Learning to use proper grammar, Blue road sign with words To Too with stormy sky background 3D Illustration; Shutterstock ID 600447377
We’ve been taught since day one that poor grammar leads to unfortunate situations – bad grades, missed job opportunities and ridicule by the internet, just to name a few.
Nevertheless, we continue to make them. Nothing can stand in the way of us and our bad grammar.
Using data gathered from Editor, one of Microsoft’s newest features in Word, Microsoft has released a list of the 10 most commonly flagged grammar mistakes by their proofing tools.
It’s worth noting that these mistakes go beyond just mixing up their/there/they’re. Editor learns your writing style as you use it, not only noting instances where you misspelled something but also offering suggestions to eliminate redundancy or confusing language.
So while Editor can make your emails and papers sound really good, please be advised that Editor will not write them for you. You still have to do that.
Without further ado, here’s Microsoft’s list of 10 most common grammar mistakes:
1. Too many white spaces between words.
Example: To the left.
This one is an easy one to make, and an easy one to let slide. No harm done as long as the idea is sound and the words are spelled correctly, right? We’re sorry to say that it’s pretty obvious when you put too many spaces between your words, and it doesn’t look good. Please ease up on your poor spacebar.
2. Punctuation (missing comma)
Example: If the weather remains the same we’ll leave early.
People like to say that commas indicate pauses, and it’s absolutely true. Try reading the above comma-less sentence without sounding like you’re snapping at someone. Or like you are out of breath. Or like you are trying to rush out of conversation you don’t want to be in. It’s impossible.
3. Comma missing after introductory phrase
Example: First of all we must make sure that the power is off.
Please just give commas the respect they deserve. Please.
Example: My 3 year old son.
Hyphens are a handy way to group together descriptors. Not only do they make your writing easier to follow, but they also allow you a dangerous amount of creativity. How else would nonsense descriptions like "Frankenstein-esque" and "semi-biweekly" exist?
5. Subject verb agreement
Example: The cats eats.
This sounds a little like a tongue twister, doesn’t it? If it sounds like a tongue twister, it probably means you did something wrong.
Example: It’s cold, But we are going out.
Why are we still doing this? This may be the most unprofessional mistake to make, second only to literally using a curse word where it is unwarranted. It also just Looks bad, Right? <—- Doesn’t it?
7. Possessive and plural forms
Example: My sisters car is old.
Unfortunately, it may be time to accept that as a society we are never going to master the world of apostrophes. Things like "its/it’s" will forever be a mystery to some people, even though the rule is really not hard to understand.
8. Agreement with noun phrases
Example: I would like to buy this apples.
This one may be more due to typos than anything else, because it’s pretty easy to spot a mistake when it sounds that wrong.
9. Commonly confused words
Example: After all that running, I am out of breathe.
Honestly, the English language is to blame for this. Why is bass and base pronounced the same way but mean different things? Why did we feel the need to do that to ourselves?
10. Incorrect verb form after auxiliary
Example: They had ate when we came.
Obscure verb conjugations are the worst. With that being said, it’s also pretty noticeable when you use the wrong one.