tagged with: grammatical errors

This is my G post in the A – Z challenge, which should have been posted yesterday, but I was so busy, I forgot, even thought I’d written it the day before.

Computer software, such as Microsoft Word, has made the task of writing much easier. You can cut and paste, find and replace words, use highlights and perform other tasks. The spell checker and grammar checker are two tools that a lot of writers depend on.

However, like the spell checker, the grammar checker can mislead you, if you’re not careful, into thinking your work is perfect when it is not. The web is full of sites offering free grammar checking software, so I decided to play around with a few of them to see how helpful they are. I tried the sentence below to see what the results would be.
The children ran to there mother to complain that the boy had loss his money.

Spellchecker.net – a spell checking and grammar checking site – highlighted the errors like this: The children ran to there mother to complain that the boy had loss his money.

Wonderful, I thought. I’m on to something, but then the solutions were as follows: to mother there and there to mother. The explanation? Split infinitive.

For the same sentence, Language Tool Style and Grammar Checker came up with “No rule matches found in text.” I’m not sure what that is supposed to mean. Are there errors or not?

Microsoft Word did slightly better. It bluelined there, but left loss.

I hopped over to Grammar Slammer. This is an English grammar tool supported by Windows. It gives you a 21-day free trial and costs $49.00. The site does not say if that fee is annually or if it’s a onetime fee.

There’s also Grammarly which gives you a 7-day free trial and charges $29.95 monthly. For a small fraction of that cost you can purchase Elements of Style by William Strunk and E. B. White from Amazon.com, or get it on your Kindle for even less. This book has been around for a long time and is one of the best resources a writer can turn to for help with grammar. I tried the same sentence with Grammarly, but didn’t get any results.

Relying on grammar and spell checkers can be, well, unreliable if you’re trying to put your best work out to the public. If it doesn’t matter to you whether you write your when you mean you’re, then go ahead. But if you take pride in your work, you would be better off enrolling in a grammar course or investing a small amount of money in a good grammar book.

One of my pet peeves as a writer (or a reader for that matter) is coming across grammatical errors, commonly misused words and misspelled words. I am always amazed at the number of  these I find almost everyday on the internet, and sometimes even in print. And these are just the basics. There are others such as clumsy sentence structure, mixed tenses and wordiness that make me tear my hair. Nowadays, there is a trend to what I call casual writing that we didn’t see three or four decades ago.  Using a preposition at the end of a sentence is acceptable in most instances, as is the use of a conjunction at the beginning of a sentence. But there are some forms of sloppiness that are just, well, sloppy, and can mar your chances of having a successful writing career.

Here are some examples of grammatical errors that I collected over a period of time:

I am grateful that he have chosen to visit me. The error here is a glaring dis-agreement of subject and verb, which I’m sure the writer could have avoided if he had proofread his work.

It convicts us of specific actions or attitudes that needs to be confessed. Here we have two plural subjects connected by or. Since they are plural, they require a plural verb.

Your about to learn 10 mistakes the average person makes. This is a common one where the possessive adjective “your” is used in place of the contraction “you’re” which means you are.

Its time for my afternoon nap. Another misuse of the possessive adjective. This time “its” is used in place of “it’s” which means it is.

Each of you have something to offer the world. This is one that trips a lot of people up. Here’s the rule: The pronouns each, everyone, every one, everybody, anyone, anybody, someone, and somebody are singular and require singular verbs.  Therefore this sentence should read, Each of you has something to offer the world.

I was loosing interest in those markets. Loosing comes from the verb loose which means to untie or release. What the writer obviously meant here is losing, which means to fail to keep or to maintain.

Our elderly are always effected most at these times. Effected is a convolution of the noun “effect”. Here it is being used as a verb, which in this case should be “affected.” This is a commonly misused word and brands the user as an amateur.

So there you have them. Some of the most common grammatical errors that can kill your writing and your credibility as a writer. There are many good articles online that can help you improve your writing, or if you want to have your own reference you may purchase the book below from Amazon.com. It is small enough to take with you to the library or to keep near your computer. I have found it to be of invaluable help, and I’m sure you will too.