Have you ever read a news article or a teacher’s comment on a student’s page and said to yourself, “I think the grammar is a bit awry right there.” I’m writing this with love, but even the so-called journalists and ESL teachers also commit grammar lapses like most of us do.
I’ve come up with my own list of grammar errors which I think need immediate fixing. They are as follows:
Everyday and every day
Just remember that everyday is an adjective just like happy, pretty, and witty in the sentence “She’s a happy, pretty, and witty girl.” Note that we need a noun after everyday. Every day is an adverb of frequency just like every morning, every week, and every year. We usually need a verb (action or stative) with adverbs.
Please practice speaking in English everyday.
Please practice (verb) speaking in English every day.
Everyday practice (noun) is crucial for speedy improvement.
Nor and Or
Sometimes it’s simply not worth any effort to try to know the reasons behind some grammar rules. Accepting and using them as they’re widely used is the better way to go at times. The way I deal with this nor/or conundrum is I remember that nor is always used with neither. No neither means I’ll just have to use or.
I didn’t write nor read during my long vacation.
I didn’t write or read during my long vacation.
I neither read nor wrote during my long vacation.
So and Too
Another easy tip: So functions just like very and is positive. Too means more than what is expected or needed and so is negative. It’s usually used with for or to.
She’s so beautiful. Many people have urged her to join beauty pageants. (positive)
She’s too beautiful for the job. The job requires visiting the gritty underbellies of the region. (negative)
She’s too beautiful to carry out the job without her safety being compromised.
Which and that
I only have three things for each word: qualify/non-essential/comma and restrict/essential/no comma. The first group describes which; the latter is for that. Which and that introduce clauses in a sentence. Clauses can be essential for a sentence to make sense or not.
I don’t buy health supplements which claim to cure all diseases.
I don’t buy health supplements that claim to cure all diseases.
I don’t buy health supplements,
which usually claim to cure all diseases, from untrustworthy sources.
The that-clause in the first sentence is restrictive because it limits the kind of health supplements it refers to. It is an essential clause because without it, the sentence will not make sense and will probably make you ask questions like, “Do you mean all health supplements?”
The which-clause is simply an extra piece of information. You can delete it completely and the sentence will still express a complete thought.
Bring and take
With these words, we’ll have to establish first whether the movement is going towards or away from a point of reference, which can a be place or a person. Bring is for movements towards a point of reference. Take signifies the opposite movement.
Our teachers have asked us to bring money for the outreach program tomorrow. (the money was to move towards the teachers in the school)
They also told us that we could take the parents’ invites home with us (the invites moved away from the teachers in the school.)
Your list may be much longer. My explanation is far from being exhaustive too, I know. I might make another list for next time. Watch out for it!