Common Grammatical Errors10:56 with Dan Gorgone
There are a number of grammatical errors that people make all the time. If you're aware of these problems, you can anticipate them, find them, and solve them before you ever hit send or publish.
You know, no matter how much the English language continues 0:00 to evolve we have to maintain a grasp on basic grammar. 0:02 So right now I wanna share a number 0:07 of common grammatical mistakes that lots of people make. 0:09 Sometimes on a daily basis, and 0:12 more importantly they happen in professional communications, 0:14 marketing text, signs on the front of 0:18 stores, even job applications and cover letters. 0:20 So, if you're aware of these problems, you can anticipate them, you can find them. 0:24 And you can solve them before you ever hit Send or Publish on anything you write. 0:29 So, let's begin. 0:34 First, apostrophes. 0:35 Apostrophes, they have multiple functions. 0:38 Now, first, it can show possession, like Nick's iPhone, for example. 0:41 Nick apostrophe s. 0:45 That belongs to Nick, all right? 0:47 Secondly, it can also show that a word is a contraction or a 0:49 combination of two words, like is not 0:52 becomes isn't or should have becomes should've. 0:55 But what apostrophes should not be used for, is to make something plural. 0:58 For example, in this example, I took some picture's of my new car. 1:03 Well we're talking about multiple pictures here, so the correct 1:08 way to pluralize the word is just to add an s. 1:10 In no way does this refer to any type 1:13 of possession, or like something belonging to the pictures. 1:16 This is just a simple plural word so just add s. 1:19 The correct way to pluralize it is, I took some pictures of my new car. 1:23 Picture with an s on the end. 1:27 Now the only exception for using an apostrophe 1:30 for making something plural is when you're referring to 1:33 say, a single character, like replace all the 1:37 lower case p's in the code with uppercase P's. 1:40 So you could do like a P apostrophe s, just so it 1:44 doesn't look like PS and it looks like [SOUND] what does that mean? 1:47 I don't know, P apostrophe S, that's fine. 1:52 But, you know, if the apostrophes weren't there, it would look a 1:55 little weird, so that's the only exception really I can think of. 1:57 Contractions. 2:01 On the related subject of contractions, most people don't have problems 2:02 using them, but there's sometimes 2:06 confusion about what the contractions mean. 2:08 For example, when someone says, oh, you should of seen the fireworks tonight. 2:11 They are saying, you should have seen the fireworks tonight. 2:15 They're not saying you should of. 2:19 I know it sounds like that. 2:21 Should've, would've, could've, all the others like that. 2:23 It sound perhaps like people are saying the 2:26 word of, but it is a contraction, all right. 2:29 So keep in mind that where the apostrophe is in a contraction. 2:31 That's where, generally, the missing letters are when you combine two words. 2:37 You know, so when you combine isn't or I'm sorry, when you 2:42 combine is not, the apostrophe takes the place of that missing O. 2:45 It becomes isn't. 2:49 So when we say should've, we're actually eliminating the 2:51 H and the A from have and we're making should've. 2:54 So that's how contractions work. 2:59 Quotation marks, this is something I see a lot in marketing. 3:01 It's really bad. 3:05 Apostrophes have been misused to make words plural. 3:07 A lot of people misuse quotation marks to add emphasis. 3:10 You know, for a lot of reasons but a lot of people think to add emphasis, 3:14 they'll put something in quotation marks because it 3:19 helps for some reason, but it actually doesn't. 3:22 Quotation marks are used to quote someone 3:25 or something, like describing exactly what someone said. 3:28 You know, hello, he said. 3:31 Well, he said hello, so the hello is in quotation marks. 3:33 but, you know, for example, we provide responsive web design. 3:37 Well, surely nothing special about responsive in this, this case. 3:41 You know, why is it in quotes? 3:46 Is it really not responsive? 3:48 Is it some sort of imitation responsive framework we should know about? 3:50 Now, actually, in this case, you don't use quotation marks at all. 3:53 If you wanted to add emphasis and you're talking about text on 3:57 a website, well, make it bold or, you know, add the emphasis tag. 4:02 That's actually what it's there for. 4:06 And then make it stand out for a good reason. 4:08 Subject/verb agreement. 4:09 Each sentence is generally made up of a noun or a, and a verb. 4:12 And the two should be in agreement when you use both. 4:17 So, here's the example here. 4:20 There's many mistakes on the page. 4:21 Well, this happens a lot in conversation, 4:23 because they're trying to say something very quickly. 4:25 But if you write there's many mistakes on this page, you're gonna be wrong. 4:27 There's is a contraction that means there is. 4:32 And so if you uncontractualize that, it would 4:35 read, there is many mistakes on the page. 4:40 And that is absolutely wrong. 4:42 There is, always refers to something singular, whereas in 4:44 this sentence, we're talking about a plural, many mistakes. 4:48 And so, in this sentence, we're referring to many mistakes and so we 4:53 want to say there are many mistakes on the page, and not there's. 4:57 So we need to try to avoid that mistake, one of many, in the future. 5:02 Consistent tense. 5:09 All right, so, when you're writing, you wanna try and 5:11 select a tense for your writing and keep it consistent. 5:13 Now tense usually refers either the past, present or the future, you know. 5:18 If you're telling a story about a favorite project at your last job, 5:23 you would tell us in the past tense because it happened in the past. 5:25 But whatever tense you write in, it's important 5:29 to be consistent and not skip from past to 5:32 present to future because it can get very 5:35 confusing but also it can just be completely wrong. 5:38 In the, our example here, I found broken code and correct it. 5:42 Well, that's clearly wrong because I found broken code is talking 5:46 about the past but correct it, is in the present tense. 5:49 You need to make sure that the tense 5:53 for everything that you're talking about is consistent. 5:55 And so we would wanna rewrite that to say I found broken code and corrected it. 5:58 Both of those verbs are now past tense. 6:04 So that's a good sentence. 6:07 Double negatives. 6:08 This is another case where a lot of times people 6:10 are adding something when they shouldn't because they are emphasizing something. 6:12 They wanna add emphasis. 6:16 For example, Nick would never use no version of Internet Explorer. 6:17 Well, that is a double negative because of the 6:22 never and the no, you don't need that second negative. 6:25 You simply say, Nick would never use any version of internet explorer. 6:29 Actually you could probably even shorten it 6:33 and say Nick would never use Internet Explorer. 6:35 That's probably true. 6:37 But you know, keep this in mind if you ever start a sentence with I would never, 6:39 or I don't, or something like that with a 6:43 negative, just be careful about not adding another one. 6:46 Hope that wasn't a double negative or a triple. 6:51 All right [LAUGH] dangling participles. 6:53 All right, it sounds funny, but it's very serious. 6:56 This is an issue where if you're trying 6:58 to connect two sentence fragments together, it can 7:02 sometimes sound very confusing and one, one part 7:05 doesn't really refer to the other one correctly. 7:09 So here's an example. 7:12 Running late again, Nick called Jason to find out where he was. 7:13 Well, actually, you know, the, the point of 7:18 this sentence is that Jason was running late. 7:20 You know, Nick was on time, but he called Jason to find out where Jason was. 7:23 So, when we say it this way, running late again, 7:28 Nick called Jason, it kinda sounds like Nick was running late. 7:30 But it's not true. 7:34 What we have to do sometimes is rewrite 7:35 or restructure a sentence when we have something 7:39 like this to make sure that each fragment 7:42 agrees with and refers correctly to the other. 7:45 So, in this case we'd wanna rewrite this sentence for it to make the most sense. 7:48 Since Jason was running late again, Nick called him to find out where he was. 7:53 Misplaced modifiers, you know sometimes the placement of an adjective or 7:59 an adverb, can change the meaning of what you're talking about. 8:03 For example, if you wanted to say that you're mobile app had a 8:07 new logo, you wouldn't say, our new app's logo appeared on the home screen. 8:11 Well suddenly it sounds like you're talking about a new app, not a new logo. 8:17 The modifier here is in the wrong place. 8:21 But if you just change it slightly, just change those two 8:24 words, our app's new logo look so much better than before. 8:28 Now it makes sense because the app is not new, the logo is new. 8:33 Oh, yes, misuse of the word literally. 8:37 You know, literally is an adverb, that means 8:41 exactly, or in a literal sense, or manner. 8:44 Literally is another way that people 8:48 like to add emphasis, especially in conversation. 8:50 But when you do it in writing, it sounds pretty bad. 8:53 When you say something that look, when you say something literally 8:58 happened, that means it actually happened, exactly how you say it did. 9:01 So you know common misuse is to use it in the figurative or the metaphorical sense. 9:07 You know, for example when I saw 9:13 that hilarious video, I literally died laughing. 9:15 That is so incorrect, because if that was 9:18 true, I would not be giving this presentation. 9:20 I would have deceased, or be deceased. 9:22 I would be gone. 9:25 Now, the emphasis here is a figurative one. 9:26 The more accurate meaning is that you laughed 9:30 a lot, or perhaps you laughed out loud, so 9:32 if you were going to rewrite this, well, you 9:34 could actually do it a couple of different ways. 9:36 You could take out literally completely, and I would kinda suggest that. 9:39 You should probably avoid using it, unless there's an appropriate need for it. 9:43 But in this case I'd probably say, when I 9:46 saw that hilarious video, I literally laughed out loud. 9:48 Whatever actually happened, that is what literally happened. 9:52 And the last one for this section here, I versus me, 9:55 this is kind of a tricky one that comes up a lot. 9:58 You know, confusion happens when you refer to another 10:02 person and me in the second part of a sentence. 10:04 How like, you know, give those cookies to me and my friend. 10:07 Well in this case, I have Jason made lunch for Nick and I. 10:13 The way to test this, is to actually remove the 10:17 other person from the sentence and then see how it sounds. 10:19 And you know you would be left with, Jason made lunch for I. 10:22 And that is, of course, wrong, sounds completely wrong. 10:26 It's just that Nick and I combination there, or another person and I sounds 10:30 correct, but in the second part of the sentence, you do have to refer to me. 10:35 So the correct way, to fix this would be Jason made lunch for Nick and me. 10:41 Anytime you're not sure, which, which to use, try that test of 10:48 removing the other person from the sentence and you'll know for sure. 10:52
You need to sign up for Treehouse in order to download course files.Sign up