I read a lot of blogs and for the most part I enjoy them. There are a couple of things that put me off though, top of the list being bad grammar and spelling. It doesn’t just put me off the blog. It kind of puts me off any sponsors they work with too, unfortunately.
I’m lucky that I had a brilliant teacher when I was nine. She made sure that the whole class knew our grammar inside out and backways. Her technique was the old-fashioned learn by heart method, but she did her best to make sure we understood what we were learning, and it has stuck with me ever since. I’m not claiming to be an expert by any means but I do have a reasonable grasp of what is right and what is wrong.
A lot of people weren’t as lucky as I was and never got a good grounding in grammr. So for those, here are a few basic tips that should help you.
- I or me? This is an easy one to sort out. We all know which to use if we are just talking about outselves but if we add in another person, is it I or me we should use? “Me and Emma went to the shop” or “Emma and I went to the shop” The answer is simple. Leave out the other person for a moment and ask yourself which sounds right. Then you’ll come to the correct conclusion. It is “I went to the shop”, not “Me went to the shop”, therefore it also “Emma and I went to the shop”. Equally, it is “She walked away from me” not “from I”, so it is also “She walked away from Emma and me”.
- Your or you’re? If you use an apostrophe (‘), it is to show that something is missing. In this case, it is the A in “are” because “you’re” means “you are”. “Your” means belonging to you. If in doubt as to which to use, ask yourself which suits the context better “you are” [you’re] or “belonging to you” [your].
- “Their” or “there”. Again, this is easily solved. “Their” means “belonging to them” and “there” means at a certain place. If you have trouble remembering which spelling is correct, try remembering “Where? There!”.
- When to use an apostrophe s (‘s). The thing to think about here is whether you are referring to the plural of something (one blog, two blogs – no apostrophe), an action (he blogs, she blogs – no apostrophe) or belonging to someone /something (the blog’s name – use an apostrophe). For example:
- One mother, two mothers – plural – no apostrophe
- She mothers him – action – no apostrophe
- My mother‘s handbag – belonging to – apostrophe
- Spelling in general – if you are unsure of how to spell something, check it. It only takes a moment but make a big different to how your readers react to your writing. One example would be pore over / pour over. Which do you use to say that you spent ages going through the Sunday papers and which do you use to describe what you did with your custard and apple tart? If you are unsure, type the phrase nto Google and you’ll soon find which is which.
I hope these tips help a little. If you have any particular grammar problems, leave me a comment and I’ll try to help you.