Microsoft recently compiled a list of the top ten grammar mistakes people make while using the English language. This data was culled from users of Microsoft Word and/or Outlook. Both of these have a tool called Editor, which highlights spelling and grammar errors. What do you think would be on this list?
Subject verb agreement? (e.g., Thirty dogs was playing on the lawn.) This must have been a real dog party.
Dangling participle? (e.g., Running down the street, the lamp lit up the sidewalk.) Quick! Catch that lamp!
Misplaced modifier? (e.g., The watch on her ugly hand was worthless.) The watch was ugly, not her hand.
Malapropism? (e.g., Texas has a lot of electrical votes–Yogi Berra) Texas has a lot of electoral votes.
Many people believe that their computers will catch all their errors. This is not true. Microsoft Word will recognize and even automatically correct certain misspelled words. It may not recognize your grammar mistakes. YOU are responsible for the grammar. Below is the Microsoft list of the top ten grammar mistakes people make.
- Leaving too many white spaces between words
Example: To the left.
Correct: To the left.
- Missing a comma
Example: If the weather remains the same we’ll leave early.
Correct: If the weather remains the same, we’ll leave early.
- Missing a comma after an introductory phrase
Example: First of all we must make sure that the power is off.
Correct: First of all, we must make sure that the power is off.
- Missing a hyphen
Example: 3 year old son
Correct: My 3-year-old son
- Incorrect subject-verb agreement
Example: The cats eats.
Correct: The cats eat.
- Incorrect capitalization
Example: It’s cold, But we are going out.
Correct: It’s cold, but we are going out.
- Mixing up possessive and plural forms
Example: My sisters car is old.
Correct: My sister’s car is old.
- Incorrect agreement with noun phrases
Example: I would like to buy this apples.
Correct: I would like to buy these apples.
- Commonly confused words
Example: After all that running, I am out of breathe.
Correct: After all that running, I am out of breath.
- Incorrect verb form after auxiliary
Example: They had ate when we arrived.
Correct: They had eaten when we arrived.
—By Karen Centowski