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.
- 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.
- Lay and lie – I know which is which, but I still stay away.
- Inserting too many “likes” or “you knows” in conversation. We’ve all done it. Cut others the slack they deserve!
- Incorrect and too frequent use of “literally” – “I was literally standing there for 15 minutes!” Same “cut some slack” advice from #3.
- “Me and him went to the store” – okay this is a tough one, but please, stay quiet. It’s not worth it!
- Bad and badly – Feel bad, want something badly, but whatever you do, don’t make someone else feel bad for getting it wrong.
- “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.
- 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.
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!
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