Language and 5 Grammatically Incorrect Phrases
Before you fetch the pitchforks and light the torches for another round of “find the grammatical error,” let’s discuss the nature of language.
Language is an evolving thing and has room for incredible words like “kerfuffle” and silly phrases like “nom nom.” Words are constantly being added, but what about trendy, colloquial English? Should you use it? You know … those informal sayings? For example:
- Informal: If you wanna take your kid on a ride in the beater and tell him stories as old as the hills over a pop, then knock your socks off!
- Formal: If you would like to take your child on a ride in the old, damaged vehicle and tell him extremely old stories over a carbonated soft drink, then do so if it brings you great pleasure.
Yes! Use informal language because it often engages your reader on more personal level than formal language can achieve. Here are three recommendations when it comes to using informal English:
- Make sure your audience understands what you’re attempting to communicate.
- Use informal language with moderation, lest you appear too informal.
- Always use good grammar.
No matter what the latest trend is, good grammar can help you achieve your goals and maintain (even increase) your credibility. Steer clear of these 5 grammatically incorrect phrases to better communicate with your readers as well as distinguish yourself as a credible expert!
5 Grammatically Incorrect Phrases
anymoreso than …
When attempting to show there is little difference between two (or more) things or people, use “any more than …”
A pear isn’t conscious anymoreso than a skateboard.
A pear isn’t conscious any more than a skateboard.
be sure and …
“To be sure” means to make certain. “And” is a joining conjunction. In the following example, the conjunction “and” isolates the recommendation into two separate thoughts: First, the recommendation to be certain (of what we’re not entirely clear), which is then followed by the recommendation to wear gloves.
Before you pick that pear, be sure and wear gloves to avoid getting stung by a wasp.
Before you pick that pear, be sure to wear gloves to avoid getting stung by a wasp.
being that …
This ill-constructed phrase is often used to soften the negativity the word “because” often conveys. However, there are several other, grammatically correct, phrases that work just as well (e.g., considering that, given that, in that, and since).
Being that you lack the resources, you can’t build the igloo.
Considering that you lack the resources, you can’t build the igloo.
can’t help but [do] …
When conveying the inability to control or stop something, the “can’t help but” phrase creates a double negative (i.e., “can’t” and “but”).
You can’t help but [fall] in love with the phrase “dust bunnies.”
You can’t help [falling] in love with the phrase “dust bunnies.”
could of …
Here’s where phonics runs amok with contractions. A contraction of the phrase “could have,” “could’ve” is pronounced “COULD-uhv.” The “ve” or “uhv” sound is similar to the word “of,” which is where this grammatical mess started. The difference? The verb “have” means to possess or is used with a past participle. The preposition “of” expresses the relationship between a part and a whole. This is a similar issue with the words “would” and “should.”
You could of chosen red, but you would of needed green. You should of gone with blue.
You could’ve chosen red, but you would’ve needed green. You should’ve gone with blue.
What grammatically incorrect phrases would you like to add to this list? Are there any phrases that you’re unsure whether you are using it the right way? Let us know by sharing them in the comments section below – we’d love to hear from you!