Bad Grammar: Confusing Common Grammatical Errors to Prevent

As a writer, you can’t avoid errors due to bad grammar. However, making mistakes doesn’t make you a bad writer.

What is Bad Grammar?

Bad grammar pertains to writing that does not follow the English language rules.

It happens even to the most renowned writers. You’re finishing a project, coming in at 9 pm, and trying to meet a deadline while ready to go to bed. You’ve got everything outlined, and you’re about to print it out when it hits you – there’s something wrong with your work. Suddenly, grammatical errors start popping out, and you can’t stop reading the notice of corrections on the screen now.

Incorrect grammar is one of the most frequent complaints people have about writing. It’s not just about spelling; it is about a lack of understanding and correctness in grammar. Many people believe that poor knowledge of English grammar means poor writing, but this is not true. Incorrect grammar can itself be a manifestation of poor writing.

The use of grammar in writing can end up bad when it causes confusion, mistakes, or is poorly implemented. This term is often used to bring attention to poorly written sentences that are difficult to comprehend. The way sentences are written can often be more precise and well-received when the grammar is better. Knowing the rules and implementation of grammar can be better used to improve writing quality.

What are the Common Grammar Mistakes?

1. Why should you care about correct grammar?

The grammar standard is a set of rules and guidelines that make our writing clear and standardized. Having a good command of English helps us convey our thoughts, opinions, and ideas so everyone can understand. 

A grammar error leads to miscommunication. Good grammar is key to communicating ideas in academic writing, the workplace, and creative writing.

After years of education, there are still some things that some people still mess up. It’s algebra for me. 

Some people believe it’s physics. But most of them say it’s grammar.

It isn’t simple. Words and phrases that sound fine inside your head can look a little like gibberish when written down. It happens even if you think you have written a text masterfully.

It’s easy for little grammar mistakes to slip by, especially when you’re self-editing and unaware of the errors you might have made.

2. Incorrect Subject-Verb Agreement

An incorrect subject-verb agreement is one of the worst grammatical errors. Make sure that the subject and verb go together coherently.

Consider it as a matching game. When your subjects are plural nouns, use plural verb forms.

They agree when the subject and verb match. When they disagree, it doesn’t look or sound right to the reader.

When verbs conjugate in English, we almost always write the third-person singular present tense form differently from other forms. The present tense forms of certain irregular verbs, such as be, should appear independently.

However, there is a more incredible difficulty with the verb “be.” First-person, second-person, and third-person singulars are written differently.

There are easy solutions to your subject-verb agreement issues. Listen for mistakes in your sentences. 

3. The Word “I” as the Last Part of a Sentence

This bad grammar mistake is prevalent, but a correct example would be “Kaylee talked to Brandon and me.”. You can get this sentence straight by taking the other person’s name out of the sentence. Then, you will see if your personal pronoun choice still sounds right.

“Kaylee talked with I” is awkward and incorrect. 

4. The Word “Me” as the First Part of a Sentence

Many people say, “Me and Brandon met at Starbucks this morning,” even if it doesn’t sound grammatically correct.

“Brandon and I met at Starbucks this morning” is the correct one.

5. Awkward Apostrophes

These little guys are ubiquitously misused. It implies possession or letters missing, as in “Sara’s iPad” and “it’s” for “it is.” 

They are not in plurals. For example, it is not acceptable to put an apostrophe in “FAQs,” for example.

6. Homonyms

One of the most common lousy grammar mistakes involves homonyms. The word slight is an insult, whereas “sleight” indicates skill or cunning. In a world of magic and illusion, “sleight of hand” is often used. 

You must know that to “home in” on something means to move toward a goal. Sharpening, meanwhile, is also known as “hone.”

When we hear the word bait, we think about worms and traps. However, the first word should instead be “bated.” It comes from the verb “abate,” meaning “to stop, or lessen.”

If you wish to say that someone is holding his breath, you may also say, “he bated breath.”

7. Sentence Sprawl

No matter how singular or plural, the subject, and verb of a sentence must agree. If a subject is singular, its verb must also be singular. Also, if the subject has a plural form, the verb must be plural.

8. Sentence Fragment

Fragments in sentences are incomplete sentences with no independent clause.

9. Comma Mistakes

It would help if you used commas after a word, phrase, or clause. A comma gives the reader a slight pause after an introduction and will help avoid confusion.

A comma separates two or more independent clauses in a compound sentence connected by a conjunction. Commas go after the first clause and before the coordinating conjunction that separates them.

10. Misplaced Modifiers

Word, phrase, or clause separated improperly from the word it modifies or describes is called a misplaced modifier. This mistake can lead to frustrating, embarrassing, or confusing consequences.

Dangling modifiers are words or phrases used to modify a term not explicitly stated in the sentence.

11. Pronoun Mistakes

Pronouns can replace nouns, and their antecedent should be the person, place, or thing they refer to. Occasionally, a vague pronoun reference reader — such as it, this, and which — might confuse readers. 

12. Misuse of Words and Mistakes

In sentences, several words and phrases are commonly confused and misused. These words can alter the meaning of the sentence or reflect the author’s carelessness.

Thousands of these words are commonly confused, so you should always check the definition and correct spelling of the word whenever you are in doubt. 

To Wrap Up

With a deep understanding of bad grammar mistakes, you can prevent them in your work and communication. The more you know grammar, the more you will avoid these errors.

You can also spare yourself confusion, worry, and frustration in your writing with a deep understanding. With the proper knowledge and deep knowledge of grammar, you can write effectively.

Pam is an expert grammarian with years of experience teaching English, writing and ESL Grammar courses at the university level. She is enamored with all things language and fascinated with how we use words to shape our world.

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