2 Common Grammar Errors, That Might Not Be Errors

There are many things you need to learn in order to use the English language when you write. Proper spelling and punctuation is important. You also have to have good ideas and the ability to put those ideas down on paper.

common grammar errors
Image by Chris Chan http://bit.ly/1BNx0Qu

 

You also have to follow the standard grammar rules.  However, it might surprise you that there are two things that have long been considered common grammar errors, that might not actually be errors.

  • Whether to use “like” or “as”
  • Ending with a preposition

“Like” vs “As”

Generally speaking, this is the rule you should follow when deciding wither to use the word “like” and “as”:

 

  • You can use either word when you need a preposition to join with a noun. Here are two examples that show the proper usage of each word:
    • Blind as a bat
    • Cole like a freezer
  • Do NOT use the word “like” when it is a conjunction that introduces an adverb clause.  This is the one that is tricky because it sometimes makes the phrase sound odd.  Here is the same sentence shown with each word.  One of them is correct and the other one is wrong.  Can you pick out which is which?
    • No one can do it like Burger King can.
    • No one can do it as Burger King can.

In this example, the first item is considered grammatically incorrect.  The second sentence is grammatically correct, however, as you can see, it does not sound correct.

 

The rule for this is that common sense is more important than staying away from common grammar errors. Follow the rule if you can use it and make the sentence sound right.  If following the rule makes the sentence not flow very well, it’s more important for the sentence to sound good than it is to follow the rules.

Ending a Sentence with a Preposition

If you’ve done any writing at all, you’ve probably heard that you shouldn’t end a sentence with a preposition.  However, you’ve also probably realized that sometimes that is really, really difficult depending on what you are writing about. Some people consider ending the sentence with a preposition at the top of the list of common grammar errors, but it shouldn’t be.

 

This is an old rule of Latin grammar and there are still some “old school” instructors who teach this is one of the big writing rules when they talk about common grammar errors.  However, in the real world, the rules about ending a sentence with a preposition are much more relaxed. In most cases, it is considered much more important for the sentence to make sense than it is to follow this out-dated rule.

 

Of course, if you are in school and your teacher is one of those “old school” teachers who believe this is truly one of the most common grammar rules, you should go by their rules while you are still in class.

Importance of Spell Check

Now know the real rules around two items that a few people consider common grammar errors, that aren’t always errors.  However, that isn’t all you need to know.  If you always use the right words and convey your thoughts well, you can still lose your audience and your credibility if you have misspellings in your work.  Make sure you’re using a good online spell checker before you hit “send” and send your work out into the world.

 

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