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Let’s troll-proof your wordsby Jonathan McFadden on December 17, 2019
In this life, there are worse things than Internet trolls, like confusing “your” and “you’re” or writing “phantom” when you mean “fathom.”
I’m not a troll, but I do enjoy helping people with their words. So, I’ll pop into The Biscuit every now and then and serve you a helping of common word crimes you should avoid.
“I’m a great writer,” you protest. “I don’t need grammar tips.”
Oh, but you do. Lots of people think they write well. Those same people use “could of” instead of “could’ve” or “irregardless” instead of “regardless.”
The trolls are prowling. And, they’re ready to pounce. Let’s stop them in their tracks with grammar tips that make you a wordsmith.
You’re versus your
“You’re” is a contraction for “you are.” “Your” is a possessive adjective showing that something belongs to you.
In a sentence: You’re not still using the wrong word, are you? Your children probably know the difference.
Would of? Could of? Nope.
It’s “could’ve,” not “could of.” Could’ve is a contraction for “could have.” The same goes for would’ve, which is a contraction for “would have.” “Would of” is gobbledygook.
In a sentence: I wish I could’ve blocked Facebook friends writing “could of” in a sentence, but they would’ve accused me of being judgmental. Fewer vs. less
“Fewer” means a small number of something or not as many. It refers to countable nouns that are usually plural (i.e., people). “Less” means not as much of something and usually refers to nouns that can’t be counted (i.e., water).
In a sentence: I saw fewer people in the audience tonight and I have less artesian water in my bottle than I did five minutes ago. Oh, poo!
- You don’t have to insert two spaces behind a period. One will suffice. Most of us don’t use typewriters anymore.
- Be careful when writing about kids. A kid can either be the fruit of your loins or a baby goat.
- Don’t say something’s “more better.” It’s just better.
- “Irregardless” is a nonstandard word. That means you don’t ever need to use it. “Regardless” is better (and correct) in all instances.