Grammar check – speech is silver, silence is golden!

Images: Pixabay

I’m no grammar expert, but I do like to get it right when I’m writing, yet I still make plenty of mistakes. When I’m talking with someone, however, I much prefer to let the conversation flow and I usually let my guard down and live in the moment. But has someone ever stopped you to correct your speech? Called you out in front of others? Ouch! It’s happened to me. It stings, doesn’t it?

I think it’s best to be quiet on the subject, unless you’re helping a two-year-old learn to talk. That said, here’s a list of some of the mistakes I’ve made, and heard. You may be an expert after studying for the SATs or working on your thesis, but even if these grate on you, take a breath and embrace the mood of the story that person is telling you.

  1. Using further instead of farther, or the reverse. Don’t ask me to tell you the rule. I’d have to look it up, so I usually avoid these words.
  2. Lay and lie – I know which is which, but I still stay away.
  3. Inserting too many “likes” or “you knows” in conversation. We’ve all done it. Cut others the slack they deserve!
  4. Incorrect and too frequent use of “literally” – “I was literally standing there for 15 minutes!” Same “cut some slack” advice from #3.
  5. “Me and him went to the store” – okay this is a tough one, but please, stay quiet. It’s not worth it!
  6. Bad and badly – Feel bad, want something badly, but whatever you do, don’t make someone else feel bad for getting it wrong.
  7. “Hi, it’s me!” I’m pretty sure this has finally earned the acceptance it deserves. Use the SAT/thesis guidelines here and stay mum.
  8. Swearing for emphasis – this is a tough one. I still say let it slide, unless the words are meant to offend or intimidate you. Then, by all means, do what you have to do.

Now if you’re applying for a job or meeting your future in-laws for the first time, or trying to put on your best self, pay attention to what you’re saying and avoid these pitfalls.

Image: Pixabay

But if you’re a listener, remember this important rule:
Speech is silver, silence is golden!

What do you think? Have you been cited by the grammar police? Tell me what happened!

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!

35 thoughts on “Grammar check – speech is silver, silence is golden!

    1. I don’t like being corrected publicly, but it’s probably because of my stubborn personality. I think communicating is the goal for all of us, not perfect speech and grammar. Thanks for stopping in, Robbie.

  1. Hello Barb, it is I 🙂 And I think you covered most of the grating glitches that cause me to bite my tongue, with one exception: the noxious use of “all’s” as in “All’s I’m sayin’ is . . .” Oy.

  2. I’ll sometimes correct my husband, but only when we’re at home alone and only if it’s a funny error. I can’t imagine ever stopping someone mid-sentence to correct them. Unless, I never wanted that person to speak to me again…which gives me an idea :))

  3. Well said! Being Canadian, I have to bite my tongue at written spellings too, when we imitate Americans. It’s “centre”, not “center”, “theatre”, not “theater”, “favourite” with a ‘u’ – yes.
    We must be gracious or be exhausted.

    1. Hi Cynthia, yes I like that, “be gracious or be exhausted.” The “er” versus “re” thing is confusing, because some Americans use the “re” spellings here as do many businesses and restaurants. Thanks for the visit!

  4. Good point! No one likes to be corrected when they are just talking. It’s best to save if for when we’re actually editing someone’s work, or in our own speech.

    1. Hi Ann. Yes, for the written word, it’s totally different, and if I’m asked, I definitely correct. And of course, I want to get it right when I talk, but to be corrected in casual speaking, that’s no good! Thanks for reading and commenting. 🙂

  5. I appreciate this post so much. One of my pet peeves is someone calling out another publicly for grammar (or speech) mistakes. I always avoid lie/lay, even though I have a million tips remembered on their correct usage. Grammar is fun! Being perfect and never making mistakes isn’t. Great post!

    1. Hi Cheryl. Yes, I also think grammar is fun, but trying to be perfect, and correcting others, is not! I’ve been on the wrong side of that and I know how it feels. Thanks so much for reading and commenting. It’s good to know how everyone feels about this 🙂

  6. My wife is a Filipina and when she speaks English she mixes he/she up so now I have to ask her in case it leads to some comical misunderstandings. I like to be corrected if I make a grave error but not for something small. I once went through a phase of writing precisely then intentionally making an obvious mistake for comedy effect. It wasn’t that comical.

  7. Barbara, I totally agree … although someone’s wrong grammar may irk it is much better to be quiet and let the conversation flow – that alone is a blessing. 😀😀 Your post reminds me of my first stay in Germany when I was fifteen. Nearly everyone in the house was happy to chat away; my German still far from fluent. However, the father would correct nearly every word I uttered and in the end I just shut up!

    1. That’s tough. I recently met up with one of my German relatives (after 50 years – eek!) and he spoke to me in English. I took a year of German in college, but wouldn’t dare try! His English, however, was excellent. Thanks for stopping by, Annika. Hope you’re reading a good book right now!

      1. That must have been a special reunion after such a long time. I’ve read so many books these past two weeks … now nearly finished the excellent ‘Becoming’. Superb and particularly loved learning about her childhood and young adulthood. Can see why it has sold 10K +!

      2. It was fun to meet up with him. It was a crazy day – we were all so busy coming and going from various states and figuring out train schedules. but afterwards I was so glad we made the effort. I haven’t read Becoming yet, but I want to. Glad you’ve had some good reading time!

  8. My ex-husband drilled lay and lie into me early on, I emphasize the “ex”! But on an opposite note, I remember purposely working popular grammar mistakes into my speech when in junior high and high school to fit in better.

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