We never like to get caught making mistakes in the way we speak or write. Yet some grammatical mistakes come up so often in the everyday that I think we could all use a quick refresher.
When I taught high school English, I explained to my students that grammatical mistakes often carried a heavy weight. Making grammatical mistakes could result in others misjudging their intelligence or missing their purpose – all due to simple mistakes with punctuation, word choice, or word usage.
So here's a quick refresher on seven common grammar hang-ups for kids and parents. These are the mistakes you don't want to make.
1. it's vs its
It's is the contraction for it is.
It's raining today, so the baseball game will be cancelled.
Its is the possessive form ("possessive" means belongs to) of it.
The cat is licking its paws.
2. books vs book's vs books'
Books is the plural form ("plural" means more than one) of book.
Please put the books on the counter.
Book's is the possessive form of book.
The book's cover has ripped, so we need to have it repaired.
Books' is the possessive form of books.
All of the books' covers have to be replaced since they were labeled improperly.
3. their vs there vs they're
Their is a pronoun.
The students put their coats in the closet.
There can act as different parts of speech, depending on how it is used in a sentence. Most commonly, it is used as a pronoun or adverb.
There will be a lot to eat at the party tonight. (pronoun)
Put the book over there. (adverb)
they’re is the contraction for they are
They’re going to have practice immediately after school today.
4. all right vs alright
Alright is not all right!
"Alright" is not grammatically correct and is actually a shortened, slang term for "all right."
Despite falling down the steps, the cookies were all right.
5. your vs you're
Your is a pronoun.
Please bring your books to class with you tomorrow.
You're is a contraction for you are.
You're going to absolutely love this new recipe.
6. me vs I
Me is always the object: Please give that to me!
I is always the subject: I am going to the mall after school.
There's a simple trick for this one, when there is another person involved in the I/me equation. Remove the other person, and see how the sentence sounds.
My mom and me/I are making cookies today. (I sounds better, and I is the subject.)
She gave Lucy and me/I brand new aprons. (Me sounds better, and me is an object.)
Though many, many people would say that "She gave Lucy and I brand new aprons" sounds correct, it is, indeed, incorrect.
7. a whole nother
A whole nother is slang for a whole other, or another whole.
The baseball uniform dilemma is a whole other story.
The baseball uniform dilemma is another whole story.
What other grammar mistakes should we include on this list? Is there a mistake that you notice frequently in writing or conversation that we should share? Let us know!
Share your thoughts on the Scholastic Parents Facebook page, or find Amy on Twitter, @teachmama, and let's continue the conversation!
Read all posts by Amy Mascott.