Common Grammar Errors to Avoid

Grammar mistakes are a fact of life. There are so many rules and exceptions, but it’s important you always try to use proper grammar, especially if you’re a job seeker or working in a professional setting. Consistently using poor grammar can set you apart in a very bad way. Although nobody expects you to be perfect all of the time, but there are mistakes that can make you look incompetent:

Then/Than
“Then” has several meanings, like “at a point in time” and “in addition to.” “Than” is used to compare.

Example: “World War II happened then.”
“This movie is funnier than that one.”

That/Who
Use “Who” when referencing a person, and use “That” when referencing an object.

Example: “She’s the one who just graduated.”
“It’s the tablet that runs on Android.”

They’re/Their/There
“They’re” is a contraction of “they are,” “Their” shows possession, and “There” is a place.

Example: “They’re ready to head home.”
“It is their winter break, too.”
“We are going there during our business trip.”

Your/You’re
“Your” is possessive, and “You’re” is a contraction of “you are.”

Example: “Your car has a lot of leg room.”
“You’re correct.”

Its/It’s
“Its” is possessive, and “It’s” is a contraction of “it is.”

Example: “The cat was cleaning its fur.”
“It’s time to go to the train station.”

 

Commas 101

Comma violations are very common. A misplaced comma is not the end of the world, but there are some basics you should remember.

Use a comma after an opening dependent clause or long adverbial phrase.

Example: “If the document does not arrive within two weeks, we will have to reprint it.”

EXCEPTION: Do not use a comma if the introductory phrase is short.
Example
: “In some cases patients require a lot of sleep.”

Use a comma to separate independent clauses joined coordinating conjunctions (and, but, or, nor, for).

Example: “I love going to Target during lunch, but I hate spending the money.”

EXCEPTION: Omit the comma if both independent clauses are short.
Example
: “I read the book and I’m confused.”

Use commas to set off parenthetical words, phrases or expressions.

Example: “However, it’s supposed to snow tomorrow.”

 

Random Rules

Use singular tense when referring to companies and groups.
Example
: “Medix was ranked in the Inc. 5000. This is the second year in a row it was recognized.”

Do not use an apostrophe to denote a decade.
Example
: “Hanson was popular in the 1990s.”

If you’re contracting a decade to the last two digits, use an apostrophe in the beginning.
Example
: “I wish I lived in the ‘80s.”

Grammar has taken the back seat in the world of texting and social media, but is should never be forgotten at work. Remember these rules and double check your writing to save yourself some embarrassment next time you email your interviewer, boss or coworkers.

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