As someone who absolutely loves writing, it’s only natural that some of my biggest pet peeves surround spelling and grammatical mistakes.
Yes, I am the Grammar Police.
Errors such as these seem to spring off of a written page or cause me to cringe upon hearing them. I know that I am definitely not perfect when it comes to English, but I would certainly appreciate it if someone pointed things out to me that needed correction. In that spirit, I’ve compiled a list of the dozen mistakes I see or hear most often.
Drum roll, please…
#1- Confusing “lead” with “led”
I put this one first because it drives me the craziest. The word lead can be pronounced two different ways- “leed” and “led”. The confusion arises in the context of the second pronunciation. When lead is pronounced “led”, it is a chemical element, as in lead pencils, unleaded gasoline, lead poisoning, etc. It is not the past tense of lead (leed). I see this mistake more and more often. In fact, I’ve now seen it several times in magazines and newspapers. Where are the editors?!
The past tense of lead is led.
One thing led to another.
She led the horse to water.
He led me to believe that he was going.
#2- Using “seen” instead of “saw”
This is another one that people get confused when it comes to past tense- in this case, the past tense of see. The past tense of see is saw. Seen is to be used in the past perfect, present perfect, and future perfect tenses only.
I saw it already.
I seen it already.
I have seen it already.
#3- Saying “ax” instead of “ask”
Ugh…I can feel myself tensing up. One of my daughters says this all the time, and it drives me bonkers! Here is a common conversation between the two of us:
Daughter: But, Mom! I axed you already!
Me: No, you didn’t ax me…you asked me. If you axed me, I’d be dead or seriously injured.
Daughter: (eye roll) Mom!!
Please…just say it with me, “Assssk.”
#4- Saying “brung” instead of “brought”
This is another common mistake by my little perpetrator who likes to ax me.
It is not bring, brang, brung.
It is bring, brought, have brought.
#5- Using “these ones” instead of “these”
When referring to something specific, such as what earrings you like, it isn’t necessary to say, “I like these ones.” Using the word these already signifies that you are talking about something particular, so it isn’t necessary to add ones.
#6- Overuse of the word “been”
This may be a local thing because it is usually something I hear from a lot of school kids and some adults around here, but I figured I’d list it anyway just in case. For some reason, people in my city like to add the word been to practically everything they say.
I been doing that already.
I been going there.
I been walking there.
This falls under the same category as seen. If you really want to use been, you’ve got to add have, has, or, had.
I have been doing that already.
I have been going there.
I have been walking there.
Now that that’s cleared up…
#7- Using “run” as the past tense of “run”
Don’t laugh, but the first time I noticed people saying this was during a “Finding Bigfoot” episode. Hey, we all need our fluff, right?
One of the witnesses said something to the effect of, “We seen it standing there, so we run away.” (I know…a double no-no. Why does this bother me so much? I need help…)
Since I already addressed saw/seen, I’ll overlook that and focus on run. Although that was the first time I noticed anyone use it that way, I see it all the time now.
Easy fix- past tense of run is ran.
We saw it standing there, so we ran away.
Doen’t that sound so much better? (or is it just me??)
#8- Their, There, They’re
This is something that we’ve all learned in school, but for some people it really can be confusing. In light of that, I’ll just add some examples of how to use them:
Their house is the one on the corner.
There are three mints left.
She works over there.
They’re (as in they are) headed to the beach.
This is similar to the aforementioned example in that it is just one of those things that we all learn but can still be confusing. The easiest way to tell the difference between the two of these is this: If you can substitute “you are” then use you’re. Otherwise, use “your”.
#10- Spelling Khan Academy “Kahn Academy”
I know, I know. This is different because I’m talking about one specific name, but I had to list it because it’s another one that makes me shake my head. So many times I’ve run across posts where Khan Academy was spelled Kahn Academy, even on really popular blogs or websites. I’m no expert on the internet, but to me it really brings down your credibility if you are misspelling the names of major websites when it is easy to double check those things.
#11- Saying “don’t” instead of “doesn’t”
This is one of those errors that I hear more often than I read, but I hear it an awful lot.
She don’t want to go. (wrong)
She doesn’t want to go. (right)
Again, if you’re not sure which one to use, break apart the contraction to either “do not” or “does not”.
#12- “I/She/He/They” and “Me/Her/Him/Them”
Last but not least…
This is one that even gives uptight me a pause sometimes. The rules are very easy, but sometimes when speaking we don’t want to stop to analyze what we’re saying, so we’ll come out saying something like, “Her and I went to the movies.”
Always remember to group these pronouns together just like I did above- I/She/He/They and Me/Her/Him/Them. If you’re going to use one pronoun from the group, they’ll all come from that group.
In the cases of multiple pronouns when you’re not really sure which ones to use at all, take away one of them to see which one sounds best with only one pronoun.
He threw the ball to she and I.
He threw the ball to her and me.
I know this is an easy one, but the point is this- take out the she and her to decide which sentence sounds better. Then add them back after you decide.
So there you have it. I realize that the vast majority of you are probably thinking that I’m preaching to the choir, but if I even help one person with one of these, that’s a good thing! And actually, I think I’m going to print this out for my kids…especially you-know-who.
So what do you think? Do these things drive you crazy, too, or do you think I’m just wound too tight? Do you have any to add? I’ll be waiting to hear from you!