13 Mar 7 Grammar Mistakes You (Probably) Don’t Know You’re Making

When your writing is clear, readers understand where you’re coming from. It is, however, easy for little grammar mistakes to slip by especially when you’re self-editing your work. Improve your English language skills by avoiding the 7 common grammar mistakes mentioned below.

1.  Your vs. You’re

Confusing your and you’re has to be one of the most common grammar mistakes made in the English language. People tend to mix up the two mainly because both words sound the same when they’re spoken (i.e. homonyms). So, what’s the difference? Take a look at the examples below:

Incorrect: Your early today.

Correct: You’re early today.

You’re is short for ‘you are’

Incorrect: Is this you’re pen?

Correct: Is this your pen?

Your is a possessive pronoun used to show ownership (who the pen belongs to!)

Hint: If you’re having trouble deciding the correct term to use, just remember that if you can replace the word with ‘you are’ then you should select you’re. Otherwise, you should only select your.

2.  There vs. Their vs. They’re 

Again, these three are often confused and misused because they’re pronounced similarly despite their very distinct meanings and uses. Nearly everyone commits this common grammar mistake, including native English speakers. They may seem overly complicated, but the truth is they’re not. You just have to make sure that you always check  that you’re using the correct term in the right context.

Simply put, their shows that a thing or some things belong to the pronoun they (it shows possession): they came in their car.

Use they’re if you’re able to replace it with they are: they’re speaking loudly.

Otherwise, there is only one option left, there; an adverb that means ‘in or at a certain place’: there is a magazine on the table.

3.  Then vs. Than

Are you one of those people who associate this particular mistake with an unintended typo? Don’t confuse the two!

Then is used to put actions in time.

If there is heavy traffic, then I might be late.

Whereas than is always used to make comparisons.

She is taller than me.

4.  It’s vs. Its

This is also one of those errors that everyone can make and can be hard to catch on your own. To use it’s and its correctly; check if you can replace it’s with it is or it has (depending on the context) and remember that it’s is almost always short for it is: it’s cold outside.

Its, on the other hand, indicates possession; What’s its color?

5.  To vs. Too

Let’s get this one clear – to is a preposition which shows direction and can also mean toward and until. On the other hand, too is an adverb meaning also, additionally, as well or very.

Take these examples:

I’m going to bed. (Action)

My friend drove me to school yesterday. (Destination)

I’m going to bed too! (Also)

Tip: Don’t accidentally leave out the second ‘o’ when using ‘too’ if you’re texting in a hurry!

6.  Me vs. I

Although it is not a “homonym”, it is a tricky one. One of the most confusing mistake in English grammar – using I or me? Many people mix this one up although the difference is fairly simple. We’ll show you an easy way to decide whether to use I or me:

She told Sarah and (I or me?) to get ready.
Incorrect: She told I to get ready
Correct: She told me to get ready
Therefore, She told Sarah and me to get ready.

Me is the object pronoun, used as the object (or receiver) of the action of the verb, as in the example above. On the other hand, in the sentence below, Sarah and me/I are the subjects of the verb joined. Thus, the subject pronoun, I, is considered correct.

Jenny and I joined the chess club.

7.  i.e. Vs. e.g.

It’s not uncommon to see i.e. used where e.g.  should be used. A handy memory trick to tell i.e. from e.g. is to know the literal meaning of each abbreviation.

i.e. is short for id est (Latin) which means that is or in other words.

e.g. means for example, originating from exempli gratia (Latin).

Hint: use i.e. when clarifying a point and use e.g. if you want to add or give an example.

Sarah always eats fruit for breakfast, e.g., bananas, oranges, apples.

Sarah always eats bananas, oranges, and apples for breakfast, i.e., fruit.

Never use the two terms interchangeably when elaborating on a point.

Improve you writing and grammar skills by joining an English language course.


About the Author: Randa A. Loves experimenting and being creative with food and recipes. She is passionate about nature, learning languages, and exploring different cultures. Randa speaks English, Arabic, and some Spanish.