In the previous two blogs, Part 1 and Part 2 of the 10 Most Common Grammar Errors, we have established that it is very important to present good quality work for various reasons – and in various areas. Striving for excellence must be the proverbial red ribbon that unfurls throughout your life, if you wish to do anything well. It is an overall mindset, not a closed bubble within many bubbles of your life. Nothing is really separate from each other.
Of course, nobody is perfect, and especially not in all areas of life. However, if you reach up, rather than being neglectful and uncaring, you will see how your passion and discipline carries over to other areas in your life. And even if you are an amateur at something and have only the most simplistic tools and skills at your disposal, you can still make the most of what you have – or not.
Let’s look for more areas of general confusion to mete them out and become a better writer, whether you write copy for short posts on social media or long book manuscripts. It’s good to start somewhere, so when we know the most common errors occurring, we can avoid falling into the same traps in the future.
Grammar Error #5
This common mistake doesn’t only happen to people typing on smartphones with annoying autocorrect, but also to those typing on a traditional computer keyboard. So let me explain the meaning of those two different variants:
An example of a sentence is:
Tyler, who’s a great football player, knocked over Stan whose ear was bruised by the collision.
The first, who’s, refers to Tyler’s state of being, while the second, whose, refers to Stan’s possession of the bruised ear.
Grammar Error #6
that or which
In her book, “Woe Is I: The Grammarphobe’s Guide to Better English in Plain English,” Patricia T. O’Connor writes:
This becomes clear in the following example:
Emily’s Egyptian Mau cat, which had one black paw, liked to prowl at night.
Emily’s Egyptian Mau cat that liked to prowl at night had one black paw.
In the first sentence, you can easily drop the clause without taking away the core message:
Emily’s Egyptian Mau cat liked to prowl at night.
In the second sentence, this would completely obliterate the core message, because the important information is the prowling, not the paw:
Emily’s Egyptian Mau cat had one black paw.
Do you understand the difference? So when you’re not quite sure which one to use next time, bear these simple pointers in mind and you will be fine.
If you have any questions, don’t be shy to pop me a mail to firstname.lastname@example.org and ask. I’m happy to help make this world a better place and quality in the use of language is part of this.
Watch out for the next blog in this grammatical error series and subscribe to my blog: