Grammar Tips for the Article Marketer

Avoiding the (6) Common Grammatical Errors That Make Authors Look Du…Unprofessional

in these days of txting, iming and all low caps, its easy to take shortcuts to writing

However, even though we now use our keyboards as we once did our phones, what most people do not understand is how unprofessional the improper use of the English can make an article, and its author, look. Look at the sentence above again. Does it look professionally written to you?

Now, I’m not saying you need to go back to 9th grade English class and try and figure out where your participles are dangling, but making sure you have a command of the basics is essential.

Here are (6) common errors that are guaranteed to make you look unprofessional:

  1. Lose and Loose – These are not the same word! “You can lose your car keys if you put them in your very loose pants.” They are not interchangable!
  2. Affect and Effect – If something affects you, it has an effect on you. For example: I am affected by the wind. The effect is that my hair gets messy.
  3. Semi-colons – Semi-colons are not commas. They’re also not colons. A semi-colon is used between closely related independent clauses not conjoined with a coordinating conjunction.

    Which means something like this:
    “I went to see a movie; I was told it was sold out.”

    Or between items in a series or a list that has its own punctuation:
    “I have three friends: Maddie, who is my aunt’s daughter; Jane, who is my sister’s teammate; and Nancy, who is my father’s sister.

  4. It’s for Its – and vice versa – “It’s” is short for “it is.” “Its” is the possessive form of “It.”

    So…you have then:
    Yes: “It’s a good day for going to the beach.”
    No: “Its a good day for going to the beach.”

    And:
    Yes: “This is a really cool gadget. Just look at all of its features.”
    No: “This is a really cool gadget. Just look at all of it’s features.”

    A good way to remember is to say to yourself while typing, am I trying to say “It is” or not?

  5. Their, There and They’re – They’re over there, in their yard. OK.

    Simply put:
    They’re means “they are.” If “they are” doing something, then this is the proper one to use.
    If something belongs to them (as a collective group) then you use “their.”
    If you’re (not “your”) going somewhere – you are going “there!”

  6. Then and Than – Then is what happens next. Than compares items to each other.

    “It is sunnier today than it was yesterday”
    “This box is heavier than the last one.”
    “If you are still having trouble after reading the directions, then you had better call John.”
    “I’m going to the store next and then I’m going to the bank.”

If you are having trouble with these types of errors, practice getting them right by consciously using them (correctly of course) in your next articles! What other grammatical errors do you think are made too often? Let us know what they are – and the solution!

189 Comments »


1
Sylvia Dickens writes:

Commonly misused:

your and you’re

Wrong:
You’re coat is wet.
Your going to get wet without it.

Right:
Your coat is in the closet.
You’re going to get wet if you don’t get your coat out of the closet.

When an apostrophe appears, it designates that a letter has been left out – thereby causing a contraction.

your = as in yours. Nothing is left out.
You’re = as in you are. The ‘a’ is left out, so you need the apostrophe.

Sylvia

Comment provided August 24, 2009 at 2:16 PM

[Reply]

2
Kimmo Linkama writes:

Thanks for this. Please do continue the grammar series.

One of my pet peeves is that so many people use “different than” (or worse still, “then”) when they mean “different FROM”. I can understand why, but still, it’s rather elementary.

Comment provided August 24, 2009 at 2:26 PM

[Reply]

3

I usually mix up it’s and its. Thank God for Word spellcheck :)

Comment provided August 24, 2009 at 2:31 PM

[Reply]

4

Just Twittered this..great info! Sometimes I think that the English language is in danger of being abbreviated to death! @chellaskincare

Comment provided August 24, 2009 at 2:33 PM

[Reply]

5

Semi-colons… thanks!

Comment provided August 24, 2009 at 2:35 PM

[Reply]

6
Barbara McNichol writes:

Marc
This is the tip of the iceberg. I’ve been tracking these word pairings that often trip people up for years. In fact, I offer an ebook that features 300+ and a Best of Word Trippers for free. No need to use the wrong word when it’s fast and easy to find out the right one!
Best,
Barbara

Comment provided August 24, 2009 at 2:40 PM

[Reply]

Shiv writes:

Marc,

Yes, I’m interested in the eBook.

Thanks a lot.

It’ll be really handy.

Regards
Shiv

[Reply]

Shiv
Thanks for asking!
Please check out details about my Word Trippers ebook at barbaramcnichol.com

Best, Barbara

[Reply]

7
Scott Harrell writes:

The only thing you forgot was “Your v. You’re.”

Great article.

Scott Harrell
Pursuit Magazine

Comment provided August 24, 2009 at 2:48 PM

[Reply]

Marc writes:

Scott,

Your right … ahem, I mean, YOU’RE right! We also left out “we’re” vs. “were” and a whole host of others. Keep ’em coming and maybe we’ll be able to build the definitive list of article marketing grammatical errors!

[Reply]

8

thanks so much for the clarification! I’d love to see a piece on adjectives vs adverbs.
slow vs slowly
quick vs quickly
poor vs poorly

It drives me nuts to drive through a road construction area and see a sign that says, “Drive Slow”

Comment provided August 24, 2009 at 3:05 PM

[Reply]

9
Ward Tipton writes:

I have written on this subject extensively both on-line and off. However, if I may be so bold as to play the devil’s advocate here … since you did bring it up …

When you use the “…” to indicate a pause, there should be a space both before and after it in order for it to be grammatically correct.

My pet peeves … people who use contractions in writing and sell it as professional writing; Tense confusion or verbal disagreements.

Well that list could go one forever but you get the picture. Anyhow, hope I am not being offensive pointing that out but being a great lover of your site, I felt somewhat justified in doing so.

Comment provided August 24, 2009 at 3:49 PM

[Reply]

Marc writes:

Ward,

You bring up a good point … three or them actually! In doing a little Internet research, I found this topic to be somewhat debatable, although the bulk of the information from the best sources tells me you are correct. In all my nearly 30 years of writing, nobody has ever pointed that out to me before. Thank you for correcting me … and for giving me another hard habit to break! ;-)

[Reply]

10
Teresa Schultz writes:

I often find that “that” and “which” aren’t used properly, along with the comma that either goes with them or without them.

He went and picked up the pebble that was on the far end of his mother’s beach towel.

Correct.

He went and picked up the pebble, that was on the far end of his mother’s beach towel.

Incorrect.

He went and picked up the pebble, which was on the far end of his mother’s beach towel.

Correct.

He went and picked up the pebble which was on the far end of his mother’s beach towel.

Incorrect.

Another one that comes to mind is when people use “should of” instead of “should’ve” or “should have.”

But, being tired, and far from perfect, I may even have this all wrong – including starting this sentence with a “but” – but just thought I would mention two that I notice most often.

Comment provided August 24, 2009 at 3:56 PM

[Reply]

11
Brian writes:

Continuous — OUS — One Uninterrupted Sequence

Continual — Intermittent

The continuous rain and lightning throughout the night caused continual power outages in our town.

Comment provided August 24, 2009 at 3:59 PM

[Reply]

12
Teresa Schultz writes:

Another one that bugs me is people thinking alright instead of all right is correct.

Although generally both are accepted as all right/okay, some textbooks state that alright is not standard English, and when writing formally, it should be avoided.

Comment provided August 24, 2009 at 4:09 PM

[Reply]

13
Ward Tipton writes:

Marc,

I was home-schooled, my Grandmother was an English Teacher, my Mother taught Post-graduate writing courses and holds two Master Degrees and a PhD and both of them were/are anal retentive. Now, three points if you can spot the errors in my writing … apart from the comma use which again is subject to debate. I am of the AP school having been an AP editor for some time. If the punctuation does not help the sentence, get it out of there and make room for more words that help the article. However, commas are frequently used to separate clausal phrases and there is no indication that this is technically incorrect.

I am going to shut up now though this is truly a writer’s bane and something I could get quite verbose about. However, it would detract from the outstanding article you have put out.

Thank you Marc! Excellent work indeed!

(How about split-infinitives and end-of-sentence prepositions … and I am ducking as I go into “shhhhhhhhhhhhh” mode and make my way slowly towards the door)

Comment provided August 24, 2009 at 4:18 PM

[Reply]

14
Rosanne Gain writes:

I planned to mention Barbara McNichol’s e-book, which I heard about from Laura Benjamin, but she beat me to it. In her entry she uses a phrase that I always wondered about: “for free” instead of “free.” While both are acceptable these days, the “for” is unnecessary.
Another one is “more than” as opposed to “over”.
In the case of numbers, my research says the more than is the preferred wording.

Comment provided August 24, 2009 at 4:20 PM

[Reply]

15
Ward Tipton writes:

The ones I have listed take up twelve pages on my site. Somehow I doubt you want me to start copying and pasting just yet. I will if you want though.

Comment provided August 24, 2009 at 4:38 PM

[Reply]

16
Kimmo Linkama writes:

It seems this blog post really opened a can of worms. Which, actually, is very good.

I base my own writing — I write mostly in British English — on sources such as The Guardian’s, The Times’s and The Economist’s style guides, all available online free of charge.

I’m not sure if US writers have the same kind of free sources available. It seems most US sources require a paid subscription or purchase, but if you find something useful and free, please post it here! So far, the best sources for me have been the Merriam-Webster online dictionary coupled with Google searches.

Comment provided August 24, 2009 at 4:39 PM

[Reply]

17
Lance Winslow writes:

that’s so 1986; Gram’er don’t matter no more, tis the Twitter Age: all hail tweeting

Comment provided August 24, 2009 at 5:08 PM

[Reply]

18
Sherry McGinnis writes:

Thank you so much for this informative article. PLEASE keep them coming. I have complete understanding of all that you said here, however, I need help with tenses – making them agree. Also passive vs. active voice, “head hopping,: run on sentences and so forth.

I know it’s a lot (oh that’s another boo boo, typing alot for a lot) to ask but I’d appreciate any help.

Thanks,
Sherry
theaddictionmonster.com

Comment provided August 24, 2009 at 5:10 PM

[Reply]

19
Geoff writes:

This is an excellent topic. Another fault in writing is where people confuse `to` and `too` though I suspect that is mostly down to typos. It is amazing how many article writers I have seen elsewhere use lower case, such as in `i` when it should be `I` for instance.

Comment provided August 24, 2009 at 5:19 PM

[Reply]

20
Lance Winslow writes:

Geoff, indeed the use of “i” in lower case is a huge pet peeve. When I ask folks why they do not capitalize “i” the teenagers say, they don’t want anyone to think they are “stuck up” or an ego-maniac. When I ask older folks usually in their 20’s or 30’s why they don’t capitalize “I” they generally give me some song and dance about the time it takes to type. And mind you much of this correspondence is from email, and they capitalize everything else properly.

Personally speaking, if someone does not capitalize “i” I will not do business with them, and lower their rating in my mind. It is disrespectful to self and to the person you are communicating with. And yes, I’ve seen it is articles here, and that really disturbs me.

Further, if someone has such low self-esteem not to capitalize I, and does not value self, then why should I value them either?

http://ezinearticles.com/?Be-Sure-to-Capitalize-I-in-Your-Business-Correspondence&id=2480411

Comment provided August 24, 2009 at 5:29 PM

[Reply]

Terry A Smith writes:

I’ve seen it is articles here, and that really disturbs me.

I see sentence structure errors can happen to even you.

[Reply]

21
Phil Goldacre writes:

More on the use of apostrophes.

Apostrophes are NOT used in plurals.

The sentence above is a perfect example.

Apostrophe’s are NOT used in plural’s is incorrect.

Grammar Tip’s is also incorrect. Grammar Tips is correct.

USE OF THE POSSESSIVE APOSTROPHE

When an apostrophe is used to indicate that something belongs to someone or something, then the apostrophe should be used.

However, there are 2 different cases.

Singular:

“The lawyer’s pens” means that one lawyer has several pens.

E.g. The lawyer’s pens were in his briefcase.

Plural:

“The lawyers’ pens” means that a group (more than one) of lawyers have several pens.

E.g. The lawyers’ pens were laid out on the table.

“The lawyer’s pen’s nib” means “the nib of the pen belonging to the lawyer”.

E.g. The lawyer’s pen’s nib broke when she dropped it.

I hope that helps.

Comment provided August 24, 2009 at 5:42 PM

[Reply]

22
Michael writes:

This is an great topic and I think you have covered the main ones. (My particular pet peeve is people who mix “effect” and “affect” which you have covered here, so thanks for that.) I suspect sometimes it’s not so much that people don’t know the correct grammar but more that they are typing quickly and don’t re-read what they have written. I know I have put down the incorrect form of things in emails so I try to ensure I read through them again before I send them. As you point out, it looks very unprofessional mixing up “it’s” and “its”, for example.

I agree with Kimmo. I was always taught “different from” and “opposite to” rather than “different than”.

I think Rosanne makes a point as well regarding quantity and volume. Perhaps you could cover “less” and “fewer”. “Less” is to do with volume as in “There is less water in that bucket” and “fewer” has to do with quantities as in “There are fewer apples in that basket.”

Another one could be “to” and “too”.

My final comment concerns the destruction of grammar caused by carelessness or an obsessive concern for political correctness. For example, how often do you read something like: “There are a number of options”? No, “There *is* a number of options”. The other one is the mixing up of “his” and “their” as in: “Everyone took their umbrella”. Does that imply there was 1 umbrella for everybody to share? It should really be: “Everyone took his umbrella”.

Anyway, thanks for the topic, Pandora -er, I mean – Marc.

Comment provided August 24, 2009 at 5:50 PM

[Reply]

Marc writes:

Usually I don’t approve of being called by a female name, but in the case of Michael’s “Pandora” I don’t mind; I think it fits. The subject of English grammar IS a Pandora’s box, especially when you bring in the international nature of EzineArticles. There is no “official” English language at the moment, but who knows what the future holds as the world shrinks? Perhaps article writers, like yourselves, are the taking those first steps into a world with a globally recognized English language.

[Reply]

23
Jan writes:

You all forgot about “advise” and “advice”.
I don’t know if this is just a southern thing or what, but I see it all the time, especially when men write.

You advise him what to do. You can only hope he takes your advice.

It’s like fingernails on a blackboard to me!

Comment provided August 24, 2009 at 6:30 PM

[Reply]

24
Ward Tipton writes:

Hahahaha I am really starting to love this. I thought I was the only one who got “That” and “Which” confused and who actually used a fountain pen (A Waterman my mother purchased for me when I first got published way back when in “the real world” and knew what a Nib was!

Thanks to all of you here! I actually am starting to feel a lot better about being able to proclaim my position as a “perfeshunall writter”.

Now … who is going to approach the proper use of grammar within or outside of quotation marks … and double quotation marks when conversations are quoted within a quote?

Hint: I already have … but I am not going to promote that here.

:”>

Thank you people!

Comment provided August 24, 2009 at 6:39 PM

[Reply]

linda slasberg writes:

All of these comments and points are really educational and relevant. I am a 62 year old English woman who always thought of myself as being good at English!! At least I was at school, so many years ago. Anyway recently I have decided my english needs improvement, so thank you all for these tips, many of which are humorous as well as educational. (Watch out for my English spellings, I slip up sometimes).

[Reply]

25
Ward Tipton writes:

Actually, the typos in that last post were unintentional. (On my third drink after a very long and successful day) It should be the proper use of PUNCTUATION with quotation marks and double-quotes when necessary … which leads also to the proper use of a hyphen … not to be confused with a dash or slash.

Comment provided August 24, 2009 at 6:43 PM

[Reply]

26
Jenny writes:

I am always amazed at how many who consider themselves writers make these mistakes — which are so easily avoided if one is paying attention. Personally, I think they just don’t care. Thanks for a provocative post that is a very good starting point in dealing with a problem that is unfortunately much bigger than those six examples!

Comment provided August 24, 2009 at 8:32 PM

[Reply]

27
Kim Skivington writes:

I notice people don’t know when to use the words, “less than” and “fewer than.” I have fewer marbles than Mary has,” and not I have less marbles than Mary has. Drives me crazy every time I hear less than istead of fewer than.

I have fewer marbles and therefore I have less than Mary. Period. I have less than Mary had because I have fewer marbles.

Anyway, sounds better to say fewer rather than I have less marbles than Mary. I have less money but fewer coins. Something like that.

Also abused: “Between you and I” instead of “between you and me. “

Comment provided August 24, 2009 at 9:05 PM

[Reply]

28

My comment has to do with the use of ‘many’ vs ‘much’.

Wrong sentence: How many sugar should I put in the coffee?

Correct sentence: How much sugar should I put in the coffee?

‘Many’ is used when you can count something like for example: How many people will be going to the party (people- can be counted)

‘Much” is used when you can’t count something like for example: How much sugar should I put in the coffee? (sugar – can not be counted)

I hope my explanation makes sense, and I didn’t do too many mistakes, these are only a few of the many rules I was taught in my school days.

Comment provided August 24, 2009 at 9:20 PM

[Reply]

29
Anuradha Ramkumar writes:

I need to know more about the usage of that and which. I saw an example by Teresa Schultz, but require more insight.

Comment provided August 24, 2009 at 10:27 PM

[Reply]

30
Sherry McGinnis writes:

For Theresa Schultz, I just read your comment on using the word “alright” as opposed to “all right.” You said this bugs me.

What bugs me is the opposite! When I was in school (back in the days of the wooly mammoths) we were taught to spell it as “alright.” However, if you search this word you will find that the spelling has been changed more than once, going from all right to alright and quite often now, all right once again.

In my humble opinion they really are two different words. To me, alright is the correct way of spelling because “all right” connotes that someone got the questions all right on the test as opposed to all wrong.

So alright already, she got the questions all right.
Anyway, that’s how I see it. As my son always reminds me – English is a living language and is constantly changing.

Comment provided August 24, 2009 at 10:43 PM

[Reply]

31
Sherry McGinnis writes:

I just noticed I committed the error of a split infinitive on my previous post. I typed “they really are.” It should be “they are really.” Correct?

Comment provided August 24, 2009 at 10:53 PM

[Reply]

32
Jan writes:

Sherry, I’m pretty sure that is what they taught us in school, too. circa 1970-or-so.

I actually have a question for all you grammar experts. Why do I so often see someone write
“I have a couple magazines in my den.”

I have always said “a couple OF” whatever. When did they start leaving off the preposition “of”? Is that the same rule as not ending a sentence in one?

Jan

Comment provided August 24, 2009 at 10:54 PM

[Reply]

33
Jan writes:

Split infinatives? Geez…you are out of my league now. And I thought I was pretty good at grammar.

Oops! Should that be Geez … you are blah, blah, blah … :-)

Comment provided August 24, 2009 at 10:56 PM

[Reply]

34
Sherry McGinnis writes:

Hi Jan,

That is another common error I also see made all the time today – leaving out the word “of.” I think it has a lot to do with our frenetic world, texting, and no one having the patience to do something and do it right.

Also it could be that they were either not taught properly in school or, more likely, they just weren’t paying attention.

This article and all the comments are helping me so much, refreshing my memory and giving such excellent tips. I tend to use the comma shaker too much although there is so much controversy on the use of commas I now doubt everything I type.

I’m so glad Ezine started this discussion. I look forward to many more posts from everyone with a lot of helpful information.

Sherry
theaddictionmonster.com
^^shameless plug for my website :-)

Comment provided August 24, 2009 at 11:00 PM

[Reply]

35
Sherry McGinnis writes:

Well let’s not talk about dangling participles then. LOL

Comment provided August 24, 2009 at 11:02 PM

[Reply]

36
Jan writes:

I remember the old “D P”… haha.

I see the “couple” thing all the time. Many of the California people (like Google employees) do it constantly. That’s why I doubted my own judgement. I figured the southern schools did me wrong again.

I’m still mad about them changing the pronunciation of “Uranus”! :-)

Comment provided August 24, 2009 at 11:19 PM

[Reply]

37
Jan writes:

PS. If you like this sort of thing, you can sign up for a free weekly newsletter on grammar rules at http://www.grammarbook.com
She is supposed to be the best. It’s really refreshed my memory about a lot of things.

Comment provided August 24, 2009 at 11:21 PM

[Reply]

38
Sherry McGinnis writes:

Jan,
Thank you, Merci, Danke, Arrigato, Grazie, Gracias and a whole bunch of other thank you words. I really appreciate this. I will definitely sign up for this. Thank you again. Off to bed now. It’s 12:30 a.m. on the east coast of Florida and I’m tired.

Sherry
theaddictionmonster.com
:-)

Comment provided August 24, 2009 at 11:27 PM

[Reply]

39
AllanJ writes:

Good Points.

Comment provided August 24, 2009 at 11:52 PM

[Reply]

40
Sarbjit Singh writes:

This blog is very useful for people like me for whom English is not a mother tongue.

I invariably confuse between latter and later.

Comment provided August 25, 2009 at 1:22 AM

[Reply]

41
Lynne Hunt writes:

My pet hate (apart from the should of, could of already mentioned) is the use of apostrophe for plurals. So many people would write “The cat’s are sitting on the mat.” Another common one is practise (verb) and practice (noun).

Comment provided August 25, 2009 at 1:24 AM

[Reply]

42
Elaine Berry writes:

I said this a year ago! See my article:
http://ezinearticles.com/?Copywriting—The-Big-Grammar-Argument&id=438685
in which I make the argument that correct grammar is important and list other common errors.

Comment provided August 25, 2009 at 3:46 AM

[Reply]

43
Teresa Schultz writes:

Regards alright and all right:

I came across somebody asking a question about alright and all right on Answerbag.com at this link http://www.answerbag.com/q_view/1518516 a while ago, and my answer there went something like this:

I agree both are right too – or all right, lol!

The same goes for color or colour. When writing for a British client I use colour, and when writing for an American client I use color.

What I do if I’m unsure of the spelling of a word, is I use a similar word instead.

All right could be replaced with: okay, adequate, fine, no problem, etc etc.

The extract, below, from a website, is not the only thing interesting that is said there about the spelling. http://lrs.ed.uiuc.edu/students/srutledg/answer2.html
Two textbooks (McDougal; Littell (co. 1985) and Prentice Hall (co. 1987) ) explicitly state ‘Alright’ is not standard English, and therefore is to be avoided in formal writing.

Comment provided August 25, 2009 at 3:47 AM

[Reply]

44
Teresa Schultz writes:

There is a wonderful article about American English vs British English – whose language is it anyway? at this link http://www.americansc.org.uk/Online/berube.htm
It also covers the history of growth of the two.

Comment provided August 25, 2009 at 3:55 AM

[Reply]

45
Teresa Schultz writes:

@Jan

You all forgot about “advise” and “advice”.

Good point!

Comment provided August 25, 2009 at 3:57 AM

[Reply]

46
Geoff writes:

A few more common mistakes I read from time to time are-

“He would `of`”, rather than “he would `have`”, the words `accept` and `except` being used interchangeably, and something that in the UK a lot of people from Liverpool tend to say – “`them` people over there, instead of “`those` people over there.”

Comment provided August 25, 2009 at 4:13 AM

[Reply]

47
Atul Rana writes:

Great lesson and post, covering most of the common mistakes people make. I always mix up it’s with its :-)

I also posted the article up on the “Good Grammar is Hot” Facebook group credit to you guys of course and a link to this very article here. All the best.

Comment provided August 25, 2009 at 5:59 AM

[Reply]

48
Alex writes:

Advise and advice, is the one I have issues with. Jan great resource! Thanks.

Comment provided August 25, 2009 at 6:01 AM

[Reply]

49
Phil Goldacre writes:

Jan writes:
You all forgot about “advise” and “advice”.
I don’t know if this is just a southern thing or what, but I see it all the time, especially when men write.

You advise him what to do. You can only hope he takes your advice.

Unfortunately, Jan, this is one of the problems with the difference between British and American English.

It drives me nuts that Americans have driving licenses while we Brits have driving licences issued by the Licensing Authority.

There is, of course, the same problem with practice and practise.

Lawyers, doctors and dentists, etc practise their professions in Britain as they do in America.

However, Americans go to football or baseball practise while we Brits practice our skills to improve them.

While I personally abhor the Americanisation of English, I think we have to grin and bear their spellings in most internet pages since it seems to be that American English is the lingua franca of the medium.

I think the Brits can still add a dash of COLOUR to electronic life, though. :-)

Comment provided August 25, 2009 at 6:20 AM

[Reply]

50
Jan writes:

Hey, Geoff,
Them people in the southern US tend to use “them” like this too! Haha!

I’ve always thought that our southern redneck talk was very close to cockney English. I have a terrible southern drawl, and I can flip over and speak in a cockney accent without even stopping to think. But I can’t imitate a proper British accent at all. Makes you think!

Thanks,
Jan

Comment provided August 25, 2009 at 6:24 AM

[Reply]

51
Jan writes:

Phil,

“It drives me nuts that Americans have driving licenses while we Brits have driving licences issued by the Licensing Authority.”

In the southern US, we say, “Driver’s license”. I’m not sure about the other parts of the country. I personally would never use “lisense” at all. Looks like a mis-spelling to me. Ditto with “practise”.
We go to football “practice” and we “practice” our skills, too. I don’t think anyone spells these two words with an “S” here.

“While I personally abhor the Americanisation of English, I think we have to grin and bear their spellings in most internet pages since it seems to be that American English is the lingua franca of the medium.”

It does seem that way, doesn’t it? One thing that makes me chuckle though, is now the word “ya’ll” is becoming popular everywhere. Northerners used to make fun of us for saying that, and they still erroneously mock us for saying “ya’ll” for a single person. We’ve never done that – at least I’ve never heard it. “Ya’ll is a contraction for “you all” in my book. It isn’t used when I’m talking about one person. That’s an old Yankee insult that needs to be put to rest eventually.

But I’ve got friends in California, Arizona, Iowa, and other places that say “ya’ll” online now. I think that is cool. :-)

“I think the Brits can still add a dash of COLOUR to electronic life, though. :-)”

I like how you add that “U” to words. I did a little personal web page for my cat that I called “Glamour Cats”. :-) I love the Brits!

Jan

Comment provided August 25, 2009 at 6:38 AM

[Reply]

52
Jan writes:

PS,
Thank you, Teresa. I just got through chiding a male friend of mine for an email conversation in which he kept repeating that he was asking for my “advise”. I read over and over as asking for my “advize”. I try not to correct and criticize my friends that write like that, but sometimes I can’t hold back! :-)

Comment provided August 25, 2009 at 6:45 AM

[Reply]

53
Jan writes:

Oops. I guess that should be “friends WHO write like that. :-)

Comment provided August 25, 2009 at 6:46 AM

[Reply]

54
Ward Tipton writes:

I must interject here being a Southerner as well.

It is actually “Y’all” and is considered to be the proper contraction for “you all”. This seems much more appropriate when speaking to groups of people down South than the standard “You’s Guys” (Pronounced like Use Guys) that is so common in the Northeast US.

For that matter, while it is antiquated, “Ain’t” is actually the proper contraction for “Am I Not” though it has been out of standard use for more than a century and even when used, is not often used in that context.

And since nobody brought it up yet …

If the phrase within the quotation marks is a complete sentence the punctuation goes within the quotation marks and if it is not, the punctuation is included after your closing quotation marks.

To add to the mix

Passed and Past
Well and Good (Do you really think you write good?)
Bad, worse and worst

As for British and American

Pants or Trousers
The Boot
Lift or Elevator
Ground floor, first floor and second floor (In the US we consider it the first floor, in much of Europe it is the ground floor and the American second floor becomes the first floor)

Comment provided August 25, 2009 at 7:03 AM

[Reply]

55
Jan writes:

Y’all.

You are exactly right, (I looked it up.) and you’ve taught me something here. I’ve used “ya’ll” forever. I’ll have to catch myself and stop that immediately.

Old people used to say “trousers”, I think. Add to that “britches” or “breeches”! They make you grin now to hear them.

What is “The Boot”?

Here in Myrtle Beach, our high-rise hotels count the lobby or entrance as the ground floor. The first floor is up one. It drives me crazy explaining that to people looking to buy a condo-hotel. Our second floor units are actually on the third floor as far as looking out the balcony is concerned.

Jan

Comment provided August 25, 2009 at 7:44 AM

[Reply]

56
Ward Tipton writes:

In Britain, pants generally refer to what we in the US would call underwear or undergarments. Trousers are what Americans would call pants or slacks. The boot generally refers to the trunk of a car in Britain where in the US it can be used to lock a car in position and keep it from being driven away when it has been ticketed.

Of course, it helps having a British business partner and an Irish (really Scottish but living in Ireland) Mum. Oddly enough, here in the Philippines where I live now, mum is the common way for people to refer to a woman in reference to Madam or Ma’am. In England or elsewhere in the UK, it would refer to a Mother and in the US it would mean to keep silent.

Then of course, there are also the flowers but mum’s the word there!

Comment provided August 25, 2009 at 7:59 AM

[Reply]

57
Teresa Schultz writes:

Thank you Ward Tipton for reminding me about my recent issue with passed or past.

My 11 year old son arrived home the other day with his English test paper for me to look through and sign that I had seen it. He received 35 out of 40 for the test, but I had a look at where he went wrong, so that I could remind him to learn that particular section harder before the next test.

The one question was this:

The girl ……….. out when her favourite rock star walked ………

Fill in the correct words: passed/past

and he filled them in as:

The girl passed out when her favourite rock star walked past.

That jumped out at me as right, but it was marked wrong, which jumped out at me even more.

I spoke to the teacher and told her to please recheck all the papers, because my son’s answer was actually correct, and if all papers were marked the same, then some children missed out on two marks, and maybe some were even given two marks they shouldn’t have been given. She said she hadn’t marked the papers herself as had received help from a student teacher.

Hopefully the teacher will remark all the papers, and my son will actually get 37 out of 40 for the test instead of 35. I think I will be a bit upset if she doesn’t remark them, as there may be kids who received marks for wrong answers, so why should any children suffer for giving the correct answers?

Comment provided August 25, 2009 at 8:34 AM

[Reply]

58
Phil Goldacre writes:

Y’all.

I used to work in London with a guy from Austin, Tx who used to drive us nuts every Christmas when he left the office to go home and invariably said, “Have a cool Yule, y’all.” It was funny the first time but grated after a while.

Further to differences in the meaning of words in the Colonies (ha ha), while the boot of a car is indeed called the trunk on the other side of the Pond, at the other end of a car, the bonnet is called the hood there.

I once thoroughly confused some American friends in Britain when we were nearly run down by some kids riding their bikes and told them to “get off the pavement.” As far as my friends were concerned, they were on the sidewalk not on the pavement at all. For Brits who don’t know, the Colonial version of the pavement is the road.

More car related terms: (British English first)

Bumper: Fender. Clamp: Boot. Tyre: Tire (Tire in the UK is restricted to meaning “bcoming fatigued”)

Some American words that do seriously rub me up the wrong way: Normalcy. There is already a perfectly good word in English: normality. Anesthesiologist: Anaesthetist. Burglarize: Burgle. There are others which don’t immediately spring to mind.

And, by the way, Jan. Brits do not add “u”s to words like colour and valour. Noah Webster removed them when he tried to eliminate extraneous vowels from the words he included in his dictionary. He didn’t have much success with words like giv, meen, hed and croud though.

This thread is fun :-)

All the best, everyone!

Comment provided August 25, 2009 at 9:24 AM

[Reply]

linda slasberg writes:

It certainly is fun; as a senior Brit myself living in the US for 13 years this is the best entertainment I’ve had for ages.

[Reply]

59
Rosanne Gain writes:

Great comments everyone! Speaking of quotation marks, there is a fun blog called The Blog of Unnecessary Quotation Marks http://www.unnecessaryquotes.com/ Ranks right up there with unnecessary apostrophes.

Comment provided August 25, 2009 at 9:32 AM

[Reply]

60
Jan writes:

Here’s a funny one for you, Phil.
The South Carolina State Dance is the “Shag”.
It originated right here where I live, in North Myrtle Beach. It’s a little like a slow version of the jitterbug, but has more intricate footwork, I think.

Comment provided August 25, 2009 at 9:54 AM

[Reply]

61
Ward Tipton writes:

If you are going to get in to the topic of speaking with an accent … having grown up in the mountains of West (By God) Virginia, I have to say that it is one of the most difficult challenges I have ever faced.

Tire or Tyre is pronounced tar

Pen and Pin sound the same

Awl for Oil

Incessant interjections of the letter R in words …

Warsh for Wash

Orn for On (One I still make frequently)

While I have overcome it for the most part, when I have a couple of beers or am overly relaxed it still comes out. Oddly enough, there is one other hillbilly in the expatriate community (Which brings to mind immigrate and emigrate) and when we have a conversation, even the other Americans quickly lose any ability to comprehend what we are talking about.

Dang it though, now I gotta check out the rest of this blog to see what I have been missing … and I already have so much on my plate.

How about colloquialisms other than y’all and you’s guys?

Also, if you are an American and you ever need to hush up a Texan, just tell the Texan “Partner, I know all about what big is. I am from Alaska!” Mind you, it helps if you have been to Alaska and know something about it. Having lived in both states, I have a bit of an easier time with it.

Comment provided August 25, 2009 at 9:54 AM

[Reply]

62
Phil Goldacre writes:

Ward Tipton writes:

“Oddly enough, here in the Philippines where I live now, mum is the common way for people to refer to a woman in reference to Madam or Ma’am. In England or elsewhere in the UK, it would refer to a Mother and in the US it would mean to keep silent.”

When I was in the British Army, we were instructed to address the Queen and female officers as “Ma’am”, pronounced “Marm” and not “Mam” (as in “Jam) which is the Scouse (Liverpudlian) version of “Mum” nor, indeed, as “Mum”.

This was changed on one occasion when Prince Michael of Kent was passing out (graduating, for our American friends) from the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst (American version: West Point). The inspecting officer at the Passing Out Parade was Prince Michael’s mother, Her Royal Highness, the Duchess of Kent (oh, hallowed county from which I now write).

His platoon sergeant instructed the cadets during the final rehearsal: “Gentlemen! When Her Royal Highness inspects the parade, she may condescend to speak to one or two of you. Should this happen, you will address her as “Ma’am”. Except you, Prince Michael sir, you will address her as “Mum”.

The meaning of “Mum” to mean “to keep silent” is also used in the UK. During WW2 there was a famous poster reminding people against loose talk which used the slogan, “Be Like Dad: Keep Mum”.

“Ma’am” was often pronounced “Mum” during the late 19th and early 20th centuries by servants when addressing their female commoner employers, i.e. those without titles. When titled, they would be addressed as: Your Majesty (Queen), Your Royal Highness (Princess or Duchess of Royal rank), Your Grace (Duchess), Your Ladyship or My Lady(Marchioness [wife of a Marquis] and the wives and daughters of Earls, Counts, Viscounts, Baronets and Knights).

Ain’t (isn’t) history fun?

Comment provided August 25, 2009 at 10:00 AM

[Reply]

63
Jan writes:

A Brit can say the word “ain’t” and make it sound just as proper as can be. :-)

Comment provided August 25, 2009 at 10:13 AM

[Reply]

64
Phil Goldacre writes:

When people here refer to quotation marks, do they, in fact, mean inverted commas? Which is what they were called when I was at school in nineteen-hundred-and-freezing-to-death (actually, the 1960s which I don’t think is that long ago).

Which brings up another bugbear.

This year is NOT, with respect, two thousand and nine nor the American version, two thousand nine.

It’s twenty oh nine. Next year will be twenty ten.

Did we, before twenty hundred, call the year: one thousand nine hundred and ninety nine? NO!!!

It’s now twenty oh nine like it was once nineteen oh nine or eighteen oh five.

I love this.

Comment provided August 25, 2009 at 10:14 AM

[Reply]

gregw2 writes:

I beg to differ about the two thousand oh nine, or twenty oh nine, having been in the military it is incorrect to replace a number with a vowel. A more appropriate use is the two thousand nine, or twenty zero nine.

[Reply]

Phil Goldacre writes:

Hi gregw2. If you’re on the western side of the Pond, you’re right. But, of course, I’m on the correct side of the Pond where, as has been mentioned before in this thread, THE LANGUAGE WAS INVENTED. QED

[Reply]

65

This is just the BEST thread isn’t it? I wonder if I should copy it off to refer to it later? LOL

Comment provided August 25, 2009 at 10:20 AM

[Reply]

66
Kimmo Linkama writes:

Kathy, I agree. Maybe you should copy it and publish it as a book :) I’m sure it would find a large readership. (I’m not sure the EzineArticles guys expected such a flood of comments, but let them live with what they started…)

Comment provided August 25, 2009 at 10:29 AM

[Reply]

Marc writes:

Kimmo,

This is GOLD for us, so we’re willing to live with what we started! We’re always trying to keep our finger on the pulse of our membership, so when a blog gets a lot of attention we know it’s something important to our members. The feedback is priceless for planning the continued growth and improvements to EzineArticles.

[Reply]

67
Phil Goldacre writes:

Jan, you say the sweetest things :-)

Ain’t, though, is normally seen as showing lower social status or lack of education. Somewhat like double negatives, e.g. “He ain’t got no money” instead of “He doesn’t have any money.”

Nowadays ain’t is most often used by Cockneys. I could write a great deal about them including many examples of rhyming slang.

However, in the 18th and early 19th centuries, ain’t was used a great deal by rich or aristocratic fops.

I’ll shut up now :-)

Comment provided August 25, 2009 at 10:39 AM

[Reply]

68
Kimberly writes:

Thanks for the tips. My sister has trouble with this stuff so I’m going to send her the link to your blog post.

Comment provided August 25, 2009 at 10:52 AM

[Reply]

69
Ward Tipton writes:

How about “Have” and “Got”?

“You got ten cents I can borrow?”

Learned and Learnt is also another common one I see though on occasion, this does have something to do with the nuances of British English and American English.

Ain’t is still commonly used in many American locations as well although never have I heard it used properly.

Comment provided August 25, 2009 at 10:55 AM

[Reply]

70
Ward Tipton writes:

Maybe a preview button :”>

Comment provided August 25, 2009 at 10:57 AM

[Reply]

71
Geoff writes:

Just be very careful about asking a lady here in the UK about her fanny pack, or you might get a slap across the face. Use `bum bag` instead.

Comment provided August 25, 2009 at 11:27 AM

[Reply]

72
Phil Goldacre writes:

Have and Got.

To Get is generally a lazy version of another verb, most often To Have.

Do you have … ? Is a more accurate and more elegant usage than Have you got … ?

One Americanisation that really gets up my nose is ‘I don’t got …’ Surely ‘I don’t have … ‘ is and sounds much better? By the way, the ‘s’ in Americanisation is deliberate. It’s the British spelling.

Why do so many Americans reply to the question “Do you have …. ?” with “I do” or “I don’t”
instead of “I have” or “I haven’t”?

While it’s possible to say, “GET a cold, flu, train, cab, etc” I believe it’s more accurate and more attractive to say, “CATCH a … ”

If any word becomes ubiquitous, it loses its meaning and the use of language generally becomes less expressive and, ultimately, boring.

Personally, whenever I’m tempted to write got this, got that or got the other, I always ask myself if I can use another verb and, if possible, do so.

By the way, why in America do you have A concussion? In Britain we tend to have concussion (the condition) or be concussed.

Comment provided August 25, 2009 at 12:24 PM

[Reply]

73
Phil Goldacre writes:

First class, Geoff!! :-)

Comment provided August 25, 2009 at 12:30 PM

[Reply]

74
Phil Goldacre writes:

That’s another one. A purse here is a lady’s version of a wallet – used for holding notes (bills) and coins. It’s often carried in a handbag (American: purse).

Comment provided August 25, 2009 at 12:32 PM

[Reply]

75
Phil Goldacre writes:

Brits call bills what you call restaurant checks.

The other meaning of a check, in the UK is called a cheque. It sounds the same, though.

And a check is a tick.

Hang on a tick! Means, in the UK, wait a short, but undefined, period of time. A synonym for this meaning of tick is a jiffy (in general usage). Although, in computing, this IS defined: as ten nanoseconds.

Comment provided August 25, 2009 at 12:42 PM

[Reply]

76
Teresa Schultz writes:

A long list of words or phrases considered South African slang:
http://www.southafrica.info/travel/advice/saenglish.htm

Some of them are:

boerewors – sausage
braai – barbecue
china – a friend
donga – a ditch or hole in the road or ground
gatvol – fed up
takkies – running shoes or sneakers
jol – a good time
lappie – a cleaning cloth
robots – traffic lights
bakkie – pick-up or small truck
Jislaaik – good grief/good heavens
hang of – really bad
laaities – little kids

“Jislaaik, china, I tell you I had a hang of a time getting that bakkie through the dongas on the road and now I’m really gatvol. I need a lappie to wipe the sweat off my takkies. The robots better be green all the way home ‘cos I jus wanna get home to braai some boerewors, chill with a beer, and have a jol playing with the laaities.”

Comment provided August 25, 2009 at 1:31 PM

[Reply]

77
Phil Goldacre writes:

I rather suspect that a couple of those came from Cockney rhyming slang which dates back at least to the early 19th century.

China – China plate – mate
Jol – Jolly – good time.

I’ll compile a longer list of rhyming slang and maybe we’ll discover more connections.

I love the way language develops.

Rhyming slang itself developed among the costermongers (street traders) to disguise what they were saying from outsiders and the police. They weren’t always the most honest of people.

Comment provided August 25, 2009 at 2:12 PM

[Reply]

78
Sherry McGinnis writes:

I am loving this entire thread, but I’m going to run out of ink. I’m printing everything.

I would like to say though that we shouldn’t get our knickers in a twist about the difference between American English and British English.

We are two different countries and have our own way of speaking and spelling. We just need to put on our big girl panties (or boxers) and deal with it! :-)

Not all Americans speak so horribly. I, for one, would never say “I ain’t got,” etc. Just like not all Brits speak like the Cockneys.

When I’m writing I write in American English, because that’s how I was taught. Brits were taught differently so they would write in their native language. C’est la vie.

I also am an anglophile (being a British subject myself, having been born in Brisbane, Q’ld, Australia). I love the rhyming slang. That’s quite big in Oz.

I’m learning so much here and having a devil of a good time doing it.

Keep those comments and questions coming.

Oh, last comment, I don’t understand why people have a problem with its and it’s. When in doubt, say “it is.” If that doesn’t sound correct in your sentence, for example, if you’re saying “that dog got rid of all its fleas. Try saying “that dog got rid of all it is fleas.” Doesn’t make sense, does it?
Therefore it is spelled “its.” It’s is a contraction for “it is.”

I wish all the English rules were that simple.

Comment provided August 25, 2009 at 2:15 PM

[Reply]

79
Sherry McGinnis writes:

I must stop splitting my infinitives. Just noticed I did that in previous post. This site sure is helping to keep me on my toes. :-)

Comment provided August 25, 2009 at 2:17 PM

[Reply]

80
Sherry McGinnis writes:

OMG I did it again!!!! :-)

Comment provided August 25, 2009 at 2:19 PM

[Reply]

81
Phil Goldacre writes:

Why re-invent the wheel?

You can get all the Cockney Rhyming Slang, ancient and modern, you could possibly wish for here:

http://www.cockneyrhymingslang.co.uk/

Comment provided August 25, 2009 at 2:26 PM

[Reply]

82
Jan writes:

Hi Phil,
You’ve been busy while I napped…:-)

The more you say of your slang, the more it sounds exactly like our southern slang.

I would never write and use the word ain’t. But having been exposed to it all my life, I haven’t seemed to be able to stop saying it. I had a sister (she died several years ago) that worked on the board of education and talked much more proper than anyone else in our family. She went crazy when any of us used “ain’t” in speaking. I’m very aware of it, but like someone else said, if I’m relaxed, it comes out all the time.

When I’m drunk, I sound like an uneducated, backwoods, idiot. (one of the reasons I don’t drink much..haha)

And indeed, if someone asked me “Do you have…” I would respond with “Yes, I do.” Or maybe just, “Hell, no.” My worst habit is cursing, I’m afraid. (not to be confused with throwing the evil eye on somebody…:-)

However – I myself carry a pocketbook. It’s about the size of a suitcase, and inside you will find a billfold…full to bursting, and too big to be called a “wallet”. A man’s folding apparatus to hold money is a wallet. Many others say the word “purse”. I do not, but if I did, I would be referring to some sort of small clutch-bag. Not the monstrosity that has made my left side lower than my right side over the years. :-)

Comment provided August 25, 2009 at 2:27 PM

[Reply]

83
Jan writes:

It is hard to talk in a thread about speaking properly. My southern crap is coming out all over the place. PROPERLY is what I should have said, and I’m sure there’s a half-dozen other mistakes in that last posting.

Comment provided August 25, 2009 at 2:29 PM

[Reply]

84
Jan writes:

Thank you, Alex, for the comment.

For all foreigners, and especially the Eastern ones, I think the one thing you all need to learn is when to use plurals. That is instantly the dead give-away when I read any content on the internet and see a sentence like “We will meet all your need with this website.” Whether it be an email or a website, it will make me discredit the writing as having been outsourced to cheap “Indian” content writers, and I will ignore it. You might want to have someone proofread everything you write just for the proper usage of plurals.

I’m a web designer and content writer myself, so maybe I’m a little more aware of the outsourcing that is done.

One last rant – This is my most aggravating pet peeve now. How do y’all (ha!) feel about the way “You’re welcome.” has become “No problem.”?
I HATE THAT! At first it was just teenagers. Now you hear it all the time from everyone. It makes me almost violent! :-) RUDE RUDE RUDE.

On the other hand, I like “It is what it is.” and “Gotcha.”

Comment provided August 25, 2009 at 2:45 PM

[Reply]

85
Phil Goldacre writes:

Unfortunately, Jan, “Gotcha” has a somewhat awkward connotation now in the UK, at least since 1982 when The Sun newspaper (I use the term in its loosest form) used it as their one word headline, complete with exclamation mark, when reporting the sinking of the Argentinian cruiser General Belgrano at the beginning of the Falklands War.

Comment provided August 25, 2009 at 3:06 PM

[Reply]

86
Kimmo Linkama writes:

Marc, my point exactly. I’m glad you started the snowball rolling. Although it seems the discussion is straying a bit (what with Cockney slang and all), this must be one of your hottest posts!

Comment provided August 25, 2009 at 3:07 PM

[Reply]

87
Sherry McGinnis writes:

As I said previously I’m from Australia and it amazes me now how many Yanks are saying “no worries” in response to someone saying “thank you.” I guess we can blame Crocodile Dundee for that and for the love affair that Americans have been having with the Land Down Under these past years.

If it’s a friend to whom I’m responding I’ll most likely say “no worries” but if it’s any other relationship I will respond with “You’re welcome.”

But I suppose we should be appreciative when people even acknowledge our Thank You. Quite often when the checker at the supermarket doesn’t say Thank You to me, I always look them in the eye, smile and say You’re Welcome. More often than not, that brings an apologetic smile and a Thank You … or sometimes a dumb look.

I also like “it is what it is” and I use it frequently. My latest favorite is “But that’s how I roll.” :-)

Comment provided August 25, 2009 at 3:10 PM

[Reply]

88
Jan writes:

Phil, I am embarrassingly ignorant of world news. Why is that bad? Is your country sorry that it sunk that ship? :-)

Comment provided August 25, 2009 at 3:12 PM

[Reply]

89
Sherry McGinnis writes:

Another confusion is when people say “that” for “who.” For instance, “The people that are reading this post … ” Shouldn’t that be “The people WHO are reading this post?

That’s how I was taught…”That” is for inanimate objects and “Who” is for animate objects, be they of the human kind or the other animals.
Anyone?

Comment provided August 25, 2009 at 3:13 PM

[Reply]

90
Phil Goldacre writes:

The circumstances of the sinking have been the subject of debate for years. Also the headline was seen as way over the top and excessively jingoistic.

Sorry to correct your English but our submarine SANK the ship. (Simple past tense)

SUNK is the past participle of the verb to sink and should therefore be used in the past perfect tense, e.g. We have sunk at least one ship. :-)

Comment provided August 25, 2009 at 3:36 PM

[Reply]

91
Jan writes:

Sherrie, I don’t care for either one, but somehow “no worries” sounds a bit better than “no problem”.

I’ve said, “You’re welcome.” all my life, so I’m not likely to change.

Phil, I sent you an email!

Jan

Comment provided August 25, 2009 at 3:37 PM

[Reply]

92
Jan writes:

Hey Phil… Sink it. Heehee.

Comment provided August 25, 2009 at 3:39 PM

[Reply]

93
Sherry McGinnis writes:

No worries, Jan. LOL

Also another common expression in Australia is “not a problem.” I happen to like that.

But I still say Thank You to most people.

Also I like when others in this group correct our grammar. I’ve hesitated to do so because I didn’t want to be seen as being picky but I think we’re all here to help and be helped.

I hereby announce that I won’t be offended by anyone who corrects my grammar and indeed will be thankful for it. So, no worries, mate. :-)

Comment provided August 25, 2009 at 3:54 PM

[Reply]

94
Rosanne Gain writes:

I was fortunate to Visit Buenos Aires and environs a few years back and since then I’ve noticed references to that country with a little more interest. Phil writes “sinking of the Argentinian cruiser General Belgrano” I thought it was Argentine, or is that just when referring to a person?

Comment provided August 25, 2009 at 5:47 PM

[Reply]

95
Michael writes:

This thread has been very informative and interesting. The different terms for same thing, or the different meaning for the same word as used on opposite sides of “the pond” provides a source of much confusions and amusement – even if not specific to the thread (well, IMHO anyway). A few examples which spring to mind are the following:

A bloke I know (another Australian) went on a tour of the US many years ago. On his first or second day he happened to mention to an American that he was annoyed he had forgotten his thongs. Needless to say this caused raised eyebrows and it wasn’t until much later that he found out why. Thongs in Oz are loose footwear (often called flip-flops elsewhere) whereas thongs in the US are female underwear akin to G-strings.

An American woman who worked for Wang (remember them?) was in Australia doing some work for the local subsidiary. On her first day in the office she was greeted by one of the mangers with “How’s tricks?” She turned bright red and he realised he had said something not quite right. She exolained that tricks are what prostitues do – and it was his turn to become bright red. He just meant “how are things going?” or “how are you?”I have to say that that expression is not very widely used here – or at least not in the last 15-20 years.

I recall hearing about some Brit visiting America and his American host was proudly showing him his new car (automobile). The American mentioned something about the windshield to which the Brit replied that it was a windscreen. After a short argument about the correct term, the American concluded with “Well, it’s a windshield. After all, we invented the automobile.”
“Yes,” said the Brit, “but we invented the language!”

A couple of comments have touched on apostrophes and plurals. A retired teacher in Australian has written a short book on just that topic since so many people get confused. The book is called Take Charge! and you can get it at:
http://www.buyaustralianbooks.com.au/product/JH-TC

As someone pointed out in one of the comments, people who do not have English as their native tongue often have a better grasp of correct punctuation and grammar than native speakers.

All in all, this is an interesting thread!

Comment provided August 25, 2009 at 5:56 PM

[Reply]

96
Phil Goldacre writes:

To the best of my knowledge and belief, Rosanne, Argentinian and Argentine are interchangeable.

Comment provided August 25, 2009 at 6:07 PM

[Reply]

97
Ward Tipton writes:

I am beginning to think Jan and I may be related. As for this Yank’s love for Down Under, it stops where the city line begins … but then again I have never loved city life anywhere. If I were to get lost in the outback, I would not mind that too much.

Can I and May I –

“Can I” indicates the ability to do something while “May I” is asking permission.

If you ever want to truly irritate someone, answer the questions they ask.

Q- “Do you know what time it is?”

A- “Yes I do.”

Q- “Can I get change for one-dollar?”

A- “Yes you can.”

If you have answered the question they ask, have you done anything wrong?

Comment provided August 25, 2009 at 6:16 PM

[Reply]

98
Michael writes:

And another one which is far too common is using “draw” instead of “drawer”. I’ve just seen a website which has on its Tips page: “There is no need to empty draws { bedside draws, chest of draws, and any other draw that have clothing in them or light objects”. That sentence is just wrong, wrong, wrong!

And please ignore my typos in previous post.

Comment provided August 25, 2009 at 6:25 PM

[Reply]

99
Phil Goldacre writes:

Good one, Ward.

Also, COULD and WOULD.

Q. Could (i.e. can) you do this for me?

A. Yup.

Q. Would (i.e. will) you do this for me?

A. Nope.

That’ll infuriate the hell out of anybody :-)

Comment provided August 25, 2009 at 6:56 PM

[Reply]

100
Jan writes:

That would be fine, Ward. I can use a brother…:-)

There are many West Virginians here in Myrtle Beach. Maybe I’ve been exposed to them so much I’ve picked up some of the talk.

It does seem like a WV native may be more likely to say “I done been to the store.” or something like that.

I grew up in North Carolina, actually, and this low country accent here in SC is much worse than the way we talked. In some ways it’s prettier, though. The natives here sound more like Scarlett O’Hara instead of just rednecks..:-)

Comment provided August 25, 2009 at 7:06 PM

[Reply]

101
Sherry McGinnis writes:

Ward, having been to The Outback (or out beyond the black stump as we old-timers say) I’d have to say you might like it for about … five minutes! It’s a tough, hard life, hot as hell and just about every critter in Oz is poisonous – ok, not talking about roos and koalas and the like but snakes, spiders, etc. They’re deadly.

I don’t like cities either, in fact, I believe they’re the ruination of countries, but I digress.

My aunt was a cook for a bunch of drovers at a sheep station in the outback and it was hard living conditions. The Outback is a romantic notion but I don’t think you’d want to live there.

Comment provided August 25, 2009 at 7:14 PM

[Reply]

102

I really appreciate this dialogue, as I am amazed and dismayed at how the English language has deteriorated over the last 30+ years. On the other hand, I have some grammar questions of my own which are usually not addressed in standard grammar texts. In the sentence above, spell check always corrects my use of “which”, and replaces it with “that”. Is spell check smarter than I am? Which usage is correct? Also, I would like to check on the use of ‘was” and “were” in a sentence with a conditional clause such as, “If I were to go to a movie with you tonight, I would like to first read the movie’s review.” Is that correct? And lastly, I would like to ask my fellow bloggers for recommendations for a good grammar reference. Any suggestions?
Thanks, Margaret

Comment provided August 25, 2009 at 10:06 PM

[Reply]

Marc writes:

I’ve been watching this thread intently and have hesitated to weigh in with any “official” comments from one of the EzineArticles Team, but I couldn’t resist adding a little food for thought (pun intended).

Many of you have mourned the deterioration of the English language over the last 20-30 years. I would contend that the English language has been fractured by regional differences for a long, long time. However, it’s the advent of instantaneous, free/cheap and readily available global communication and media (TV, radio, Internet, telephone, cell) that has suddenly made the vast differences obvious.

I would also contend that this is the first step to an accepted and potentially universal, official language. The metaphor I imagine is a variety of soup ingredients (the language differences) prepared separately finally being brought together in the big soup pot. The differences between the ingredients is obvious, but as the soup cooks the ingredients meld into the soup. Cook it long enough, and the individual ingredients become one delicious, wonderful thing: soup.

[Reply]

103
Olga writes:

Although English is my fifth language and I make
many mistakes, but it certainly sounds awkward to me when hear people saying/writing “was” after “if” .

If I were lost, walking, etc.
If I was lost, walking, etc..

I remember learning: “if” indicated condition and therefore “were” should be used.

Using “was” is incorrect.

Do I understand it right?.

Comment provided August 25, 2009 at 10:22 PM

[Reply]

104
Vibha Babbar writes:

Thanks for the post. Keep it rolling!

Another one- difference between i.e., and e.g.,

i.e., simply means “in other words”, whereas e.g., means “example” or “instance”.

Comment provided August 26, 2009 at 12:25 AM

[Reply]

105
Sherry McGinnis writes:

I know the difference between i.e., and e.g., but I’ll be damned if I don’t misuse them occasionally. Thanks for the reminder!!
“Y’all” are keeping me on my toes.

Comment provided August 26, 2009 at 12:42 AM

[Reply]

106
Ward Tipton writes:

Jan, if you want, you can count me in. I had four brothers and five sisters and I am the only one left. My Ma is still mad at God about that but understands that it gives me something of an excuse to pick and choose my own family as well.

Sherry; my last 20 years in the States was on 170 acres of desert with Rattlers, tumbleweeds and antelope that tasted like the oil in the tumbleweeds and temperatures around 115 or 120 (Fahrenheit) in the summer and minus twenty or so (Fahrenheit) in the winter with snow often three to four feet deep and a need to park the vehicle about 8 kilometers from the house and walk the rest of the way in because what “road” there was, was awash and if you cracked through the ice, you were going to have to leave your vehicle there til spring. I think me and the Outback would get along fine, just the people I have a problem with. ;)

As for “Was” and “Were” Was is singular and “Were” is plural in most cases I know of.

“If I was to do something” or “If we were to do something”. That is about the best I can explain that one off the top of my head.

As for beautiful oral accents, I have to think that the Virginia countryside has about the prettiest accent I have ever heard for American English. In the UK, I much prefer the brogues of Northern England, Scotland and Ireland. (Though when they are upset, they do tend to be spoken a bit more harshly and less poetically)

For Grammar references? Hahahahaha If you can find a “Hodges” Harbrace College Handbook … it is an oldie but a goodie. It was my Mom’s first college handbook and I braved a collapsing house in the middle of two of the three worst storms in local history to get it out of that house before it was ruined. (I placed its value over that of my computer and even my dog … well okay … I had the dog in my other arm but only to keep the book dry … kinda)

Comment provided August 26, 2009 at 8:46 AM

[Reply]

107
Ward Tipton writes:

Actually, I should clarify with the “was” and “were” that “Was” is proper for first person, singular.

Comment provided August 26, 2009 at 9:27 AM

[Reply]

108
Ward Tipton writes:

As for puns, I entered ten puns in a contest once, thinking that surely I would win something.

No pun in ten did! :(

And that is the shortest one I know so … I am not even going there. LOL

Comment provided August 26, 2009 at 9:30 AM

[Reply]

109
Olga writes:

Ward, you did not notice, but you used “were” also after “if” in your sentence: “and ‘if’ you cracked through the ice you ‘were’ going to have to leave your vehicle there til spring”. It is correct to use it that way.

But I am not sure if “me” is correct in …”I think me and the Outback…”

In my opinion “I” instead on “me” should be used.

Marc, Please correct me…

Comment provided August 26, 2009 at 9:32 AM

[Reply]

110
Phil Goldacre writes:

Further to Michael’s post (100) about differences between English, Australian and American, there are a couple of true stories which I think you’ll find amusing.

A friend at Drama School, Fiona, spent a year living and office temping in Australia before she started her studies. She told the story that in one particular office which consisted just of her and the male proprietor, with whom she didn’t feel at all comfortable, about halfway through her first (and only) morning he suddenly said, “Can you pass the Durex, Fiona?” She instantly went into panic mode until he got up, walked over to her desk and picked up the Sellotape (Scotch Tape). “Durex” in UK is a brand of condom.

Another acquaintance, a comedian, was in New York City working on some new material. He always wrote in pencil so he could rub it out (erase it) whenever he needed to amend anything. It’s fairly well known, but not to him at the time, that what the Brits call a rubber is called an eraser in the US. To American ears, though, a rubber is a condom. When he went to his briefcase for his eraser, he discovered he hadn’t packed it. By this time, it was about 1-30am so he thought, “I know, there must be a drug store open, they’ll have one. This is New York, it’s a 24hr city.”
When he got to the drugstore it was quite big with several aisles so to save time he went to the counter and asked the young female assistant (clerk), “Have you got any rubbers please?” With the famous compulsion of New Yorkers to offer endless alternatives, even when ordering a cup of coffee, she asked, “Yes, sir, is there anything special you’d like?” He replied, “No, not really. Maybe with a little Mickey Mouse on the end, something like that.” She looked a bit flushed and asked, “How many would you like?” He answered, “Only one! I don’t make THAT many mistakes!”

On the importance of clarity, there was the famous story of a Texan on holiday in Devon, a famously rural and quiet county in the South West of England.
He was driving round the tiny country lanes and saw a local leaning over a gate with a long piece of grass hanging out of his mouth just staring into the distance.
He pulled up next to the local and asked, “Hey, you lived here all your life?”
“Not yet.” Said the yokel.
“What do you do here?”
“I got a farm.”
“You got a farm? I’m a rancher back in Texas. How big’s your farm?”
“I got 28 acres.”
“28 acres? Is that all? Well my ranch house is in the middle of the ranch and I can get in my car in the morning, stay in the car all day and by the time the sun comes down, I still haven’t reached the edge of my ranch. What do you think of that?”
“Oo Ar,” said the yokel, “I used to have a car like that once.”

Comment provided August 26, 2009 at 11:24 AM

[Reply]

111
Geoff writes:

Good ones, Phil. Somehow I think this thread will run and run…

Comment provided August 26, 2009 at 11:48 AM

[Reply]

112
Phil Goldacre writes:

Olga writes:

“But I am not sure if “me” is correct in …”I think me and the Outback…”

In my opinion “I” instead on “me” should be used.

Please correct me…”

Olga, Firstly, it should, strictly speaking, be “the Outback and I”. Always put the personal pronoun last.

Secondly, it depends on whether “xxxxxx and I/me” is the subject or the object of the sentence.

The question to ask is whether “xxxxxx and I/me” can be replaced by “we” or “us”.

E.g.

My friend and I (we) were really pleased by their kindness.

Their kindness really pleased my friend and me (us).

It’s a very common source of confusion and I’m glad you brought it up. This was the explanation given to me at school and I’ve always remembered it.

All the best :-)

Comment provided August 26, 2009 at 11:55 AM

[Reply]

113
Hermas writes:

Excellent tips! Such elementary grammatical errors reflect poorly on the writer and detract from the message. They can be compared to pimples on an otherwise attractive face.

Comment provided August 26, 2009 at 12:06 PM

[Reply]

114
Phil Goldacre writes:

Vibha Babbar writes:
“Thanks for the post. Keep it rolling!

Another one- difference between i.e., and e.g.,

i.e., simply means “in other words”, whereas e.g., means “example” or “instance”.”

More on this:

i.e. stands for “id est” (latin) and simply means “that is”

e.g. stands for “exempli gratia” (also latin) and means “for example”.

A lot of these terms, e.g. ‘sic’, ‘viz’, ‘etc’, etc were Latin; basically to exclude the masses who weren’t taught it. Even up to the 1960s in Britain ‘O’ Level (exam normally taken at age 16) Latin was required for entry to Medical Schools as almost all medical terms were in Latin. Again, to exclude the masses and impart an air of exclusivity and superiority.

Comment provided August 27, 2009 at 3:46 AM

[Reply]

115
Ward Tipton writes:

As for me and the outback, it is a Southern colloquialism reflective of the different lifestyle and culture in both the Outback and in the High Desert where I used to live. If you are in the Southern US, you may here someone say “I reckon as” meaning “I suppose that” and that is where that came from.

As for etcetera — Excellent call — No X in Etcetera, it is not ect and there is no X in Espresso.

Comment provided August 27, 2009 at 7:56 AM

[Reply]

116
Rosanne Gain writes:

Southern US colloquialisms – don’t get me started :o) We moved from Montreal to Jacksonville, FL when I was 11 – back in the dark ages. Talk about conversational culture shock! We had neighbors from Alabama, Georgia, etc. and just loved their expressions. Favorites: “that tree is going to tump over” (as in fall), “just mash that button” (as in press or push), “This weekend I’m going to carry my mother to Georgia” (as in transport) – the list goes on and on.

Comment provided August 27, 2009 at 11:25 AM

[Reply]

117
Phil Goldacre writes:

You reminded me, Rosanne. We had a very nice guy from Birmingham, Alabama at the International Student House in London when I was at Drama School.

He caused great hilarity when he was trying to get to know a rather pretty young WASP from Connecticut.

He asked her, “What school d’y’all go to?”
“Yale”, she said.
He answered, “WHAT SCHOOL D’Y’ALL GO TO?”

Comment provided August 27, 2009 at 12:33 PM

[Reply]

118
Sue Fegan writes:

affect and effect
These always confused me because the explanation confused me as well. The explanation always makes sense, but find I still did not know which to choose.
Finally, on a grammar site I found online something made sense.
Effect is usually a noun.
Affect is generally a verb.
When you think of it that way you will get the correct choice most of the time.
Yes, I know in education and counseling affect can be a noun referring to your manner– but you would never try to use the word effect there.
I think that will help with affected, effective and other forms of the words as well, but I would need someone who truly understands to look at that!

Comment provided August 27, 2009 at 1:24 PM

[Reply]

119
Sherry McGinnis writes:

Another bugaboo is when people type “use” for “used.”

Wrong: I use to like him.
Correct: I used to like him.

Keep ’em coming. I’m getting this old brain refreshed every day.

Comment provided August 27, 2009 at 2:01 PM

[Reply]

120
Sherry McGinnis writes:

Olga, I believe the correct usage is “was.”
If you remove the “if” from the sentence you would say “I was,” not “I were.”

Anybody else? Is that correct?

Comment provided August 27, 2009 at 2:08 PM

[Reply]

Emily writes:

OK, folks: Remember the grammar school text book “If I Were Going”?
If/were is the conditional tense. It stands all by itself, and is the mark of an educated person these days.

[Reply]

Sherry McGinnis writes:

Was and were are the hardest for me to comprehend. Here is part of a sentence that sounds correct (and most likely is) but I thought was wrong. “as though I were exposed.”

I were just sounds wrong to me. “I were going to the movies” is not correct. So why is “as though I were exposed” correct?

I forgot all about conditional tenses so it’s back to school for me. I really appreciate all the input here on this thread. I just hope I can get this was/were conundrum into my aging brain!

Sherry
theaddictionmonster.com

[Reply]

121
Sherry McGinnis writes:

As far as who invented the automobile. It was not really the Americans. There is much debate about who really invented the automobile with most people giving credit to Karl Benz. Then there’s Daimler and we can’t forget DaVinci!! There are several others dating back to the 1880s. An American is included in the list of people who invented the automobile, but he (forget his name now, sorry) wasn’t the first.

But I loved the joke (the Brit saying well, we invented the language). Very good.

Comment provided August 27, 2009 at 2:12 PM

[Reply]

122
Shirley Bass writes:

Like Sherry, I’m running out of ink.

Comment provided August 27, 2009 at 11:04 PM

[Reply]

123
Jerome Baladad writes:

i like these tips; i just needed to be given reminders being bilingual that i am. thanks!

Comment provided August 31, 2009 at 11:57 AM

[Reply]

124
Sherry McGinnis writes:

Jerome, I think if you’re bilingual you can be forgiven for any little boo boos. LOL It’s an amazing gift to be able to speak more than one language.

Comment provided August 31, 2009 at 3:01 PM

[Reply]

125
William McAdams writes:

Thank You
Very helpful as I don’t want to look unprofessional when I post my first article. I’m new at this and finding great information here. I was really struggling and getting very frustrated with this seemingly daunting task of having to write articles, however I think with a little more knowledge I should be o.k.
I wish I had found this two weeks ago. (hahahaha) Thanks Again,
BillyMac

Comment provided August 31, 2009 at 3:56 PM

[Reply]

126
Virginia Hanson writes:

What about insure and ensure? I always hesitate using these words…

Comment provided September 5, 2009 at 5:13 PM

[Reply]

Phil Goldacre writes:

One insures against disaster by buying an insurance policy.

To ensure means to guarantee something.

e.g. Geoff sent it recorded delivery to ensure it arrived safely.

There is, of course, also assure.

e.g. He assured her his promise would be fulfilled.

In financial terms, you buy an insurance policy to pay out IF something happens. You buy an assurance policy to pay out WHEN something happens.

Hope that helps

[Reply]

127
Ward Tipton writes:

One I saw today was “site” and “sight”.

Comment provided September 5, 2009 at 7:17 PM

[Reply]

128
Shirley Bass writes:

Now and Know

I now know, who’s interested in being grammatically correct.

I’ve seen these two words misused occasionally.

Comment provided September 5, 2009 at 9:16 PM

[Reply]

129
Virginia Hanson writes:

Besides printing out this thread, what is a good source for these rules?

Comment provided September 6, 2009 at 11:53 AM

[Reply]

130
Jerome Baladad writes:

thanks, Sherry!

hey, guys, thanks for the helpful tips!

Comment provided September 6, 2009 at 11:56 AM

[Reply]

131
Ward Tipton writes:

People who capitalize every sentence in the title.

Capital and Capitol

Dang, this thread is stuck in my head like the theme from Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood!

Comment provided September 6, 2009 at 9:01 PM

[Reply]

132
Sherry McGinnis writes:

People who say “must have went” or even worse, “must of went.”

Comment provided September 6, 2009 at 9:26 PM

[Reply]

Phil Goldacre writes:

They’re Geordies, Sherry. Completely different language. Only vaguely based on English.

They also use W’ for Our or Us

e.g. Is that w’ beer ya’v got theer?

They say things like

Gannin’ awar owa the bridge ta Gi-e-tsead

Which translates as, “I’m going off over the bridge to Gateshead.”

[Reply]

133
jan writes:

Or DONE WENT.
I’ve done went to the store.” awful!!!

Comment provided September 6, 2009 at 9:35 PM

[Reply]

134
Ward Tipton writes:

Well I reckon as we gone and done it now huh?

It’s a Hillbilly thang … iffin I hatta splain it, ya wudn’t understant no-hows.

Comment provided September 6, 2009 at 10:10 PM

[Reply]

135
jan writes:

Haha. I may not write that way, but I confess that I have SAID that a time or too…:-)

You’ve gone and done it now, Sweetheart….

Comment provided September 6, 2009 at 10:18 PM

[Reply]

136
Ward Tipton writes:

Awwwww man, and here I was sittin’ heah figurin’ as we was good as kin! You have my most sincere and humble apologies Ma’am.

And since that came up and I do not remember if I wrote it earlier, this thought comes to mind.

When someone says they are sorry, do we accept the fact that they are sorry or suppose that they are in fact, only apologizing and not referring to their personal state of being?

Comment provided September 6, 2009 at 10:28 PM

[Reply]

137
jan writes:

Whatchoo poligizin for, Cuz?
All my internet buddies have a problem after they talk to me on the phone. They say they try to put my accent with my emails and it doesn’t work!

My speaking grammar is terrible. And I hate that.

Comment provided September 6, 2009 at 11:32 PM

[Reply]

138
Sherry McGinnis writes:

But surely they’re taught English grammar in school??? I understand the regional colloquialisms but where do we draw the line? Or is there no line anymore?

Speaking of that I read books by well-known authors and see egregious grammatical errors yet they get away with it. My editor called me down for a run-on sentence. Thoreau wrote a whole page that was one sentence!

He gets away with it but I can’t. What am I, chopped liver? LOL

Comment provided September 8, 2009 at 8:54 PM

[Reply]

139
Ward Tipton writes:

Having seen the curriculum in some of our schools, I am substantially less than impressed. I did once write a story entirely in cliches once and that was rather fun but I daresay it would have been difficult to get published as anything other than a humor piece. (And yes, I am aware cliche has a special character in it but I have no idea how to include that here)

It took me years of writing before I discovered any actual use for diagramming sentences but when I did, it became necessary to learn it as it had only been “touched on” in an Advanced English Class. In my graduating class, there were numerous students who were being encouraged to read comic books in order that they may be able to “enhance their vocabularies”.

According to the schools, I was reading on a second year University level in Elementary School. According to my Ma and Gramma, I was doing okay I suppose. Nothing against our purported educational system … or is that supposed to be public? … I will stick with Ma and Gramma on this one!

As for run on sentences, they seem to be like split-infinitives and end of sentence prepositions … they may be incorrect but sometimes they just sound better and fit better. When that is the case, I leave them whether I am writing or editing.

Just my two cents for whatever it is worth.

(And there is my fragment to raise your run-on)

Comment provided September 8, 2009 at 9:13 PM

[Reply]

140
Ward Tipton writes:

And whoever said chopped liver was a bad thing? Why do you think Pate is so expensive? And there is another one of those nasty characters I hate so much that I do not know how to include in these comments because I am a writer and not a professional web designer or programmer of any means.

That should call your run-on and I raised you a fragment … tttthhhhhhhpppppttttttttt!

Comment provided September 8, 2009 at 9:15 PM

[Reply]

141
Agamemnon writes:

I am a newbie here and this post, with all of you grammatical experts, has me rethinking if I want to post anything ever again. ;-

Comment provided September 8, 2009 at 9:39 PM

[Reply]

142
Phil Goldacre writes:

What’s wrong with run-on sentences? Nothing. Charlie Dickens and Janie Austin didn’t do too badly out of them. OK they may be a little complex and less intelligible but who wants to read everything in bullet point length sentences? That just becomes repetitive and staccato

Comment provided September 9, 2009 at 4:10 PM

[Reply]

143
Jan writes:

Do you mean.
It might sound.
Like William Shatner?
:-)

Comment provided September 9, 2009 at 4:19 PM

[Reply]

144
Phil Goldacre writes:

Absolutely. Complete with split infinitive :-)

Q How many ears does Spock have?

A. 3. A left ear, a right ear and a Final Frontier called Space.

Comment provided September 10, 2009 at 4:04 AM

[Reply]

145
Sherry McGinnis writes:

Well I don’t see anything wrong with long sentences either. I think editors need to get with the program and realize that not everyone speaks in perfect Queen’s english and quite often we ramble and just keep on blathering on as I am doing here. LOL

Love the Spock joke!!!

And pate should be outlawed! It’s a cruelty perpetrated on geese. I think if people knew how pate was made, they’d think twice about eating it. Then again, an awful lot of humans lack humanity!

But I digress…Has anyone noticed the egregious corrections that Word makes to your documents?
I had typed “Joan, it’s Roger.” Word’s correction was “its.” But that’s minor compared to some of the suggestions they make. They are really illiterate! Anyone else have that problem?

Comment provided September 10, 2009 at 11:10 PM

[Reply]

146
Lance Winslow writes:

Recently, cleaning up the kitchen I threw some China made in china, but my Spell Checker didn’t catch it.

Comment provided September 14, 2009 at 11:59 PM

[Reply]

Christopher M. Knight writes:

Lance,

Maybe your spell checker was “Made in China!”

Ha, couldn’t resist. :-)

[Reply]

147
Phil Goldacre writes:

I’ve noticed that I’ve recently been missing a consonant from some words which Spell Check doesn’t pick up.

For instance, it missed the missing consonant in

The Complete Woks of William Shakespeare

it also missed the one in

Andrew Lloyd Webber writes another hit musical

Be careful, everybody

Comment provided September 15, 2009 at 4:24 AM

[Reply]

148
Sherry McGinnis writes:

You have to be really, really careful because it seems to me the people who are inputting these corrections into Word are illiterate.

What is scary is when there is something I am not sure of and Word gives me a correction. Do I believe them or not? Well, I no longer believe them. Way too many corrections. They’ve corrected “has” for “have.” For instance, I might have said “he has beautiful eyes” and Word’s correction is “he HAVE beautiful eyes.” Seriously! And what makes it worse is that on my laptop I have Microsoft Word STUDENT edition. If this is what they’re teaching our students we’re in big trouble.

I am so sick of Word and their illiterate corrections. Chris’s joke was funny but I have other ideas of where these spellcheckers are from and it’s not China. It’s right here in our own backyard. The Dumbing Down of America – Hey, I think I’ll write an article on that. lol

Comment provided September 15, 2009 at 10:55 AM

[Reply]

Phil Goldacre writes:

Sorry to be picky, Sherry, but shouldn’t that be
“I’m so sick of Word and its illiterate corrections”?

[Reply]

149
graylin sanders writes:

i need to get this kind of informa tion so i can improve my writing and this is a help for me

Comment provided September 15, 2009 at 5:31 PM

[Reply]

150
Sherry McGinnis writes:

Yes you are technically correct, but I had the people who work for Word on my mind – that’s who I was railing against – and was referring to them – the people – not the program.

I could have worded that better I suppose for clarity but as my T-shirt says – Understand what I mean, not what I say. lol

Comment provided September 15, 2009 at 9:08 PM

[Reply]

Phil Goldacre writes:

Ah!! Now you’ve touched on the perennial problem of communication between the sexes.

Oh, what a can of worms THAT is! lol

[Reply]

151
Christa writes:

I am someone special. I was born with grammar mistakes. This shows in all languages I speak, even in my mother tongue. I always try to do my best and those articles about grammar are great, big thank you for it – and who knows, maybe one day I will do without …. grammar mistakes.

Christa Herzog
privatedimension.at

Comment provided September 17, 2009 at 2:07 PM

[Reply]

Phil Goldacre writes:

I shouldn’t worry too much Christa. You should see some of the howlers I’ve made in German. One still makes my flesh creep.

[Reply]

Christa writes:

Did you ever write an article in German and publish it, not being sure that the grammar is correct?
I have to do it as because of a health problem I can’t be out of home too much and so I try to make money by internet. Most importantly: I love what I am doing, especially writint in English.

Thank you so much, for showing understanding.
Christa

[Reply]

152
Sherry McGinnis writes:

Don’t feel bad Christa. I was born without any math cells in my brain!!

Comment provided September 17, 2009 at 5:48 PM

[Reply]

153
Sherry McGinnis writes:

Hi Christa,

Also I’d like to say please don’t apologize for any grammatical errors. Anyone who speaks more than one language can be forgiven any boo boos. lol

Sherry
theaddictionmonster.com

Comment provided September 17, 2009 at 5:50 PM

[Reply]

154
R K Vajpeyi writes:

The problem many of us writers are finding is relating to proper nouns. EzineArticles considers even Obama as wrong spelling, not to talk of Shias and Sunnis, the accepted nouns for two sects of the followers of Islam. That is a serious problem for writers on the the topics of current interest like Iraq war and peace in gulf or Crude Prices.
An exception to proper nouns needs to be provided in your spellcheck system.
Regards & thanks

Comment provided September 18, 2009 at 7:18 AM

[Reply]

EzineArticles, the humans, knows the right spelling for those proper nouns… even if our software doesn’t have a complete inventory of every proper noun in the world.

In fact, I think you should NOT be relying on us to be your spell check and instead, rely on your FireFox browser for a decent spell check. :-) If you’re not using Firefox…eeeek! It’s that important.

[Reply]

Christa writes:

Hi Christopher,
I did not know that American can be exceptionally friendly and show understanding for “personal inefficiencies. Thank you! It is doing good.
I usually use spell check and still …. I have not used Firefox’s spell check yet. I will later on.

I am making fun about myself as to what I am writing now: When someone is not good in one field, he concentrates on others. I would have to stop to speak and write, even in my mother tongue. I am publishing English written text and love it, without knowing how someone who reads one of them feels. ;-)

[Reply]

155
Emily writes:

If you go to Stumble Upon (Firefox/Mozilla) and put it in as an interest, there is a site there that has all these things and more elucidated beautifully.
One of my peeves is ‘regime’ and ‘regimen.’ I can’t for the life of me see how anyone can confuse a political power with a routine.

Comment provided September 19, 2009 at 3:18 PM

[Reply]

156
Sherry McGinnis writes:

Emily, I can’t count how many times some of the doctors for whom I used to transcribe, would dictate that they were putting the patient on a new medical “regime.” These were highly educated people yet we mere transcriptionists had to clean up their mistakes.

Comment provided September 20, 2009 at 10:06 AM

[Reply]

157
Ankur Desai writes:

Thanks for the information!
English being a second language for me I always have some problem especially when writing!
I think this information will help me out with my article writing!

Comment provided November 8, 2011 at 10:11 AM

[Reply]

158
Dipika Pushkar writes:

Thanks for this valuable blog/information, it help me to shine my writing skills

Comment provided May 2, 2012 at 12:46 AM

[Reply]

159
Himadri Saha writes:

Thanks a lot for the information which are provided above.I have got the link from EzineArticles support and it is really helpful.Moving forward i will try to follow the tips and i think it will help me a lot to correct my mistakes.

Comment provided December 13, 2012 at 1:53 AM

[Reply]

160
Duran Drake writes:

i think this tips are very helpful while we write an article for above 500 words or more it is been observed that these common mistakes always be part of writing.

Comment provided June 5, 2013 at 1:19 AM

[Reply]

161
Liz writes:

I’m not a native English and struggling with writing a good article. I often encounter the issue of grammatical errors. I arrived here from the support email of EzineArticles and its very helpful.
By the way, I want to ask anybody here use software tools to check your grammar and styles such as: Whitesmoke or Grammaly ect. Do these tools really work?
Thank you

Comment provided August 14, 2013 at 9:20 PM

[Reply]

162
Muhammad Yaqoob Khan writes:

I think, this is something beneficial for the writers who are fresh in the field of writing just like me. May I ask that which software is the best to the grammar check? I will be much thankful if somebody helps me in this regard. My E-mail address is, “muhammadyaqoob_k@yahoo.com” I will be much obliged if somebody helps me in the correct use of punctuations. Thanks very much.

Muhammad Yaqoob Khan

Comment provided September 7, 2013 at 5:40 AM

[Reply]

Hi Muhammad,

If you are struggling with punctuation we recommend downloading our free Top Punctuation Howlers PDF found here: http://blog.EzineArticles.com/2013/08/empower-your-writing-with-the-top-punctuation-howlers-grammar-style-guide.html

As far as software you can use to assist with grammar checks, we can’t recommend any one in particular. However, you can use the spell checker that comes with your browser as most are very efficient in pointing out any blatant grammatical errors.

If you have any specific questions on any of your articles please use the Contact Us button within your My.EzineArticles account and our Support Team will be happy to assist you further.

~Vanessa

[Reply]

163
amr yousef writes:

this tips are very helpful but I’m not a native English and struggling with writing a good article

Comment provided February 15, 2014 at 5:36 AM

[Reply]

164
sulani perks writes:

big problem.. I love writing my own content. BUT my grammar is not very good.
Can anyone suggest a good grammar correct program I can use before submitting articles to EzineArticles?
I tried ginger and grammerly.(free program is preferred)

Comment provided March 10, 2014 at 6:00 PM

[Reply]

165
Calvin writes:

Basic from my high school days. Punctuations, possessives, and words that sound the same but have different meanings.

I have not spent a lot of time writing or thinking about those grammar rules for years. Now I find my self needing to use those rules which I have long since forgotten.

I need this grammar refresher; I which to be an article marketer.

Thanks, EzineArticles!

Comment provided April 6, 2014 at 7:17 PM

[Reply]

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Leave a comment

Please read our comment policy before commenting.