Common Grammar Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Grammar is the backbone of effective communication, yet it’s often the bane of many writers, young or old. Understanding common grammar mistakes can significantly clarify and enhance your communications, whether you’re helping your child with homework, crafting an important email at work, or simply aiming to improve your family’s writing skills. 

Here are some humorous yet instructive examples of grammer mistakes and tips on how to steer clear of them and show your child that they can master grammar skills in no time. 

Psst…we’ve snuck five spelling mistakes into this article. Can you or your child find them all? 

The Classic Comma Conundrum

Example: Let’s eat, Grandma vs. Let’s eat Grandma.

The importance of commas can never be overstated—unless you’re inadvertently suggesting cannibalism! This example shows how a missing comma can dramatically change the meaning of a sentence. The correct version, “Let’s eat, Grandma,” uses a comma to create a pause, indicating that the speaker is addressing Grandma and inviting her to eat. The incorrect version suggests a rather alarming dinner plan involving Grandma.

Tip: When writting, read your sentences aloud to see if a pause is natural or necessary for clarity. If it is, add a comma.

Their, There, and They’re

Example: Their going to love going there with they’re friends.

Mixing up “their,” “there,” and “they’re” is one of the most common mistakes in written English. Correctly used, “their” indicates posession, “there” refers to a place, and “they’re” is a contraction for “they are.”

Correct version: They’re going to love going there with their friends.

Tip: To avoid this mix-up, remember:

“Their” has “heir” in it, which can imply inheritance or possession.

“There” has “here” in it, which helps to remember its use in denoting location.

“They’re” can be expanded to “they are,” so check if your sentence makes sense when expanded.

Your vs. You’re

Example: Your going to love reeding this book vs. You’re going to love reading this book.

“Your” denotes possession, indicating that something belongs to you, while “you’re” is a contraction of “you are.”

Tip: Similar to “they’re,” expand “you’re” to “you are” in your sentence. If it doesn’t make sense when expanded, you probably mean to use “your.”

It’s vs. Its

Example: Its raining! vs. It’s raining!

“It’s” is a contraction for “it is” or “it has,” whereas “its” is a possessive adjective, used to denote ownership.

Tip: Substitute “it is” in the sentence to see if it still makes sense. Use “it’s” for contractions and “its” for possession.

Affect vs. Effect

Example: The movie will effect my emotions vs. The movie will affect my emotions.

“Affect” is typically a verb, meaning to influence something, while “effect” is usually a noun, referring to the result of an influence.

Tip: Remember “Affect is an Action” (both start with ‘A’), and “Effect is an End result” (both start with ‘E’) to keep them distinct.

Master the Basics of Grammar

Grammar doesn’t need to be scary. By recognising and understanding these commen errors, you and your children can improve your writing skills, enhancing academic and professional communication. From essay writing to answering exam questions, good grammar can get you more marks and ensure your hard work makes sense. 

Just remember, a little attention to detail ensures that you won’t accidentally invite Grandma to be the main course at dinner!

Need More Help? At Tutor Doctor, we understand the challenges that come with mastering English grammar. Our personalised tutoring services are tailored to help students and parents alike overcome these hurdles, ensuring clear and correct use of English in both academic and everyday contexts. 

Find your local tutor today, and let’s put the comma drama and other grammatical gaffes to rest!