Common Grammatical Errors

You may often hear people make the grammatical errors below. The examples of correct usage provided here will help you avoid making these errors yourself.

1. Use of “lie” and “lay”:

To “lay” means to set or put; to “lie” means to recline.

Memory Aid: Chickens lay; people lie down.

Example of correct use: “The bird will lay eggs in her carefully constructed nest.”
“She had worked so hard, she needed to lie down for a rest.”

2. Use of “all are not” when “not all are” is meant.

Example: Saying, “All horses are not brown,” when one means, “Not all horses are brown.”

3. Use of the phrase “between you and I”
Example of misuse: “Let’s just keep this between you and I.”

Correct phrase: “between you and me”
Example of correct use: “Let’s just keep this between you and me.”

4. Use of the phrase “between she and I”
Example of misuse: Between she and I, we had twenty dollars to spend.

Correct phrase: “between her and me”
Example of correct use: Between her and me, we had twenty dollars to spend.

5. Using “myself” instead of “me”.
Example of misuse: “See John or myself after the meeting.”

Example of correct use: “See John or me after the meeting.”

6. Use of the phrase “try and”
Example of misuse: “I will try and win the race.”

Correct phrase: “try to”
Example of correct use: “I will try to win the race.”

7. Use of the word “irregardless”.
“Regardless” is the correct word to use whenever you think “irregardless” should appear.

8. Double negatives in any form.
Examples: “I don’t know nothing.”
“We don’t go nowhere.”

Example of correct use: “I don’t know anything.”
“We don’t go anywhere.”

9. Use of the word “Youse” as a plural for “You”. “You” is both singular and plural (like the word “deer” referring to the animal).
Example of misuse: “Youse there, stop throwing rocks.”

Example of correct use: “You there, stop throwing rocks.” (use to refer to a group or a single person)

10. Who versus whom.

Lots of people struggle with when to use the word “whom”. Here is an easy way to remember – if you can answer the question with the word “him” then use “whom”. “Him” ends with “m” and so does “whom”.

If the word “he” could be used in the answer, then the word “who” is the correct word to use. No “m” in “he”, therefore, no “m” in the question word.

Examples of correct use:
"Whom do you love?” “I love him.” Since the answer can be “him”, the correct word to use is “whom”.
“Whom did you call?” I called him.
“Who stepped on the dog’s tail?” “He did.”
“Who turned off the TV?” “He did.”

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