Common Grammatical Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

February 1st, by Ryan

Common Grammatical Mistakes and How to Avoid Them
Let's face it – writing can be difficult. There are many grammatical mistakes that defeat writers time and time again. Grammar is tricky; its rules don't always seem logical. Even with meticulous editing, mistakes can easily slip by a writer. Here are a few of the most common and basic errors that you must avoid at all costs as a writer.

1. There vs Their vs They're

Many words look and sound extremely similar. This is the case with there, their, and they're. However, each of these words means something very different and should, therefore, be used differently. Here are examples of how each of these words should be used in a sentence.

The frog is over there.
Their frog was in the cage.
They're playing with the frog.

In the first sentence, there is a place. In the second, their shows possession. In the third, they're is used as a contraction for they are.

2. To vs Too

This is another case of incredibly similar words that can be very confusing. To and too look similar but are used for different purposes. Here are some examples of how these words should be used in sentences.

I went to the mall.
At the mall I bought too many things.

To is a preposition used to express motion toward a point. Too is an adverb used to tell you that something is in addition to something else, or that something is to an excessive extent.

3. Alot vs A lot

Many people are very fond of “alot”. However, it is not actually a word. The correct way to say that you have an abundance of something is to say that you have "a lot". Let's look at some sentences.

I had alot of cheese.
I had a lot of cheese.

The second sentence shows proper usage.

4. The Run-on Sentence

It happens to the best of us. Sometimes we don't finish up a sentence when we should, and we just let it run on far too long. A run-on sentence is a sentence that contains two independent clauses without the appropriate conjunction or punctuation. Here is an example of a run-on sentence.

I love pie, I first ate pie 14 years ago.

You can fix this sentence by either turning it into two sentences:
I love pie. I first ate pecan pie 14 years ago.

Or you can add a conjunction:
I love pie, and I first ate pecan pie 14 years ago.

5. It's vs Its

It's and its are another pair of similar looking words with very different meanings. Every writer, at some point in their life, is going to swap the two of these.

It's is a contraction meaning "it has". Its is a possessive pronoun. Here are some examples of how these words should be used.

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.
The dog loved its Christmas present.

If you keep your eye on these common errors, your work will be much better for it. Editing will become easier, and your final product will be smoother as well. Understanding and using proper grammar can easily make you stand out among others. No one wants to see simple errors. So study your grammar carefully to be sure to impress! If you think you're ready to start earning money for your writing, consider joining Contentgather today.