As someone who spends a good majority of her time writing, I am not ashamed to call myself a grammar snob. Although I still have a long way to go before I can really consider myself fluent in all things English, I believe it is important to learn as much as you can about the language you speak. Therefore, the English minor in me would like to share with you some of my grammatical/writing pet peeves and teach you a little bit of what I learned in editing seminars.
The Friday Five: Lessons in Grammar
1. Know the difference between contractions and possessives.
For example, if you tell me “your dumb,” I will only be inclined to ask “my dumb what?” In this case, your is in the possessive, which implies that you own something. “You’re” is short for “you are,” so if you make the mistake of “you’re dog” to describe someone’s pet, you are actually saying “you are dog.”
2. “Due” should only be used to refer to deadlines and babies.
Exhibit A happens because of Exhibit B, not due to Exhibit B. My Literature assignment is due.
3. You and Me or You and I?
Harry baked cookies for Julie and me, because if you take out “Julie,” you get “Harry baked cookies for me.” You wouldn’t say “Harry baked cookies for I.” However, “Harry and I are going to the store,” not “Harry and me are going to the store.” When in doubt, just drop the other name and see what grammatically fits.
4. Literally does not always mean literally.
People tend to misuse the word “literally” a lot in order to hyperbolize, but if you go by the dictionary definition of “literal,” you get true to fact; not exaggerated. Therefore, if you say “he was literally as big as a house,” you are saying that this person was truly that size. Be very careful with your usage of that word; unless you are making an attempt at humor, you might want to steer clear.
5. Since does not replace because.
Since describes time, as in “ever since I got married.” Because describes reasons, such as “I can’t go out because I have homework.” You would not say “I can’t go out since I have homework.”
What are some of your grammar pet peeves?