Shannii's Grammar Thread


#1

I am a little bit grammar-mad, but SPaG (spelling, punctuation and grammar) is probably one of the easiest things to correct in your story for it to sound better and seem more professional overall. You lose a lot of readers from bad grammar because it appears lazy. Also, it makes readers think “if (s)he doesn’t care enough to make the story grammatically correct, why should I care enough to read it?”

I decided to create a thread in which I iron out the most common grammatical mistakes!

Your
“Your” is a possessive word. That means you use it when you’re talking about what the person you’re talking to owns. For example: “your boyfriend” or “your name”.

You’re
This one is short for “you are”. If you can replace the “you’re” with “you are”, and the sentence still makes sense, then it’s this one you should be using. For example: “you’re funny” or “you’re my best friend”.

There
This specifies a location. You’d use this one when you’re pointing at something and trying to tell someone where something is. For example: “look over there!” or “there are lots of people”.

They’re
This one is short for “they are”. You use it when you’re talking about what a group of people are doing or how they are collectively feeling. For example: “they’re going out” or “they’re happy”.

Their
This one is possessive as well. It is used for when a lot of people own something. For example: “it’s their day off” or “she’s their daughter”.

Its
This one is possessive too. It is used when you’re talking about something that an inanimate (non-human or animal) thing owns. For example, “the computer won’t load its own program” or “the doll is in its dress”

It’s
This can get super confusing! You’ve probably been taught that the apostrophe is usually used to show possession. That’s not the case for “its” “your” or “their”, which is why a lot of people make a mistake. This word is short for “it is”, so it should be used when you’re talking about something that an inanimate object is doing. For example: “it’s spinning on its own” or “it’s really cold outside!”

To
This refers to a location. For example: “I am going to the shop” or “I want to go to Disneyland”.

Too
This can be replaced with the word “also” and is used when you’re going to do the same thing as someone else. For example: “I’m going there too” or “it’s my day off too”.

Two
This is the spelling of the number 2. For example: “there were two birds in my house” or “I can see two of you”.

Please feel free to reply to this if you have any more questions about specific grammar rules! I’ll update this if I see any more common ones.


Language Exchange
#2

Moved to Resources as this is a great resource! :v:t2:


#3

Hello Episodians! For today, I have a few misunderstood words that are used interchangeably, but shouldn’t be:

Affect and Effect
Tricky? Definitely. What in the world is the difference between these two words? They’re actually very similar if you ask me, but I will try to break it down for you. You can affect something and it will have an effect. An ‘affect’ is something you do and an ‘effect’ is the outcome of an affect. Basically, you affect something and then observe its effects.
Making your head spin a little? Just think of it this way: an affect is an action and an effect is an observation. OR, if you know a little about grammar already, affect is the verb and effect is the noun.
For example: “my words of advice seemed to have a positive effect on him” and “being rude to your teacher will affect your marks!”

Lie and Lay
Okay, this one involves a little explanation of what a ‘direct object’ is. Briefly, a direct object is something really obvious that you do a verb to. In this situation, that’s really important to distinguish because ‘lay’ needs a direct object whilst lie does not. You can lie down, but you have to lay something down. (This gets a little more confusing in the past tense, but I’ll leave that for another time.)
For example: “I should lie down on my bed” and “I should lay this book down on my bed” < in this example, ‘this book’ would be the direct object.

Lose or Loose
I can’t explain much except saying that ‘lose’ is the opposite of win and ‘loose’ is the opposite of tight.

Chose and Choose
The best way of explaining this is saying that chose is in the past and choose is in the present/near future.

I hope this has helped! My next post is going to be about the differences between British English and American English and how you can differentiate if you want to add a British character into an American story or the other way around.


Affect vs effect help?
#4

Great explanation! They are all confusing to me.
Too bad I still suck with words. Lol :joy:


#5

The thing that makes the most sense about English grammar is that it only barely makes sense, so you’re definitely not alone! As a polyglot, though, I pride myself in studying grammar in multiple different languages. It makes you so much more aware of your own!

If you have any questions, please feel free to ask me!


#6

Hello! I know I said that the next post was going to be about the differences between American and British English, but I was sitting at work today, and I came up with a long list of grammar issues to resolve! I promise that I will do British vs American English in the next post!

I couldn’t care less
That’s right. Couldn’t, not could. Care less, not careless. ‘Careless’ is the word you’d use to describe people who don’t pay enough attention or are negligent. The phrase I couldn’t care less means “I care so little that it is impossible for me to care any less than I do now”. If you can’t care less about something, it means you don’t care. You can’t care any less than not caring at all, after all! ‘I could care less’ therefore means that you do care a little bit and it is possible for you to care less than you do. See why couldn’t is probably the word you’re looking for?

Literally
Don’t use ‘literally’ when you mean figuratively! People nowadays are using the word literally when they actually mean the exact opposite! I know that it originally started off as a way to exaggerate, but it’s becoming a true error now!

Should have
Yep. Should have, not should of. Would you say ‘I of a pen in my bag’? No? Well, it’s the same principle. Should have is always right and ‘should of’ is always wrong.

Fewer and Less
This one is tricky, and I often use it wrong myself. I need to be more aware of this one when I speak! Less is for when you can’t count what you’re talking about. As in, when there aren’t actual objects to count (we’re not talking about volumes or other units of measurement here). Fewer is for when you’re specifically speaking about something you can count.
For example: “There are fewer than 10 students” and "Can I have a little less water? < You can’t count water without using specific units of measurement, but you can count students.

Than and Then
Than is the word when you’re comparing things. Then often comes after ‘first’ in instructions. It is used to speak about what comes after.
For example: “I have more books than you” and "Let’s eat something and then go to the park.

And Me and And I
This one is probably one of the most confusing things. People have probably corrected you so much that you use “blah blah and I” all the time even though you’re not supposed to. Remember it this way: if you take out the first person/name/object/animal who is with you and the word ‘and’, which would you use? I or me? It’s the same.
For example: “James and I are going to the park” and “This ice cream was supposed to be for James and me”. < If you take away the words ‘James and’ from both of those examples, you’ll see that the sentence still makes sense. If it doesn’t, you’re using the wrong one.

Who and Whom
This one is really tricky to explain without getting into the subject and object of a sentence, so let me try without confusing you. Both the subject and the object are nouns (things, people, places, etc), but the subject is the noun doing the verb and the object is the noun having the verb done to it. Basically, in the sentence “The dog ate the food”, the word ‘dog’ would be the subject because it is the one eating and the ‘food’ would be the object because it is the one being eaten.
Now, with that in mind, let’s move on to the differences between the two. Who is reserved for the subject of the sentence whilst whom is for the object. If in doubt, just remember it this way: if you can replace the word with “him” or “her” and the sentence still makes sense, you should be using whom.
For example: “You were going to give this to whom?” and “Who gave this to you?”

Whose and Who’s
Who’s is short for “who is” or “who has”, whereas whose is used for possessive sentences.
For example: “Who’s made this mess?”, “Who’s this?” and “Whose bag is this?”

Alot, allot and A lot
Alot’ doesn’t exist and is always wrong. ‘Allot’ is used when you want to say that something has been given out or assigned. ‘A lot’ is used when you want to say that there is a large amount of something.
For example: “There is a lot of food” and “I’ll allot 1 hour for TV time.”

Assure and Ensure
Assure is kind of like a promise, whereas ensure is more like checking to make sure that something happens or that something is true. They’re similar, so this one can be confusing.
For example: “I will finish the project, I can assure you” and “I need to ensure that I get my money this month.”

Compliment and Complement
You use the word ‘compliment’ when you’re talking about something nice that someone said. Complement, on the other hand, is about when something goes with something else.
For example: “He gave me such a nice compliment about my smile!” and “I think this dress complements my hair.”

I have loads more, but I think that’s everything for now! :smiley:


#7

Here it is! American English vs British English.

People who get British English wrong in stories where they’re adamant on stressing the Britishness of a character really get on my nerves. Even Disney does it to some extent. I’m not even just talking about the English language in this post, but rather the theme of Britishness in general.

Before we begin, I’ll tell you the thing that Disney did wrong. Does anyone remember Wizards of Waverly Place? Remember Mason? Well, apart from the fact that he constantly uses outdated English “slang” as if he’s a nineteenth-century chimney sweep, his name is a massive giveaway that the story was written by Americans with no consideration of, or consultation by, actual British people: Mason is not a common name in Britain. It’s actually one of those names like Chad and Todd that are distinctly American, only really starting to be used by British people recently. You may find the occasional one, but they’re trying to stress the Britishness of a character who has a particularly un-British name.

Without further ado, let me tell you the most common mistakes American writers make when they’re trying to include us Brits into their story.

Warning: the following descriptions are intended to entertain and inform, but there will be a lot of sarcasm and joking around. I don’t intend for you to take it seriously in any way. Except, of course, when I’m giving you the facts. Take my criticisms with a pinch of salt. I don’t think all British people are oppressors or that all Americans are bullies.

  1. No, we don’t all sound like Oliver Twist. The accent you’re going for was common once upon a time. Like, 150 years ago to be precise. We don’t sound like that guy from Mary Poppins either.

  2. There are so many English accents to choose from, let alone British accents. You have cockney, Liverpool, Manchester, Essex, RP (like the Queen), posh London (like me, Prince William and Prince Harry, That’s right. They have a different accent to the Queen), Bristol and Somerset just to name a few. We haven’t even touched upon the many Scottish, Irish or Welsh accents.

  3. Geographically we’re a little confusing. Britain is actually the island next to the island of Ireland that includes Scotland and Wales as well as England. It was named by the Romans, I believe, who called it Britannia.
    The United Kingdom (otherwise known as the UK) includes Northern Ireland. In fact, the full name is The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. I don’t want to go into history too much, but basically, Ireland fought for its freedom from the UK and then there was a vote and a majority of people at the time in Northern Ireland wanted to remain with the UK, so the North was split up. This is changing, though.
    Then you have the British Isles. That includes both islands: Ireland and Britain. It’s only a geographical term, really, or one used in Media to cover both the UK and the Republic of Ireland. Ireland is a country of its own, and it will remain in the European Union after Britain leaves. Lucky ducks.

  4. We love our Us. You say “color”, we say “colour”. You say “humor”, we say “humour”. You say “neighbor”, we say “neighbour”. You get the point.

  5. We love or Ss. You say “realize”, we say “realise”. You say “apologize”, we say “apologise”. You say “organize” (I always found that one weird), we say “organise”. You get the point.

  6. You should probably ask a Welsh, Scottish or Northern Irish person if they mind being called British. This is still a political subject. Some people hate being called British, especially those in Scotland who voted leave in their referendum. England can seem like the oppressor if you look at history through a certain lens. It’s actually very easy to look at England through that lens, actually. I mean, it was mainly the English that went around conquering the world. Like pronouns in the LGBT community, you should probably find out if that person minds being called British or not, so as not to make them feel uncomfortable.

  7. No, Shakespeare didn’t sound like an American. He probably did sound a little more American than that awful, outdated British accent you’re used to, but he actually probably spoke more like a Northern English person than any other accent around today. Sorry about that.

  8. No, we don’t all drink tea and eat crumpets. It took me years to like tea, and I still only really drink green tea as opposed to the milky English stuff. I have never tried a crumpet. I give them a wide berth when I see them, which isn’t very often at all. I do find it strange that so many Americans live without a kettle, though! I go to America, ask for tea and get iced tea. SIGH.

  9. The Queen is not actually in charge of the country. She has a lot to do with the administration side of things. She signs a lot of bills and stuff and technically she could say no to passing a law, but that would cause a massive uproar in Parliament known as a Constitutional Crisis. The UK is what is known as a Constitutional Monarchy: we have a government that’s voted in that do all the running of the country stuff. The Queen isn’t even allowed in the House of Commons, where most of the law-making takes place, because once upon a time a king stormed in and tried to arrest people. She doesn’t use the power she has to control the country, and if she did use it, it would probably be promptly taken away from her. That doesn’t mean that our government isn’t corrupt, though. Every government has its issues - INCLUDING THE AMERICAN GOVERNMENT.

  10. Most of us aren’t that patriotic. Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish people are a different story. I think a lot of them have more of a right to be patriotic - the English did oppress them for centuries, so it is natural for the English to feel bad and the rest of the UK to feel a little self-righteous. However, extreme patriotism (even to the extent that’s normal in the US) is actually a cringe-worthy topic reserved for football hooligans (actual football where we use our feet for the whole match) and racists. When you see an extremely patriotic person in England as a POC, you’ll probably be worried that they’ll scream in your face to go back to where you came. Then, you’ll give out a heavy sigh as you think about the fact that your grandparents were born in England, so you’re definitely from England.

  11. English food is pretty bad. My boyfriend just chuckled and said that Scottish food (he’s Scottish) is kinda bad too. I guess we just spent too much of our history writing amazing books and oppressing people to think about the stuff we put in our mouths. It’s pretty bad when you realise that the leader of the political party criticised for its racist policies called Chicken Tikka Masala “good British food”. I get it: you guys took over India and brought people like my grandparents back to England with you, but that doesn’t mean you own Indian food and tea. Oh well. We can’t be good at everything. We’ll probably stick to generating crazy successful authors and holding the secret entrance to Platform Nine and Three Quarters. Hogwarts > Ilvermorny for life.

  12. Religion isn’t really a big deal. Unless you’re talking about Islam (loads of the racists like to scream about that religion all day, poor Muslim people), religion doesn’t really matter in the UK. You’ll never find a large group of people with a lot of influence trying to change politics because of their religious views. I guess you could say that it’s because of political apathy, but I hold my fellow religious people to a higher regard: I think it’s because Oliver Cromwell showed England what would happen if religious extremists took over centuries ago and we never really recovered from it. I mean, who bans Christmas???

  13. Most of the slang terms you’re familiar with are probably super old. As well as the fact that Americanisms have been slowly seeping into our culture, most of those things I hear from Americans trying British accents went out of fashion when people stopped hopping down chimneys for a few shillings. We don’t often call people “gov’nor” anymore or scream “blimey” on a daily basis. You guys have screwed us up so bad with this one that my poor Indian granddad thinks it’s “hip” to say “blimey”. Thanks for that. Yes, David Tenant’s Doctor may say “blimey”, but if you think an ancient alien is a good representation of the UK, I can’t help you.

  14. Think Harry Potter. If you want a good representation of UK accents, have a rewatch (or a watch if you’ve been living under a rock your whole life) of Harry Potter. You have loads of different accents from all around the British Isles (yes, including the Republic of Ireland. I’m looking at you Luna Lovegood and Seamus Finnigan). McGonagall has a great Scottish accent. Harry definitely sounds like he’s from London and Hagrid is most definitely from the West Country. Boring, huh? They’re not as interesting as Mary Poppins, but they’re much more realistic.

  15. We have a very dry, sarcastic sense of humour. I genuinely, to this day, believe that American culture, in general, can’t handle British humour. Your idea of sarcasm is one-liners that are very obviously sarcastic. Meanwhile, my friends and I can have a whole conversation in sarcasm. Yes, it’s practically a language over here. It takes quite a bit of getting used to. My flatmate is a testament to that. When she first came to this country to study, she looked a little confused when people tried to crack a joke with her, feeling as though she’d be rude if she laughed at them. Now foreign people look at our conversations and say “she’s really mean to you, Shannii”, but I know that the sarcasm comes out of love. It’s all convoluted, to the point that many of us aren’t sure if we’re being sarcastic or not. Concerning comedy films, I’ve noticed that American films feature the social-commenting, one-liner giving protagonist as a good force who is very much in control of the situation. Maybe it’s self-deprecating, but British comedy is full of sods who can barely walk down the street without doing something stupid. Think Mr Bean vs Jim Carey: American protagonists make jokes about other characters whilst British protagonists are the joke. Even Matt Groening puts his hands up and admits that The Simpsons was inspired by British comedy.

  16. Despite this, we’re very polite. I’ve been to the US loads of times now, and every time, people will laugh at how polite I am. My foreign friends still laugh at how I say “please” to Siri when asking him to do something. I don’t do it on purpose! It’s just a knee-jerk reaction to making a request. We do say “love” from time to time, either in a sarcastic way or in an endearing way (it can be difficult to tell the difference) and we will look very, very angrily at the back of your head if you jump the queue. That’s because we don’t really complain to people a lot (unless it’s about the weather) and it can be very difficult to understand what we’re truly thinking. We use sarcasm as a cover for our true feelings, and we’re just too polite to tell you we hate you or that we want to pick you up and move you to the back of the line when you try to cut in.

  17. We say “sorry” a LOT. Depending on inflexion, English people’s “sorry” can mean multiple different things. If my “sorry” goes up in pitch at the end, I probably mean that I have no clue what you’re saying. If it’s loud and sounds forced, what I actually mean is “you bumped into me, so you should be the one apologising, but I’ll apologise first so that you realise the error of your ways.” If it sounds genuine, I’m probably interrupting you, but really need to say what I’m going to say before you continue speaking. You can usually tell that one because I’m so painfully polite that I’ll hover awkwardly around you, looking for an appropriate time to interrupt for a while with a look of utter urgency on my face. If it’s gruff and quick, I’m probably in a hurry, and just barely brushed past you whilst I was rushing. Maybe it was that my air invaded your personal space for a split second or that I don’t want you to think you’re walking too slow for me.

  18. The London “yoot” is a bit of a mess. By that, I mean the youth, but that’s basically how they say it. They’re simultaneously inspired by Jamaican and American culture whilst trying to maintain their own British identity… is what I would say if I thought that they cared about anything but looking like a “gangster”. They try so hard. I remember when I was younger, they used to have their trousers around their butts and walk like they have a sore bottom. Now? I don’t even know. I avoid those kids at all costs. This may be a stereotype, but this stereotype is there for a reason. London youth slang is an entity of its own that you an only begin to understand from exposure or by meticulously studying Urban Dictionary. They use words I didn’t even know you could use for that particular context, and change the meaning. For example, “it’s bare loud” means “it’s very loud”, but I’m too posh for them, so they’d probably cringe at that example.

  19. Posh doesn’t always mean rich. In the last example, my boyfriend pointed out that “posh” is not something Americans use very often. He’s right, of course. It doesn’t always mean rich, but rather “refined”. Obviously, those things come hand in hand often, but I’m posh, and I’m just your average girl. That’s because my accent, hobbies, dress sense and general demeanour are all refined. That doesn’t mean that I have to spend a lot of money on my clothes or anything like that, but rather that I give off the air of deserving respect for the way I do these things. It used to mean rich because expensive clothes and hobbies were the only things considered refined, lower classes were less likely to be literate, and generally, there was a bigger divide between the rich and the poor. Now, it’s more about your attitude and how you want people to view you than how much you spend. I would seem like I care more about gaining the respect of those around me than someone with messy hair, a London Youth accent and a tracksuit on. That’s not to say that this is always true. It’s just another stereotype, I guess.

That’s everything for now. I think my head might explode otherwise!


#8

If you don’t mind, would you be willing to give my story grammar feedback? :face_with_raised_eyebrow: i’ve been looking for someone who is good with grammar and is willing to give grammar feedback but people are doing whole reviews which I don’t want.


#9

Sure! Inbox me a link to your story and I’ll be happy to help!


#10

@ShanniiWrites is the best grammar cop there is! :smile:


#11

awesome! :drooling_face: i’m a grammar / spelling fanatic ; but i know i’m not perfect so if she’s able to help me with my grammar/spelling mistakes that would be totes amazing!


#12

Always happy to help :wink:


#13

Reading this made me feel weirdly proud to be British :hugs:


#14

I’m glad! It was very tongue-in-cheek, but I’m happy you enjoyed it! I hope I kept everything quite general!


#15

What I do when I’m really confusing myself with affect and effect is use the word impact instead. I promise you, it makes sense in place of either of the E/Affects!


#16

I’ve been MIA on the forum for a while, so I am sorry for that!

I would love any new suggestions for grammar points! Otherwise, you’ll get something new that I thought of tomorrow.


#17

Lol, I was starting to wonder. :sweat_smile:


#18

This is the best thread I have ever read :raised_hands:


#19

Isn’t it? :face_with_monocle:


#20

The thing about the accent is on point, it’s so annoying that every English character in ANY American film always has a London accent. I don’t sound anywhere near as posh as that lol :joy: