A little while ago we listed five really bad English errors. They’re the type of mistakes that make you look ignorant – and ones spell-check won’t pick up.
Today, we list five more – and tips for avoiding them. As we said last time people shouldn’t be judged for these errors – but the fact is, they are!
If you write, “his a great dancer”, you’re signalling that he has great moves but you can’t write.
Remind your child that if you really mean “he is” you can’t write “his” – it has to be “he’s”. But if you’re referring to a possession, “his” is correct – for example, “He’s so proud of his brother.”
2. Shouldn’t of
This error creeps in because of the way we speak. In quick conversation, “I shouldn’t have robbed the bank” sounds like “I shouldn’t of robbed the bank.”
But if you make this mistake in print you seem like you’ve never read a book and will scare off potential employers.
Lots of otherwise well-spoken people mix these up. Actually that’s not quite right – what they do is use “bought” for everything.
This is easily fixed: “bought” can only be used to mean purchasing something.
So, which of these sentences is correct?
1. I bought my hat with me because it will be hot.
2. Watergate bought about the downfall of Nixon.
3. I bought a car today.
(See below for answer).
Kid: Me and Sarah are going to play.
Parent: No, you mean Sarah and I are going to play!
The parent was correct. But it seems so many of us have heard this so often we have hypercorrected and now use “I” when it should be “me”.
For example, “Come and have dinner with David and I” is wrong; it should be “David and me“.
There’s an easy way to fix this – imagine what you would say if it was just you: “Come and have dinner with I” sounds ridiculous!
Perhaps to avoid the whole issue, or sometimes to sound more formal, people often use “myself”. For example, “If you have any questions please contact myself on this number.”
Again, this error is easily fixed: only use “myself” when it comes naturally!
Which two of these sentences are correct:
1. I’m not happy with the job he did so I’m going to do it again myself.
2. On behalf of my wife and myself, I’d like to welcome you all here.
3. Mary and me are good friends.
4. That’s where Lisa and I used to work.
5. He doesn’t seem to like Luke and I.
(See below for answer)
Remind your kids that if you’re striving for emphasis or are meaning “also”, you must use “too” not “to”.
For example: “I’m too tired to drive. Can you drive or are you too tired too?”
*Misspelled deliberately for comic effect!
The more kids read the less chance they’ll make mistakes like these. And it’s never too late to start. If you have an 8-year-old who loves sports but hates reading, now is the time to grab Harry Potter and start reading it together every night!
Answers to quiz questions
Bought/Brought: Sentence 3 is correct
Myself/Me/I: Sentences 1 and 4 are correct.