textbook. But I don’t do it because it just looks wrong. Maybe this has changed in the past few decades? (Our textbooks were ancient.)

    Affect/effect I can’t get right. I don’t know what the block there is.

    Liked by 1 person

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