Did you know that bad grammar can ruin a good message?
You could be missing opportunities to get your point across because your readers have to wade through awkward sentences that set their teeth on edge.
Common grammar mistakes can be avoided if you take the time to learn the rules and then apply them. Pay special attention to the five that follow.
5 Common Grammar Mistakes to Fix
Here are six common grammar mistakes and ways to spot and fix them.
1. Me versus I: subject pronoun (plural subjects)
“Me and Janet completed the quarterly sales report.”
“Janet and I completely the quarterly sales report.”
Rule: When the subject is more than one, you need a subject pronoun (I, she, he, we, they, who).
Clue: Say the sentence without ‘Janet’. “I finished the quarterly sales report.” Now it’s easy to tell which pronoun is correct, right?
2. Me versus I: object pronoun (verb)
“Katherine hired Dave and I to draft the sales proposal.”
“Katherine hired Dave and me to draft the sales proposal.” is correct.
Rule: “Dave and me” is the object of the verb “draft” and therefore requires an object pronoun (me, her, him, us, them, whom).
Clue: Say the sentence without Dave. “Katherine hired me to draft the sales proposal.” It’s obvious now, isn’t it?
3. Me versus I: object pronoun (preposition)
“Between you and I, we got the job done.”
“Between you and me, we got the job done.”
Rule: In this sentence, “me” is the object of the preposition “between” and therefore requires an object pronoun (me, her, him, us, them, whom).
Clue: “I” is the subject of a sentence and will be followed by a verb “ran, went, jumped, cried.” “Me” is the object of a sentence and is preceded by a preposition “with, to, between, before.”
4. Use of Self
“Irene, Lloyd and myself finished the blueprints.”
“Irene, Lloyd, and I finished the blueprints.”
Rule: You can’t use a “-self” pronoun (myself, yourself, himself, herself, themselves, ourselves) unless it refers to another noun or pronoun earlier in the sentence.
Clue: Look for the referral word that precedes the pronoun and say the sentence without “Irene, Lloyd.” “I finished the blueprints.”
How many times have you read this incorrect sentence?
“Please feel free to contact myself if you need further information.”
“Please feel free to contact me if you need further information.” is correct.
5. “To” versus “too”
“Roger was to swamped and couldn’t complete the report on time.”
“Roger was too swamped and couldn’t complete the report on time.”
This might seem like an obvious mistake. It happens most often when you’re in a hurry, but that’s no excuse. Your reader will notice the gaffe.
Why Good Grammar Matters
If you take time to edit your writing—whether it’s an email to a client or supervisor or a summary of work you’ve completed—your message holds more weight when your grammar and spelling are accurate.
I always encourage business people to “make friends with good writing.” You can learn to avoid common grammar mistakes with my Word Trippers Tips program and have writing tips delivered to your inbox every week for a year!
Barbara McNichol is passionate about helping administrative professionals add power to their pen. To assist them, she has created Word Trippers Tips to quickly find the right word when it matters most. Word Trippers Tips is a subscription program that includes a webinar, crossword puzzles, “cheat sheets,” and a Word Tripper of the Week for 52 weeks. Go to www.wordtrippers.com/odi