I’ve noticed a few things that seem to trip up even native English speakers frequently. Good grammar is important whether or not you want to be a writer by trade –especially for students and people who are required to communicate via email frequently.
I know grammar posts are boring, but keep reading if you think you might benefit from a few quick pointers!
I am going to eat dinner, then I will have dessert. Then I’m going to bed.
What if there’s a spider in the bed?
Then I’ll burn my house down.
Use then when discussing the order of events, or when answering a question as to what you will do.
She is fatter than her sister.
Condoms are cheaper than treating VD.
Today we will have more rum than yesterday.
Use than to compare things.
What effect will your actions have on others?
She strained and strained to defecate, to little effect.
This medicine has fun side effects.
Effect is almost always a noun.
How does this affect me?
Will the new pill affect the effects of the old one?
The LSD is affecting Tommy.
Affect is a verb.
I see native speakers confusing these two all the time, and it is infurating.
I am going to sell my brother.
She’s selling makeup –don’t let her in!
Would you please sell me your socks?
They’re having a huge sale on candles.
Let’s hold a yard sale.
Are your socks for sale?
Sell is a verb; sale is a noun. Native speakers: Get it right, you absolute wankers.
A shitload of people get these mixed up.
Is this your dog?
You’re a wanker.
Seriously; you’re is short for you ARE. Your means something is yours.
I can see why this might be difficult to non-native speakers, but the rest of you have no excuse. Learn it.
They’re going to get their new puppy over there.
They’re = they are
Their = it belongs to them
There = a place
A question I often see people asking online is, “How do I improve my grammar?”
The obvious answer is to write in the language, but if no one tells you you’re wrong, how can you improve?
My suggestion to anyone who wants to improve their English is this:
Read books. Write things, and have people critique them. Make a conscience effort to learn why you were wrong, and come up with ways to remember the tricks. For example, when trying to decipher between sale and sell, you could ask yourself: Is the pail for sale?
What do you struggle with most when it comes to English?