I constantly run into mistakes in English here and elsewhere that you'd think people would have got right eventually simply by listening or reading. Following are some examples. Got some examples that drive you nuts?

I use to drink too much.
In this sentence, "use" needs a final "d." This mistake is most likely made by people who learn their English from tweets or chats, not from reading actual literature, much less paying attention in class.

I would of helped, but I was pressed for time.
It should be "have" not "of." Otherwise, same speculation as before.

My intervention had the desired affect.
His unplaceable accent and hesitant way of walking gave him a strange effect.
They are somewhat confusing in that both "effect" and "affect" can be used as verbs as well as nouns, but the difference isn't all that hard to learn.

The city gave Mary many kudos for her efforts.
The Greek word "kudos" is singular, not plural. "The city gave Mary kudos for her efforts" is correct. Maybe it's simply best to use words that are familiar rather than going beyond your everyday vocabulary into the dark territory of foreign words, and Greek is much further into that dark territory than, say, Spanish or German.

If you want a price, ask the manager or myself.
Only use "myself" when you've already used "I." Otherwise, plain old "me" will do.

Me and Jeff are going to the concert together.
I typically remember that "me" needs a preposition: with me, for me, to me. In the example sentence, "me" should have been "I." "I and Jeff are going to the concert together " sounds wrong, you say. Well, it is, but only because of poor sentence construction. "Jeff and I are going to the concert together" or, better yet, "I am going to the concert with Jeff" are both correct in every way and won't have literate people wishing they could unhear what you just said.

Sign at cash register: Ten items or less.
When talking about a count or enumeration of things, it should be "fewer" not "less." "Less" is for a gross quantity not an enumeration. "Less sugar in my coffee next time" is an example of how to use "less."

Purple is different than/to violet.
We talked about this here recently. If "Purple is different from violet" sounds wrong to you, you need to go back to school and take English over again.

He returned to the scene continually.
The term "continually" refers to something done without interruption. When expressing that something happens repeatedly, "continuously" is the word to use.

Tags: English, grammar, usage

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Twain ain't no Shakespeare, that's for dang'd sure.

(Oh, and never shall they meet. The twain. You know?)

@Nate Lundgren - I do Google new words or phrases. But most of the problems are not new words or phrases, they are just badly written regular language. Plus, it's a little difficult to Google something when reading a book or newspaper.

I know I'm not a good writer but I try my best so others can understand me. Especially since there are times people don't understand me even when I thought I was clear in what I wrote.

Communication requires understanding what is being said. If it is being said badly then communication is difficult. That has nothing to do with (not) liking evolution of language. Most of the mistakes would not occur if the writer made sure to use words they knew. I'd much rather read a slightly longer document that used smaller words the writer understood than try to guess what they mean because they used larger words they don't really understand or phrases which are mangled.


"Would of" (written) is just a mis-guess as to what people are saying when they speak "would've." 

Or to put it another way, if you were to actually intentionally say "would of" there'd be no way to tell if you said/meant "would've" or "would of."

Back to my point that these people just hear, they don't read.


Ha! Reminds me of myself, bro.

I just don't like the common mistakes people make when writing things like they're/their/there, your/you're etc.

I don't know why, but to this day it pisses me off when I see a youtube comment like "their trying there best so stfu!" or "your an asshole."

It could be worse - "your an asswhole."

Erhm..."you need to go back to school and take English over again."... If you're going to criticize other people's grammar and call yourself a Grammar Nazi, you could make sure you have no mistakes of your own. Don't end a sentence in a preposition. You need to go back to school and retake English.

Kris, you are wrong. The statement you are critiquing is sound. 

It's been a long time since ending a sentence with a preposition has been thought of as an ignorant grammar error. Perhaps it's to be avoided in very formal writing, but then it's not a matter of grammar but of style.

I'm reminded of a probably apocryphal story about Winston Churchill who was criticized for a sentence ending with a preposition. He got angry and exclaimed, "This is an outrage up with which I will not put!"

On rare occasions, as I write, and I write a lot, I will end a sentence with a preposition, when to do otherwise would make for an awkward sentence just for the sake of correctness, or would make for a sentence that sounded overly pretentious, but even then, doing so, I get the same goose-bumps one gets from fingernails on a chalkboard - my grade school teachers did a super job of indoctrination!

One bad thing about spell-check, is that it doesn't check for grammar, only spelling, and to spell-check, "would've" and "would of" are equally correct.


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