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This week’s post is from Ashley, who writes at A Lady Goes West.
Hello, my friends! You’re in luck, because today I’m sharing the much-anticipated follow-up to my original post “Do you make these common grammar mistakes?” from just a couple of months ago. What? Too dramatic? Are you not as excited as I am about this topic?
As a quick background, I have a little bit of street-credibility when it comes to grammar. I majored in Public Relations and minored in English at the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications and also worked as a communications manager, public relations account director and copywriter for a good portion of my professional life. I’ve always been down with letters, word usage and punctuation. And to pull a popular line from my original post on grammar … my history as a word nerd runs deep. So let’s get to it!
SPEAKING AND WRITING CONVERSATIONALLY IS A GOOD THING
I want to make sure it’s clear that knowing and using proper grammar can still be done when speaking and writing conversationally, as we do in blogs. These days, it’s okay to begin a sentence with a conjunction, and it’s also okay to use a few slang words every now and then. However, you don’t want to misuse words, because that’s not “informal,” that’s just “bad.”
Today is about the bad. I’ve compiled a few commonly misused words and punctuation with explanations, using examples from my current life. If you get these things right, you’ll instantly improve your writing. Trust me!
1. SINCE VS. BECAUSE.
Since is used for time. Because is used to explain something. While since and because can sometimes be considered synonyms, your writing will be much clearer if you use them in different ways for their own specific reasons.
For example: Since this time last week, my days have totally changed because of my new puppy. Since is “time” and “because” is the reason. (And yes, you can start a sentence with either since or because, and it’s still correct.)
2. YOUR VS. YOU’RE.
I cringe when I scroll through social media and see people use “your welcome.” It’s “you’re welcome.” Your is possessive, and you’re is a contraction for “you are.” These are very different meanings.
For example: Your dog is so cute. You’re good at being a dog owner. When in doubt, ask yourself if it’s a verb or not, then proceed accordingly.
3. WHO VS. THAT.
Who is for people. That is for objects. If you are trying to describe someone, use who. If you are trying to describe something, use that.
For example: Ashley, an annoying blogger who writes about grammar, thinks she is being helpful with her writing and word-usage tips. While replacing “who” with “that” sounds okay, that’s only because we’re accustomed to people saying it incorrectly. You would use “that” if the subject of the sentence is a thing. Here is another example, with that same thought reworded: A Lady Goes West, an annoying blog that features posts about grammar, is actually quite a helpful resource. (See what I did there?)
Click here to read the rest of Ashley’s post, which which you’ll finally learn where punctuation marks are supposed to go when using parentheses and where to get other resources for making your writing sound great!