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43 Embarrassing Grammar Mistakes Even Smart People Make

GetawaysRus

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Those were the easy ones.

The real killers are lay and lie, laid and lain.

Anyone who can use those verbs correctly is a grammar genius.
 

PrairieGirl

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The one that drives me around the bend is "priorize" instead of "prioritize". And I hear this often in a business setting, or from a radio/tv announcer. Can you even list something in prior order? Seems almost like an oxymoron.
 

Chrispee

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Incorrect subject-verb agreement isn’t on the list and it has to be the most common error. I cringe every time I hear a news reporter or teacher say “there’s four more days until the start of football season”.
 

AnnaS

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Who/whom - never know/can remember the rule when to use whom

thought of another one now - will have to google if it's even a word. Whose - it is, who is, correct?
 

PigsDad

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One that I often see and drives me crazy: "I put an add on TUG to rent out my week."

It is "ad", not "add".

Kurt
 

LannyPC

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Who/whom - never know/can remember the rule when to use whom
Whose - it is, who is, correct?
The difference between who and whom is that one is the subject and one is the object. A comparison would be the difference between I and me, he and him, or we and us.

As for whose and who's, whose belongs to "who" (or "whom"). For instance, Whose jacket is this. OTOH, who's is a contraction for who is. For example, Who's (who is) coming to the store with me?
 

Talent312

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Are the grammar police the same people as the mattress-tag police?
.
 

bobpark56

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If we are discussing pronunciation, every sportscaster that puts a T in Wimbledon grates on my nerves.


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...and then there are the sportscasters who don't know the differenced between forte (French, strong part of a sword, pronounced Fort) and forte (Italian/music, loud, pronounced Fort-tay).
 

isisdave

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...and then there are the sportscasters who don't know the differenced between forte (French, strong part of a sword, pronounced Fort) and forte (Italian/music, loud, pronounced Fort-tay).
Supposedly, the preferred English pronunciation is "fort" but both are in most dictionaries, and I don't believe I have EVER heard anyone else pronounce it "fort." In fact, I get blank stares if I do that, so I've switched to "strength" or "strong point."

Incidentally, the preferred English pronunciation of pianoforte, Italian origin or not, is -fort -- but again, dictionaries are not holding the line on this! Piano-forty? Gimme a break!

"Whom" is on the endangered list. Even when used correctly, it's starting to sound "wrong," especially in questions and indirect uses. For example: "He wondered whom he should tell." Anyone who spent four years or more diagramming sentences will recognize that the object of "wondered" is the subordinate clause "he should tell whom" -- but it is so rarely spoken, let alone written this way, it sounds odd to me.
 

Ubil

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While not incorrect, "at that point in time" is usually redundant and an example of "Watergate English". Before the Watergate Hearings and the testimony of John Dean, it was not in common usage.

BTW, I just noticed that I put the "." after the double-quote at the end of "Watergate English." I know putting the period before the double-quote is the convention, but it never made any sense to me.
 

Luanne

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Okay, pronunciation. Is is "foy ur" or "foy eh"? Looking it up supposedly people in the U.S. call it a foy ur. I'd always heard foy eh.
 

rickandcindy23

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Those were the easy ones.

The real killers are lay and lie, laid and lain.

Anyone who can use those verbs correctly is a grammar genius.
Totally agree! And another is effect and affect. I did a quiz on these two once, all of the various uses of the two words, and I was completely confused by the end of the quiz. I failed. And I have a degree in English. So embarrassing.

I make a lot of mistakes, both in punctuation and grammar, when I write, some of which I am oblivious, and I just have to forgive myself. Just sayin'. :)
 

rickandcindy23

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I keep seeing various people on Facebook posting, "woah," instead of "whoa." I find that amusing.
 

rickandcindy23

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Are the grammar police the same people as the mattress-tag police?
.
My first job was World of Sleep in Denver, from age 18 to 21. I worked in the warehouse, and people would actually call us and ask why they cannot remove that tag on their new mattress.
 

rickandcindy23

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Having loose change in your pocket is different from losing your change. Loose and lose are not the same thing.
 

Talent312

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My first job was World of Sleep in Denver, from age 18 to 21. I worked in the warehouse, and people would actually call us and ask why they cannot remove that tag on their new mattress.
Confession: I have done so.... and no one has come knocking on my door, yet.

I also put apostrophes where they don't belong, like TS's, just becuz they look good.
I'm waiting to be tarred and feathered.
.
 

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If we are discussing pronunciation, every sportscaster that puts a T in Wimbledon grates on my nerves.


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Or when they put an extra syllable in the word "athlete" such as "athalete".
 

jme

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Hello? The absolute worst has not even been mentioned, and that is the incorrect usage of pronouns such as I and me, he and him, she and her, etc.

Example: "This secret will be between you and I."
........WRONG!!!!!! The conjunction "and" joins two phrases, "between X" AND "between Y"...
........and those pronouns are OBJECTS of a preposition (not the subject), which determines which pronoun should be used.
........Does anyone ever really mean "between you AND between I"? (I hope not.)
........No, they don't...it should be "between you and me", short for between you AND between me.

It's a similar situation for "I saw you and he" yesterday. People who are uneducated use "he" in that instance because they think
the "he" sounds better, more elegant, more educated, or something (???), but that is again WRONG!!!!!
Saying "I saw you and he yesterday" is short for "I saw you AND I saw he yesterday", and that is absurd.
The proper usage should be "I saw you and him yesterday", short for "I saw you AND I saw him yesterday".
........the AND simply connects the pronouns "you" and "him", shortening the phrase.
It makes the sentence easier to read and understand, and avoids repetition. We normally use "object" pronouns after a verb or a preposition.
"I remember you and they"???........NO, it's "I remember you and I remember them".

This egregious grammatical mistake is made daily, 24/7, by 99% of major successful actors & actresses (even in major films already released),
TV commentators, panelists, politicians, dignitaries, executives, CEOs...... and OOPS, even 95% of TUG members,
who without knowledge use these incorrect phrases, and it becomes heard, and then others think it's correct, and the misuse simply explodes.
It has now become epidemic in personal practice and in the media, and what is correct is no longer in vogue.
Listen and you will notice this every time, and it will become astounding to you.

For example, In TUG member photos, many post a photo of spouse and self, and write, "This is my hubby and I"
or "My hubby and I" or "My DW and I" as the caption for the photo.
WRONG!!!!!!!! It should be "This is my hubby and me" or "This is my DW and me". (Not "This is my hubby" AND "this is I".)
The misuse is due to improper education, and it makes I cringe......errrrrrr, I mean it makes ME cringe. Get it?

Remedy:
When in doubt yourself, or to check whether someone you just heard was right or wrong,
just take that prepositional phrase "preposition X and Y" and turn it into the long version "preposition X and preposition Y",
and IT WILL BECOME OBVIOUS because the wrong object of the preposition will sound ridiculous.
Example:
When you hear, "He's crazy about you and I." >>>>>> turn it into >>>>>>> "He's crazy about you and he's crazy about I", and see how that sounds.
Hopefully you'll turn green and then opt for the correct, "He's crazy about you and he's crazy about me."
 
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