Tuesday, September 24, 2013

7 Deadly Sins of Grammar

Having bad grammar is like going through hell. It's a pain in the eyes and in the ears. Committing a lot of grammar errors in your writing and speaking is considered a mortal sin in IELTS. I edit a lot of essays of my students and I've compiled the top 7 grammar mistakes in this post.

1. No articles
    To put or not to put articles? Some people put articles "a", "an" or "the" when they are not needed.  You shouldn't put articles for countries. So it's wrong to say "the Canada" or "the Australia". Moreover, you don't put articles when talking generalizations. So you don't say "The crimes nowadays are getting worse". 

2. Wrong subject-verb agreement
    Now this is also very common.  It's not right to say, "Few teenagers likes to study in the library." Some people get confused when they see an "s" in the subject, they also put an "s" to the verb. Basic rule is singular subjects need singular verbs and plural subjects need plural verbs. Remember plural verbs do not have "s".

3. Wrong use of "in", "on" and "at"
     Prepositions "in", "on" and "at" can be very confusing for many students. You don't write, "The students are at the classroom". The correct sentence should be "The students are in the classroom." Take note that you use "in" if there is volume or area, "on" for surface and "at" for point.

4. Wrong pluralization
     In many cases, many students fail to put an "s" when they're using plural nouns. Take for instance this sentence, "One of the student did not pass the exam." Correct sentence should be read as "One of the students did not pass the exam."

5. Missing commas
     Look at this sentence: "I love swimming dancing and acting." This is absolutely wrong because you are giving a list. There should be a comma after "swimming". The right sentence is "I love swimming, dancing and acting.

6. Your versus you're
     This is one of the annoying grammar errors out there. It's wrong to say "Your the reason why I'm successful." "Your" is a possessive pronoun. So you should use it as "your father" or "your mother". "You're" is a contraction of "you are". So you should say, "You're the reason why I'm successful."

7. Wrong pronoun
     You shouldn't say "People should do his part in protecting his environment." The antecedent of the pronoun is "people" and therefore requires a plural pronoun. It should be corrected as "People should do their part in protecting their environment."

So are you guilty of these deadly sins of grammar?  What deadly sin do you think you commit the most? Let me know if you have additional deadly sins that should be added to this list. Glad to hear your comments.:)