While many students wish this wasn’t the case, the truth is that understanding grammar rules is incredibly important.
Last week, I shared a grammar test, and this week I thought I might put on my English teacher hat and share a few common grammar mistakes that are easy to fix.
For those of you wanting to enjoy the school-room experience, I have included a few questions for each example to help you memorise these tips. The answers to all questions are at the conclusion of this blog post.
It’s and Its
Generally, an apostrophe (‘) either indicates possession (“My cat’s bowl is red“) or is a replacement of omitted letters (for instance when cannot becomes can’t).
It’s – the apostrophe replaces the omitted letter of “It is“. (“It is Thursday” becomes “It’s Thursday“).
Its is used to indicate possession (“My cat loves its red bowl“).
Put either Its or It’s into the spaces to correctly complete the sentences.
1. “_____ very important to feed the dog every night,” said my mother.
2. If ____ raining on Saturday, my football team will need to change _____ training schedule.
3. Whenever we go for a walk, my brother insists on checking the map; he says ______ important to look at a map and check ____ routes.
There, Their and They’re
There is used to indicate location (“There is the lake over there“).
Their is used to indicate possession (“It is their car.”).
In they’re, the apostrophe replaces the omitted letter of “they are“. (“Do you know if they’re coming to the party?”)
Put either there, their or they’re into the space to correctly complete the sentences.
1. If _________ not ready in five minutes, we should leave without them.
2. _______ asking if ________ is a pool ________.
3. Can we please look at ________ puppies?
4. _______ daughter is asking if _______ was any way _________ able to drive her to the party.
Me Myself and I
Choosing whether to use me, myself or I depends on some very simple rules of object/subject.
‘Me’ always functions as the object (“He asked me to wash the car“).
‘I’ is always the subject (“Whenever I hear that song, I have to sing“).
‘Myself’ is only used when you have referred to yourself earlier in the sentence (this is called a reflexive pronoun, in case you are taking notes; it corresponds to a pronoun previously in the sentence (“I made myself go for a walk”, not “A friend and myself go for a walk”)
A great trick to work out if you should use “me” or “I” in sentences such as “Sophie and I went to the shops” is to take the other person out of the sentence.
“Sophie and me went to the shops” OR “Sophie and I went to the shops”
“Sophie and me went to the shops” becomes “Sophie and me went to the shops”
“Sophie and I went to the shops” becomes “Sophie and I went to the shops”
By removing Sophie, we can tell that you should use “I” in the sentence, because “I went to the shops” is correct without Sophie.
A) put either I, me or myself into the space to correctly complete the sentences.
1. If it rains, ____ don’t think we should go to the beach.
2. The answer doesn’t seem correct to _____ and Jason.
3. If ______ don’t feel well in the morning, _____ tell _____ to drink a big glass of water.
4. Whenever Lisa and _____ go fishing, she always catches the biggest fish.
5. _____ asked _____ if Michaela would want to sing with _____.
2. it’s, its
3. it’s, its There/Their/They’re
2. They’re, there, there
4. Their, there, they’re Me/I/Myself
3. I, I, myself
5. I, myself, me – – – – – – – – – – – – –
Finally, let English teacher me say – even if you have spoken English all your life, you are bound to make a mistake occasionally. Don’t let your mistakes deter you from trying and asking questions!
Next week we’ll be looking at whose and who’s; are and is; and then and than.
Any questions for the teacher? Hands up (oh and errr… type your question in the comments section below).