9 Grammar Errors You Probably Make On Your Blog

Nowadays anyone can start a blog. It is fast, and easy. And this is a good thing, because it creates opportunities for lots of people to be heard everywhere. The harder thing though is figuring out what to blog about, and being persistent and committed enough to stick through without failing.

But the fact that now anyone can blog (read write) leaves space for more bloggers to make mistakes, and grammar errors are certainly the most common. It happens quite often for words and phrases that sound just fine when you hear or say them to look like complete nonsense when written down. That is if you are aware that they are mistakes. Even though we’ve all had this class in school, still many people don’t understand grammar thoroughly, so realizing you’ve made an error in your writing is half battle won.

grammar-mistakes

Following are nine of the most common grammar errors most bloggers make to help you identify and correct yours:

Affect/Effect

The easiest way to differentiate these two is to understand that “affect” is most often a verb (e.g., ~The rain affected her hairdo~) which means to influence, cause something, while “effect” is almost always a noun (e.g., ~The sea sun had an amazing effect on my skin~) and describes a result or outcome.

As a rare exception affect can also be a noun and refer to our conscious and subjective aspect of feeling or emotion (e.g., ~He appeared shallow because of his lack of affect~). Effect can also be used as a transitive verb and mean to produce, or bring into existence, make happen. (e.g., ~My new job offer effected a much-desired transition to higher levels of management~).

Their/There/They’re

This one is often tricky for lots of people, though in my opinion it shouldn’t be. This is how I differ them:

  • “They’re” is short from “They are”, much like you’re, we’re, …
  • “Their” is used to imply ownership over something, together with my, her, our, … To ensure you are using their correctly try switch it with our. If it works well, that’s your word.
  • “There” represents a place, a destination, or is used to show that something exists.

E.g., ~Their plane landed in the field over there. Luckily, they’re all good.~

your-you-are

Your/You’re

Do not mix “Your” with “You’re”. Your means it belongs to you (your blog), is of you (your picture), or is related to you (your mom). You’re is short from “You are”, like in the case of they’re above. This is a rule that is 100% true and always applies. So try switch you’re with you are, and if it works you got the right usage.

E.g., ~Your blog’s Facebook page is getting a lot of attention. You’re really taking off!~

Which/That

This is one of the most common grammar mistakes bloggers make, and understandably so. Most simply said, “That” should be used before a restrictive clause, and “Which” is flexible enough to be used before everything else. That is a restrictive pronoun and is absolutely vital to the noun it refers to; without it the sentence would lose its meaning (e.g., ~A child that sleeps always makes me calm~). Also, keep in mind that which is either surrounded or preceded by commas.

Fewer/Less

“Fewer” and “Less” are easy to confuse. They both mean the same – they are opposite of “More”, – but fewer is used for numbers and things you can quantify, and less is used for mass nouns, things that you can’t count individually. E.g., ~The company has fewer than 50 employees~, and ~The company is less successful now that they lost half of their workers~.

Who/Whom

Since simpler is always better, once again, the easiest way to differentiate “Who” and “Whom” is to ask yourself whether the answer would be “She” or “Her”. To further explain it, – who is used when you refer to the subject of a clause, and whom when you refer to the object. In the sentence ~I fell asleep on the beach~ I is the subject and beach is the object, as I am the subject doing something (sleeping) to the object.

grammar-rules

Lay/Lie

The crown jewel of all grammar errors is the confusion between the transitive “Lay” and intransitive verb “Lie”. The main difference here is that lay requires a direct object and lie does not. So you can lie on the couch (no direct object), but you must lay the pencil on the table (the pencil is the direct object). The biggest mistakes happen though, when we use these words in past tense, because lay is also the past tense of lie, while “Laid” is past tense of lay.

May/Might

There’s a subtle difference between these two. Both indicate possibility, but “May” implies a more likely outcome, while “Might” is used when the outcome is less likely or uncertain. There are two exceptions to this rule. Might is also the past tense of may, so remember to use it whenever referring to something that has already happened. Also, when writing about negative outcomes, it’s better to use might if by using may you sound like you talk about having permission (e.g., ~He may not ask you out~ – may not sounds like he is not allowed; ~He might not ask you out~ is correct).

Me/I

A friend was giving a toast at a dinner for the holidays, and the line ~This was an amazing year for my family, my wife and I~ just got stuck in my head… That’s not how you should use “I”. What if last year was amazing just for you? Would you say ~This was an amazing year for I~? No. You will say “Me”. So the correct usage would be ~ This was an amazing year for my family, my wife and me~.

In future, remember to avoid these grammar mistakes when blogging, or maybe bookmark this page to get reminded over and over again. Do you have some of your own to add?

Comments

  1. micah says

    Oh, believe me, I see a lot of blogs falling prey to these grammar errors/spelling demons. Sometimes I just scratch my head, especially when some bloggers do not or cannot make use of the words “You’re and Your properly.

  2. Deborah says

    I’ve made some of those errors in my blog, I admit, but no one has ever attempted to correct me.. *scratches head*

    I thank you for this wonderful post and informative tips. I think I can do better now with those possessive words like your and their.. Big help!

  3. CoffeeBookMom says

    as always, you’ve written a very interesting article, Heidi. I’m sure a lot of other bloggers out there are grateful for this post. I myself want to thank you for pointing out these common mistakes.

  4. marielle says

    more often than not, I always get confused with the words Lay/Lie. I always seem to interchange these two words, especially when I have to use the past tense of lie and lay. It’s crazy!

  5. Susan says

    oh, I’m guilty with the use of Lay and Lie.. like the others, I always get confused when to use the word Lie or lay. Same with Affect/Effect. Silly me!

  6. Belinda says

    In my case, I often roll my eyes when I see a blog that’s full of grammatical errors and misspellings. As much as I want to correct their sentences by getting a red pen and encircle the parts that need improvement, I just can’t. So what I do (sometimes…) is send a private message to the blogger (especially when I know her/him personally) and inform him/her of the grammar errors on the blog. Of course, I will say that in a friendly and polite manner.

  7. pauline says

    i don’t want to say this, but yeah, guilty as charged! i mean, yes, i have done those grammar errors more than once in my blog. I sucked at editing too.

  8. margaret says

    i think the most common mistake i make on my blog is the use of me and i .. i was like that Heidi, the one that always say me in the end… :( now i know what’s not right on my posts.

  9. gabrielle says

    ha-ha-ha! sorry, i just can’t help but laugh with the mistakes i’ve made on my own blog after reading this. oh my goodness, i really should take grammar/spelling lessons soon, i’m so embarassed I’ve actually been using lie and lay interchangebly, as well as the you’re and your. so embarassing really..

  10. says

    Hello Heidi,
    I have not heard of a distinction between may and might over which one is more or less likely to happen or occur.

    That reminds me of no. 10. “Between” is something that happens between two persons or parties or entities or companies and so on. Between the Republicans and Democrats, I don’t know who to blame for the mess Congress is in. “Among” is something goes on among more than two persons or parties and on and on and on. The Republicans, Democrats and Independents discussed Obamacare among themselves.

    I agree with you that “may” is present tense and “might” is past tense. I’ve considered the difference to be useful in writing correctly in sequence of tenses. I would say, “She says she may go to the movie,” and “She said earlier today she might go to the movie.”

    And one of my pet peeves is the use of singular verbs with plural subjects. For example, “If you’re willing to pay a little extra for trendy bottled water, there’s [there is] Evian, Smartwater and Figi.” I believe it shld be, “There are Evian, Smartwater and Figi.” I think I am seeing more and more confusion over the singular and the plural and the verbs each takes.

    This is not my own, I learned it from my copy editing prof. If an object is the center, it can’t revolve around anything. It is a single point. I feel as if I’m not saying this clearly. Sorry.

    • says

      Oooooooops, just shows to go ya. Not matter how well you proof something, you’re bound to miss mistakes. In my second graf, I dropped the word “that” from the sentence that should have read, “Among is something THAT goes on….” Mea culpa.

  11. Heidi says

    Didn’t realize that grammar is such a passionate subject for a lot of people! Thank you everyone for their comments and thoughts : )

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