Misused Words and Bad Grammar
We all do it. Misuse words and fail at proper grammar. And start sentences with “and” and write incomplete sentences. I’m giving perfect examples right now. Plus we don’t structure sentences in the correct form like we were taught in English classes.
Guess what? Some of these errors I have zero problems with. I don’t care if I’m doing it wrong, especially since I’m trying to communicate in an effective manner with friends, family, fans, followers and future factions (had to use my synonym tool for that one). Everyone lives in such a fast-paced society that slang words and phrases are now the norm. This way of writing and talking tends to get right to the point. Depending on what I’m writing will determine the amount of effort I place on following “the rules”. Heck, many of the so-called English rules I have forgotten. I would be shunned if I tried my hand at true literary fiction! Add to the mix how some punctuation blunders aren’t necessary considered incorrect anymore. (I love using ellipses…)
But sometimes the misuse of words does drive me batty. The following examples come from Ezinearticles.com:
affect vs. effect
affect – To have an effect on; make a difference to; an emotion or desire.
Incorrect: Chocolate effects my behavior.
Correct: Chocolate affects my behavior.
effect – To bring about; to cause something to happen; a change that is a result of an action or cause.
Incorrect: Chocolate has an incredible affect on behavior.
Correct: Chocolate has an incredible effect on behavior.
allot vs. a lot
allot – To give or to apportion something to someone as a share or a task.
Incorrect: I will a lot 3 prizes to the winners.
Correct: I will allot 3 prizes to the winners.
a lot – (never alot) A large amount, very many; also, very much.
Incorrect: I like monkeys allot. There are alot of them at the zoo.
Correct: I like monkeys a lot. There are a lot of them at the zoo.
Please note the context of a piece of land or lot, as in “a lot”, is also acceptable; however, it’s not a common usage error.
then vs. than
then – At that time; at the time in question; after that, next, afterward.
Incorrect: I went to the zoo and than to the park.
Correct: I went to the zoo and then to the park.
than – Used in expressions when introducing an exception or contrast.
Incorrect: Bob is shorter then Ralph.
Correct: Bob is shorter than Ralph.
lie vs. lay (I have problems remembering this one)
lie – To be in or assume a horizontal or resting position; the way, direction, or position in which something lies.
Please note we will not be discussing “lie”, i.e. to tell a falsehood or to fib, because it’s not a common usage error.
Incorrect: I am going to lay down for a nap.
Correct: I am going to lie down for a nap.
lay – To put down (generally carefully or gently); the general appearance of an area.
Incorrect: I am going to lie the baby down for a nap.
Correct: I am going to lay the baby down for a nap.
desert vs. dessert
desert – To abandon; a dry, barren area of land; barren.
Incorrect: The nomads desserted the dessert in search of water.
Correct: The nomads deserted the desert in search of water.
dessert – The sweet course at the end of the meal.
Incorrect: Did you see this low-fat and delicious desert recipe?
Correct: Did you see this low-fat and delicious dessert recipe?
(The following grammar rules did not come directly from Ezinearticles.com)
When do I use ‘were’ and when do I use ‘was’?
Normally follow this rule:
>He, She, It, I = WAS
>They, You, We = WERE
>BUT…Why do people say, “I wish I were shopping”? Shouldn’t that be ‘was’? The answer: use WERE after the words: if, wish, rather, as though (otherwise use WAS with “I”).
>Examples: I wish I were bigger. If I were slightly bigger, I would be able to intimidate others. He acted as though he were a little child.
Another mistake that I hear or see (thankfully not in books) is choosing the word ‘idea’ when the person actually meant ‘ideal’…or the flip-flop. To me, that one is painfully obvious the difference in meaning and how to choose the correct one for a sentence.
You have to admit – these sure make you THINK! Luckily I do not have problems with all of these examples. Lie vs. lay is troublesome for me, though. I’ve actually changed the word to something else (instead of lie or lay) to avoid the whole issue! OK. Enough brain torture and hair pulling for one day!