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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
“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.
She did a good job.
My breakfast tasted good this morning.
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.
A list of 25 Most Commonly Misspelled Words
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.