You can see the full version of the background image here: People are dumb
As you can see in these pictures, the English language can (apparently) be incredibly challenging to master. How many languages could create the equivalent of the following sentence (which is structurally correct)? “The plain plane planed across the plain.” Having said this, English is the primary language for most of the people that I know. It baffles me to see how often people butcher it. I do not write this to imply that I am a perfect writer. I wouldn’t be surprised if there are multiple errors in this article. The purpose is to simply to inform. You’re welcome to ignore it and carry on speaking and writing as usual. In no particular order, here are a few of my most annoying grammatical mistakes.
Clay Travis‘ followers have made this one pretty famous with the popular insult “Your Gay”, which is the obvious misuse of the correct form. Whenever an apostrophe is used in the English language, it signifies one of two things: 1) To show possession of a noun or 2) To be used in a contraction (shortened form of two words like “don’t”). The problem here is that both uses of the word your/you’re somewhat fit these definitions. The trick is that while “your” is possessive, it does not require an apostrophe because it is not a noun. “You’re” fits the second rule, which requires an apostrophe due to the contraction of “You are.”
Hint: Plugin “You are” for you’re, and “My” for your and see which one makes more sense in the context.
This is more difficult than your/you’re because you have a 1/3 chance of getting it right. In reality, you should never miss it because it isn’t that hard.
Their- Possessive. See rules for “your” above.
They’re- They are. See rules for “you’re” above.
There- Use any other time. Normally indicates a place or location. Has many uses.
Hint: Plugin “There are” for they’re, and “My” for your and see which one makes more sense in the context.
3) “Of” as a verb
This is the one that I am most guilty of, but I annoy myself when I do it. “I “could of” jumped higher than Johnny” is not correct. Can you of something? No. Would you like to conjugate the verb of? The correct usage is “could have”, but is generally reduced when spoken to “could’ve.” People hear this as “could of” and use it incorrectly. I don’t mind too much when people say it like this, but please do not write “of” as a verb.
4) Correct Use of Present Perfect
You might not think you know what present perfect is, but you probably do. Present Perfect is used to describe something that started in the past and is still continuing. It uses a form of has + present participle of the verb. The simple past refers to events that occurred and are finished.
I have went to Australia every year since 2005. (Past Simple)
I have gone to Australia every year since 2005. (Present Perfect)
Many people would say that both are correct. Those people would be wrong. The past participle for “to go” is gone. Went can only be used for the simple past.
I mowed my yard yesterday. (Past Simple)
I have mowed my yard five times this year. (Present Perfect)
This verb is a regular verb, and thus the present participle and the simple past are the same (mowed). The distinction between the two is established by using a form of “has” with the present perfect. In the first example, I can never again mow my yard yesterday. It is a finished act and thus is past simple tense. I have mowed my yard five times this year implies that I have completed this tasks in the past, but will also continue to do so going forward. The year is not over. Once the year is over, the sentence would change to “I mowed my yard nine times in 2013.”
5) Affect vs. Effect
In my opinion, this is one the most forgivable mistake on this list. Once you learn the rule; however, you will be right about 95% of the time. Effect is used as a noun. Affect is used as a verb. It is as simple as memorizing this rule (or Googling it each time you need to use one). There are a few exceptions to this rule, but just go with it. Be weary of correcting people on this one. Correcting the proper use of the exception to the rule will make you look silly. Hopefully this point will effect change.
Bonus: Misusing the words Irregardless and Literally
The use of the prefix “ir” is used to mean “not” in the English language. For example, irrational means not rational. Irrelevant means not relevant. So irregardless means not regardless right… Regardless means having no regard, so irregardless would literally be “Not having no regard.” Wouldn’t you feel silly saying that sentence? Look at the T-shirt in the picture to get a feel for how ridiculous this is.
Literally means literally. I know that you aren’t supposed to use a word in its own definition, but it should prove a point here. People generally use literally it to mean figuratively, which is the almost an exact opposite of what literally means. I literally cannot explain it more simply.
I’m sure I left out some good ones, so feel free to add any that I missed in the comments. You’re (1) job is to put comments down their (2) so they could of (3) have (4) an affect (5) on others, irregardless (b) of their intelligence.