7 Simple Grammar Mistakes You Should Never Make

Don't make these grammar mistakes

There’s no easier way to lose readers – and sales – than by publishing a book full of simple mistakes. After all, if you don’t care enough to catch basic errors, why should readers care about your book? Spellcheck can go a long way, but it won’t always save you from grammar mistakes that might go overlooked.

A good editor is never a bad thing if you’re serious about building your audience. But whether you’re hiring an editor or striking out on your own, you can make life easier by making sure these simple mistakes don’t pop up in your book.

Your vs You’re

Your is possessive – as in, “That’s your dog.” You’re is a contraction of “you are.”

Your vs You're

Its vs It’s

Along the same lines, its is possessive, and it’s is a contraction of “it is” (or “it has”).

Who’s vs Whose

Whose is possessive. Who’s is a contraction of “who is” or “who has.” Are you sensing a trend?

There vs their vs they're

Their vs They’re vs There

Ready to throw in a third option? Their is possessive, and they’re is a contraction of “they are.” There will cover pretty much everything else, from “There goes the bus” to “Put that box over there” to “There aren’t any cookies here.” (Note: pirates may be inclined to throw in “thar.”)

Lose vs Loose

Lose vs loose

This is best with a few examples. You can lose your dog if he gets loose from his leash. Your clothes will be loose if you lose a lot of weight. If you have loose change in your pocket, you might lose it. If all else fails, read your sentence aloud; if the word sounds like it ends with a ‘z’ then it’s lose; if it sounds like an ‘s’ then it’s loose.

Compliment vs Complement

The only difference is an ‘i’ and an ‘e’. So what’s the real difference? Compliment – with an ‘i’ – means you’re saying something nice to someone. Or, as an easy way to remember, “I am saying something nice to someone.” If you complement something, you’re adding to or improving it.

Farther vs Further

Farther refers to a physical distance – long distances are always far. “His house is farther away than mine.” Further is more figurative and means an extent of time or degree, as in “Tom wanted to talk further about the plan.” Farther and further are more readily accepted as being interchangeable than other examples in this list.
Do you have your own grammar pet peeves, or any tricks you use to keep words straight? Share them in the comments below!

4 thoughts on “7 Simple Grammar Mistakes You Should Never Make”

  1. I always hate the worn out phrase, “This point in time”.
    To which I usually respond: “How about ‘Now?'”

  2. William E Bidel

    In your writing use “an” before a,e,i,o,u.
    Use “a” before everything else:
    An apple
    An egg
    An incident
    An organ
    An unbearable
    A dollar
    A plane and so on…..

  3. When I was in 9th grade, I remember my English teacher going on and on about the use of “due to.” He hated it and told us NEVER to use that colloquialism. I.e., “Due to the weather the roads will be closed.” Now I forget the lesson!! Anybody?

  4. The correct use of pronoun cases has disappeared. I frequently encounter phrases such as “just between you and I” and “They invited Diane and I to the party.” AND, many people are using “me” to begin sentences. When/why did people stop understanding pronoun cases?

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