Grammar served on a plate

January 16, 2014

grammar i judge u

Yes, I do judge you by your grammar, especially if you’re a writer. I can’t help it. If you’re going to call yourself a writer, the least you can do is learn to use the written word correctly. Or you have no credibility at all.

  It’s not so much the fine details of grammar that bug me as it is the huge, glaring mistakes –errors  so common there’s a set of Grammar Plates to help you remember. Like this one:

grammar fewer less

The misuse of “fewer” and “less” always jumps out at me. It just seems so…basic.

grammar good wellI make this mistake all the time because the misuse of “good” has become almost colloquial. As in “I feel good.”  or “She did good.”

But my husband ALWAYS uses the words correctly, reminding me to mind my grammar.

Grammar its its

This one is so damn easy to get right. So why do so many people get it wrong?

The apostrophe is only used if you mean “it IS.” Never to show possession.

grammar lie lay best

I always have to look this one up. Unless we’re talking about getting laid. Then, I always get it right. Or do I get it “correctly?”  (evil grin) Yes, I am also a work in progress. But at least I look it up before using it.

grammar you meNo one wants to use the word “me” any  more. I don’t know why that is, but I’ve noticed it, especially with the other nail-on-chalkboard-error: the misuse of myself.  As in “Barton and myself went to the store.”  Getting me, myself and I wrong is the sign of a rank amateur.

I’m not a perfect grammarian, but I do have most of the basics down. And so should anyone who calls him- or her–self a writer.

Here’s a simple grammar quiz help diagnose any common issues you might have.

28 comments on “Grammar served on a plate
  1. Oh god, as an English major, I should know all of these, but I always forget with its and it’s! Thanks for sharing, it will remind me…..

  2. Sara Brady says:

    AMEN, AMEN, AMEN! The confusion or lack of interest about “I” vs. “me” makes me craaaaaazy. And I don’t understand where it came from other than just plain incorrect usage! But my bigger issue….girl, where did you find those dishes!!! hahaha

    • admin says:

      I think there’s fake modesty where people don’t want to say ME. “Myself” sounds less egotistical. But it also sounds stupid. 😉

  3. Scott Hughey says:

    Great post!

    The one disclaimer I’d make is in fiction writing. If the character is a person with bad grammar, then obviously you’d write that person’s dialogue with bad grammar. This would include a 1st person narrator.

    The difference there is it’s intentional, and should be obvious to the reader. Even then, you have to be consistent with the bad grammar rules.

  4. Judy says:

    Love this, but I have an issue with the plates (which I own, given to me by a fellow linguistics major). Sadly, the good/well plate doesn’t convey its message so well. It’s actually perfectly fine to say “I feel good” AND “I feel well.” Both “good” and “well” function as predicate adjectives with “feel,” which is a linking verb. “I feel good” is preferred for emotional states, as in “I feel good (about my grades),” and both can be used for health. Otherwise, as a grammar fanatic, I’m feeling good about this post.

  5. So true. You, my dear, are a master. Just between you and I, I try to do a well job, but I find I must lay down to often. Oh well. heheeeeee

    • admin says:

      Hahh. A master! That sets me up for failure, doesn’ t it? Nahh, I’m colloquial, too. And those memory lapses. But we all try!

  6. Valerie Rind says:

    I could care less. 🙂

  7. admin says:

    And I couldn’t. ;-)))

  8. I am glad I do not call myself a writer! 🙂 I call myself a blabber… 🙂

    • admin says:

      I’ve got bad news for you, Jody: if you blog, you really are writing and should adhere to the rules–in an ideal world. But I’ve got good news for you, too: you have totally inspired me fitness wise!

  9. Darn! You have plates to remind yourself all the time. Is that cheating? Unfortunately what trips me up are things that I’ve read a thousand times and just overlook. It’s like that thing being posted on Facebook that is a series of wrong numbers and letters but you can still make out the text…my mind moves faster than my proofer 🙂 …I do hope I’m getting better though! Thanks for these reminders! ~Kathy

  10. Joyce says:

    I love the plates! What bugs me is when people use incorrect subject – verb agreement. However, sometimes correct grammar sounds awful. For example, when you knock on the door, you need to say, “It is I.”

  11. Jo says:

    You go ahead and correct because I’m not a grammar pro, by any means. I think I have a fair grasp on most everyday rules and don’t speak like a heathen, nor do I write incoherently, but I do make common grammatical errors. I don’t care. I know I drive Nazi’s crazy, but if my reader got the meaning and wasn’t put off by my ignorance, I’m okay with that.

    It’s a big wide wonderful world and room for those with grammatical perfection and also for those of us who try, but sometimes fall short.

    • admin says:

      Well… I don’t go around correcting, but I do notice and it does hurt a writer’s credibility. It’s not necessary to be a grammar pro, but I believe that writing’s no different than any craft:getting the basics right is an important foundation. You’re right–it’s an imperfect world. I make no bones about forgetting at times, myself, but it doesn’t mean I don’t think it’s important for me to pay attention to standards of excellence. Or any writer.

  12. Great tips. Going to re-blog this for some of my followers and for myself. Sometimes I slip up on even these simple things with grammar. Good to have in my pocket when I get back around to writing my novel again.

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