It’s very common to make grammatical errors. Everyone makes them, no matter if you are a language wordsmith, or just use the language for your daily communication only.
With the growing digitalization and globalization, we are using the English language everywhere, for reading, posting on social media, writing emails, text messages, or just even for our personal interactions or everyday journaling.
Most of us are not the first speakers of the English language. Therefore, we all are vulnerable to fall prey in the eyes of grammar commentators. All we need is a little more clarity, some reviewing/editing, and a handy basic rule book to say goodbye to English grammar errors.
So, here we go:
“It’s” vs. “Its”
Generally, an apostrophe indicates possessive nouns, as in “the book’s cover” or “children’s books.” However, in this case, the apostrophe used before ‘s’ in ‘it’s” does not have the same rule as what it is used for.
‘It’s, which has an apostrophe, is a contraction of ‘it is’ or ‘it has’.
‘Its’, which doesn’t have an apostrophe, is a possessive pronoun that’s used to show something belongs to someone/something else.
It’s my job to take care of my family.
The book and its case are on the table.
Every Day vs. Everyday
‘Every day’ means ‘each day’, whereas ‘everyday’ is an adjective meaning commonplace or ordinary. Let’s look at some examples:
“You wake up every day”.
Amid the pandemic, waking up late is an everyday story.
“Lie” vs. “lay”
Both have different uses, if you put or place an object somewhere, then you use lay, or when you want to relax you ‘lie’ down. The verb “lie” is an intransitive verb, which means it does not need an object. The transitive verb “lay” requires an object.
You lay the plate on the table.
When you are tired, you can lie down on the couch.
Comma splice, and when to use it
When joining/connecting two complete sentences, we use comma splice. It can be substituted with a semicolon or a period; however, a writer uses comma splice to create emphasis on a singular emotion in one sentence, instead of using the two sentences.
“He was tired, he slept.” Or “He was tired, so he slept.”
The two clauses can be substituted with a period/full stop.
He was tired. He slept.
Em Dash vs. En Dash
The size matters! Never interchange the two, both look different and create different meanings. The em dash ‘—’ is used in place of a comma or colon. The en dash ( ‘–’) is used to show a range of time or numbers and date typography.
The feeling of loneliness—living alone—has made me too needy.
I have been living alone since 2019–2020.
Since vs. From
Since gives a vague idea of time stated in a sentence, whereas from talks about the specific time mentioned. Also, The word ‘Since’ can be used only in perfect tense forms, however ‘From’ can be used in any tense form.
The interview will be from 9 am to 10 am tomorrow.
I have been sitting here since morning.
When stating the time in a sentence, ‘from’ needs ‘to’ or ’till’ to complete the meaning of a sentence, whereas since can be used independently.
Insure vs. Ensure
Insure means to cover, secure, or protect someone against something with an insurance policy; ensure means to guarantee.
My car is insured, so I don’t need to worry.
I put on a seat belt to ensure my safety.
Today, we have various language tools and software that we can rely on for basic grammar, spelling, and typographical errors. Still, no machine or AI can beat human creativity and intelligence, when it comes to eliminating English grammar errors completely.