Grammar Lessons with Winghill
I have a confession to make – I love grammar. And because I want you to love grammar as much as I do, I’m going to regularly talk about the most common grammar errors…and most importantly, how to avoid them.
Grammar matters. A grammatical error in your manuscript will give an editor the excuse they were looking for to toss it aside. As writers, you should be constantly brushing up on your grammar and improving your skills. So give it a try! Get started with these quick grammar lessons.
Fewer versus Less
Fewer than half the English speaking world knows the proper way to use these confusing counters. That might be an exaggeration (we hope!), but here’s how to get it right:
Use “fewer” for things you can physically count, like oranges. I ate fewer oranges than you.
Use “less” for things that are abstract or uncountable, like time, or grains of sand. The less time we spend at the beach, the less sand we’ll get in our shoes!
Your versus You’re
Your great grammar skills mean you’re never going to get this one wrong, right? For me, this is one of those nails on the chalkboard kind of mistakes, but it’s oh so easy to make (especially now with texting culture!).
“Your” is a possessive pronoun; use it when referring to something you own or have. Your grammar is impeccable!
“You’re” is a contraction of “you are”. You’re not going to believe the grammar mistake I saw today!
They’re versus Their versus There
The triple threat. Nothing will make the grammar fanatic angrier than seeing these used improperly. Here’s a quick breakdown of the rules:
“They’re” is a contraction of “they are”. They’re always misusing the word “there”!
“Their” is a possessive pronoun; use it when referring to something they own or have. Their grammar could use some work.
“There” refers to a place, or the existence of something (used with the verb “to be”). There are a lot of seagulls over there.
What grammar mistake drives you crazy? Leave it in a comment!