Too often I read e-mails, FB information, reports,or letter that have a continual proclivity to grammatical errors, and hear people who misuse basic grammar language. the population from sports commentators to politicians, from ministers to business people, and from friends to co-workers. I know that we’ve gotten lazy and no one is around to correct our misguided use of the English language, but I’m here and I want to make you aware of some of the basics, even if you’re not one of the many culprits who misuses these words.
1. Me, myself and I. These three gremlins creep into people’s speech too often and more often.
Me: The objective pronoun: Susan asked me to help her with the project.
They worked with Larry and me. My manager complimented me.
Never say or write, They worked with Larry and myself. It’s wrong.
Use the objective case when you have a subject in your sentence to begin with: “They,” “Susan,” or “My manager.”
Myself: The reflexive pronoun: I lauded myself for a job well done.
She helped herself to a piece of pie.
They laughed themselves sick.
These reflexive pronoun need an “I” or “she/he” or “them” or a proper name prior to the pronoun; it can not stand alone. I – myself. She/he – her/himself. They – themselves. It – itself. Donna – herself.
I: The subjective pronoun. I work. I feel. I am. I will. I tasted.
Sarah and I went to the conference.
My manager and I feel it’s important to study the policy.
Never say, Sarah and me went…. or My friend and me…. or Me and her are roommates.
It’s Sarah and I… . or My friend and I…. She and I are roommates.
2. Your, you’re
This common mix-up rears its ugly head and doesn’t discriminate with earnings. I’ve had six- and seven-income earners send out e-zines or informational e-mails only to misuse the possessive, “your” with the contraction, “you’re,” which is “you are.”
Your is a possessive pronoun. I found your ticket.
The website is for your convenience.
Take your time with the project.
You’re is a contraction for “you are.” When you’re tired, get up and move around to help your circulation.
You’re a terrific team player.
I found your ticket and I know you’re going to enjoy the concert.
This morning, an accomplished businessperson’s newsletter said this, “I want to make sure your aware of the possibilities….” Wrong. It’s not my “aware”; I don’t possess it. It needs to read, “I want to make sure you’re aware of….” “Your” is used when you possess something: your title, your house, your friends, your raise, your thought process.
“You’re” is used when you use the pronoun and the verb “are” in a contraction. You’re in for a surprize. I’m sure you’re going to be invited.
3. Is, are. Everyone is aware of the singular and the plural verb “to be.” Yet, it seems that they’re sometimes misused interchangeably.
“Is” is singular. Today is Monday. She is in Toronto. The car is being serviced. This week is the deadline.
“Are” is plural. The reports are ready for distribution. They are in Toronto. Our cars are in the shop.
During football game last weekend a sports announcer said, “There’s a few thing the defense needs to change.” There is a few? No, it’s, “There are a few….”
If these mistakes continually creep into our language and no one takes notice, then they will become commonplace, and that’s sad.
When you hear someone misuse the language, help them with a correction. When you re-read some of your e-mails and find mistakes, correct them. Listen to yourself, to the messages you leave on voice mail, to your every-day conversations and deliveries. If need be, get a grammar buddy to help. Also, proof your writings and others’ too. Your speech and your writing say more about you than your salary level or title.
English is a beautiful language and one that needs everyone’s attention to detail.