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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Would that include using "would of" instead of "would've"? I don't think so. Things like that aren't any sort of Internet shorthand. I seriously doubt if any of the "would of" people realize it's simply wrong. And it's not even shorthand, because it's exactly the same number of characters.

I will politely disagree with this one;

"I would of helped, but I was pressed for time. It should be "have" not "of.""

not because it is proper but because language is always in flux and this is one example of it.  I would of thought you knew that. :D

People who don't know their grammar and spelling always hide behind the "language is always evolving" excuse. They want us to think that their stumbling about is really them being early adopters of The Language of The Future.

And how does stopping to google improve the flow of conversation? Take as much time as you like.

Did you just begin a sentence with a conjunction Unseen? You are certainly old enough to remember when that was frowned upon by the big red wax pencil.

I do recognize; the difference between informal writing and formal writing as well as between creative writing and just plain ignorance. I wouldn't begin a sentence with a conjunction in term paper or an annual report, but where I'm using writing in a way that is similar to how I talk with friends and acquaintances, I begin sentences with conjunctions often. And I do it when I write fiction, too,

I do recognize; the difference between informal writing and formal writing as well as between creative writing and just plain ignorance. I wouldn't begin a sentence with a conjunction in term paper or an annual report, but where I'm using writing in a way that is similar to how I talk with friends and acquaintances, I begin sentences with conjunctions often. And I do it when I write fiction, too,

It seems like you're acknowledging what I wrote earlier:

"English grammar really has just one, loose rule: do not distract or confuse your intended audience. Write for them using the language in ways appropriate for them."

Our approach to using the English language changes with the standards and expectations of our audiences. We use English differently for creative writing, non-fiction writing, journalism, business writing, casual writing, anonymous comments on the web, lyric writing, poetry writing, and so on. There is English for meticulously putting your best foot forward or indifferently sticking up your middle finger, and all points in between.

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association are both correct and authoritative for their intended purposes, but could not differ more radically in their uses of the English language. Imagine the outrage and confusion that would ensue with their intended audiences if the authors of these two books swapped their approaches to grammar, spelling, and notions of what is proper English.

That aside, everyone makes writing mistakes at times. As such, I tend to overlook them in public places like TA unless asked or they are serious enough to genuinely distort the author's intended meaning. The way one reacts to a forgivable writing error sets the standard for how he will be treated when it's his turn to be similarly human.

This thread isn't about mistakes, by which I mean where someone makes a typo or does something wrong when they really know better (a brainfart, in other words). I'm talking about ignorance.

"English grammar really has just one, loose rule: do not distract or confuse your intended audience. Write for them using the language in ways appropriate for them."

Right, bad grammar is distracting. And what audience could one have in mind when writing where, for example, "could've" is more distracting than "could of"?

Right, bad grammar is distracting. And what audience could one have in mind when writing where, for example, "could've" is more distracting than "could of"?

You're writing a novel in which characters post on the web or speak to each other using colloquial English.

"wru doin 2nite," he twittered.

She looked over his shoulder and frowned.

"You could of wrote that different," she said.

As Twain meant Huck to reflect the language of his time, so would the use of this type of language reflect our time. This is the way people use language so writers that write about people may use it this way as well. It helps to create a sense of a character by its "wrongness".

One hopes that the audience reading Huck Finn and other novels where accents and usage are being related "as is" know better.

BTW, when writing fiction, one has to be careful when writing the dialog of people speaking dialects or the brogue of uneducated people. Quotation and mimicry easily can easily lapse into parody, which is insulting.

I have seen a post somewhere stating, "I'd rather be pissed off then pissed on". 

This is a really clear example of when an understanding of the difference between 'then' and 'than' would come in handy.

One hopes that the audience reading Huck Finn and other novels where accents and usage are being related "as is" know better.

Generally they do know, but this is precisely the point about writing for an audience and understood intentions. Intent establishes correctness. This is one reason why, for instance, Mark Twain writing in the narrative voice of Huck Finn is brilliant literature instead of just page after page of bad grammar:

Towards night it begun to darken up and look like rain; the heat lightning was squirting around low down in the sky, and the leaves was beginning to shiver -- it was going to be pretty ugly, it was easy to see that. So the duke and the king went to overhauling our wigwam, to see what the beds was like. My bed was a straw tick -- better than Jim's, which was a cornshuck tick; there's always cobs around about in a shuck tick, and they poke into you and hurt; and when you roll over the dry shucks sound like you was rolling over in a pile of dead leaves; it makes such a rustling that you wake up. Well, the duke allowed he would take my bed; but the king allowed he wouldn't. He says:

   "I should a reckoned the difference in rank would a sejested to you that a corn-shuck bed warn't just fitten for me to sleep on. Your Grace 'll take the shuck bed yourself."
(Source)

I realize this wasn't your original point Unseen, but it's an exception worth noting since it applies to great works of literature and modern day rap lyrics alike.

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