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ToPe 12 GRAmER MysTaeKeS

August 12, 2011

I’m always asked about the most common grammar mistakes that I come across as an editor. From my experience, these are it! Here are the first 6 of 12 top grammar mistakes.

#1: It’s / Its

“Its” is possessive. “It’s” is a contraction for “it is.”

Incorrect: I love this pie; its the best ever!
Correct: I love this pie; it’s the best ever!

Incorrect: It’s coat is too shaggy.
Correct: Its coat is too shaggy.

#2: They’re / Their / There

“They’re” is a contraction for “they are.” “Their” is possessive. “There” indicates location.

Incorrect: The managers are in they’re weekly planning meeting over their where there working on reports.

Correct: The managers are in their planning meeting over there where they’re working on reports.

#3: Effect / Affect

“Effect” is used as a NOUN and means “something that is produced by an agency or cause; result; consequence.”
“Affect” is used as a VERB with an object and means “to act on; produce an effect or change in.”
Incorrect: The storm shouldn’t effect any users during work hours; its affect will be minimal.

Correct: The storm shouldn’t affect any users during work hours; its effect will be minimal.

#4: You’re / Your

“Your” is possessive; “you’re” is a contraction for “you are.”

Incorrect: Your right … she does love you’re pie. 

Correct: You’re right … she does love your pie.

#5: Lay / Lie

“Lay” is a verb that is used with an object and means “to put or place in a horizontal position or position of rest; set down.” Verb tenses include: lay/laid/laying.

“Lie” is a verb that is NOT used with an object and means “to be in a horizontal position; recline.” Verb tenses include: lie/lay/lain/lying. 

Incorrect: I got dizzy and had to lay down. Lie the books here.

Correct: I got dizzy and had to lie down. Lay the books here.

#6: Could of / would of vs. could have / would have

“Could of/would of/should of” are all slang. Use the proper verbs “could have/would have/should have.”

Incorrect: I could of done that by mistake.

Correct: I could have done that by mistake.


Stay tuned for Part 2 of
“Top Grammar Mistakes.”

9 Comments leave one →
  1. August 12, 2011 9:36 am

    Those are definitely common ones! One of my biggest pet peeves besides those you listed is when someone says “whole nother.”

    • August 12, 2011 12:46 pm

      Oh, that cracks me up!! I have heard that … also “fixing to” drives me crazy. But I guess that is not grammatically incorrect!

  2. Lindsay permalink
    August 12, 2011 11:16 am

    Effect vs. Affect always gets me! I will have to bookmark this post so I can remember. 🙂

    • August 12, 2011 12:47 pm

      A friend just gave me a secret about how to remember “effect/affect”… think of RAVEN: “Remember: Affect Verb, Effect Noun.” That’s handy!

      • Lindsay permalink
        August 12, 2011 4:02 pm

        Very! I was looking at my comment after I posted it and I am pretty sure that I had one of the mistakes you were talking about. Ha!

  3. Jenny permalink
    August 17, 2011 5:16 pm

    how about my southern hubby who says things like…I might could, or I’m fixing to..


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