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You’re not William Shakespeare. You’re not Jane Austen. Honestly, you don’t need to be at their level of proficiency to speak/write in English with proper grammar.
I have been learning English since I was 3, and 23 years later, I still make the most obvious mistakes sometimes.
While writing my blog posts, I use a free version of Grammarly to avoid spelling mistakes and grammatical errors. When I’m done, I send it out to some of my friends (I prefer the term proofreaders) who perform a few rounds of sanitizing.
I don’t always come up with a top-quality product but I ensure the article does not contain obvious mistakes that make me look like a moron to my readers.
Scott Adams, in his book How to Fail at Almost Anything and Still Win Big, shares six common mistakes that most of us make and I’ve chosen three from the list. Take the test and comment on your score.
FUN FACT: I scored 0.
1. If I were
- If I ____ Albert Einstein, I would be the smartest person.
- If I ____ wrong, I am sorry.
I have always had this doubt because I thought there was only one right answer. Turns out, both are right depending on the situation. As a rule of thumb –
Use “were” for the hypothetical or unreal situations.
For something that can never happen. If I were Albert Einstein, I would be the smartest person.
Use “was” for situations that could have happened. If I was wrong, I am sorry. In this case, I could have been wrong, it is possible or probable.
Here’s an article explaining the basics.
2. I or Me
Okay, first try to fill these two sentences:
- Tom and ____ went to a movie.
- Please give the files to Tom and ___.
“I” is used as a subject of the sentence whereas “me” is an object pronoun. If you want to learn more, check this.
Confusing? I don’t comprehend subject vs object from the top of my head always. So, here’s a super-easy way to remember:
The simple rule for “I” versus “me” is that the sentence has to make sense if you remove the other person mentioned in the sentence.
Take the above two sentences – Tom and I went to a movie. If you remove the words “Tom and”, you can still say I went to a movie. Similarly, the second sentence would be “Please give the files to me.”
3. “Less” of “Fewer”
Another mini-test. Try these:
- I have ____ friends than before.
- Natasha has ____ space for yoga practice.
Again, if you want to know the grammar, read this. But, if you want to remember the hacky way:
If the subject is plural, use “fewer”
“friends” is plural and “space” is singular. Thus, “I have fewer friends than before” and “Natasha has less space for yoga practice.”
If you’re itching to know Scott’s other three grammar suggestions –
- Never use Nonwords
- Hopefully should be an adverb.
- Theory vs Hypothesis – know the difference
We hope you liked this blog. What is your ONE takeaway?
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– Kavi & Ninja
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3 Comments Add yours
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