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GRAmER MysTaeKeS: Part 2

August 17, 2011

Did you enjoy the last post of the “Top 12 Grammar Mistakes”? Ready for more? Well, if you can’t get enough grammar, you’re in luck. Here are #7-#12 of the most common grammar mistakes (in my editorial experience).

#7: Semi-Colons

Use a semi-colon only where you could use a period instead. In other words, a semi-colon must join two clauses that could stand by themselves as complete sentences.

Incorrect: The following people will come; Amy, Mark, and Lisa.

Correct: We will meet at the restaurant; we’ll carpool to the movies.

#8: Pronouns (Gender Neutral)

Pronouns must “agree” with the subject. Singular pronouns with singular subjects; plural pronouns with plural subjects.

Incorrect: Someone said that, but they were wrong.

Correct: Someone said that, but she was wrong.

Incorrect: Each child must bring their lunch.

Correct: Each child must bring his or her lunch.

#9. Periods and Commas with Quotation Marks

Incorrect: “Commas and periods go inside the quotes”.

Incorrect: This is “incorrect”, because the comma is outside the quotes.

Correct: “Commas and period go inside the quotes.”

Correct: This is “correct,” because the comma is inside the quotes.

#10. Plural of Letters and Numbers

ABCs / 123s (all caps/no interior periods = no apostrophe)

abc’s (lowercase = apostrophe)

1990s (no apostrophe)

Ph.D.’s (interior periods = apostrophe)

Note: Check your style manual on this one, because AP and CMH are different!

#11. Hyphens

Rule = hyphenate adjectives when followed by a noun; do not hyphenate if not followed by a noun
(Always check style manual/dictionary.)

Example: The manual is up to date.

Example: The up-to-date manual is correct.

#12. Commas

Rules for Commas:

  1. Use a comma to separate words in a list (use comma before the “and”).
    Example: Mark, Lisa, and John received the inheritance.
  2. Use a comma after introductory phrases or words.
    Example: At the end of the day, he went for a swim. (2 prepositions)
    Example: Therefore, insert a comma here.
  3. Use a comma to separate compound sentences. (Compound sentences are 2 complete sentences, both with a subject and verb.)
    Example: I love pizza, and I could eat it every day.


5 Comments leave one →
  1. August 17, 2011 4:22 pm

    I thought I had subscribed to your blog, but I keep missing posts! So I tried again today. 🙂 Great post … I didn’t know about the “ABCs!” I always used an apostrophe!

    • August 19, 2011 11:29 am

      Maybe when you switched servers something happened? Technology…who knows! But thanks for commenting! 🙂

  2. August 18, 2011 10:01 am

    This is awesome stuff! #8 is a pet peeve of mine when I see that mistake in writing. Thank you for putting that one on there. And I have struggled with #11! Thank you for clarifying that one. This is a priceless list. You rock!

    • August 19, 2011 11:30 am

      Thanks! #8 is hard for me to stick to. I just edited a preschool handbook where every sentence used “each child” and I had to change “their” to “his/her.” I’m sure we can keep adding to this list!


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