I know of at least seven grammatical errors that I think are both widespread but easily fixable issues in both colloquial and written usage. I'd like to share these errors, and their solutions, with you today.

1) Incorrectly constructed parrallel structure (emphasis on the infinitive).
One of the more unusual aspects of English grammar is that we express infinitives using two words, to + conjugated verb. Commonly, the "to" part of the infinitive is ignored in parallel structure. Here are a couple example sentences incorporating this easily fixable grammatical error:
A. WRONG: I like to run and play. RIGHT: I like to run and to play.
B. WRONG: She said she's going to call us soon, ask us what time the movie is, and meet us there.
RIGHT: She said she's going to call us soon, to ask us what time the movie is, and to meet us there.

2) Split infinitive
This error is both widespread and easy to fix. Basically, just avoid inserting words between the "to" and the conjugated verb when expressing an infinitive. Here is an example:
WRONG: I want to quickly run.

3) Misuse of the limiting adjectival modifiers, "only" and "just"
The error is the misplacement of only before a verb rather than after it. Doing so changes the meaning of the sentence entirely, often confusing the sharp reader. The words "only" and "just" are similar in meaning, and you can use them interchangeably. Consider the following example sentence:
A. WRONG: I only want to go to the movies. RIGHT: I want only to go to the movies.
In the WRONG sentence, the speaker states that (s)he "only wants to go to the movies." This sentence DOES imply that (s)he wants to do NOTHING ELSE, such as buy a bucket of popcorn, buy a ticket, sit down to watch the show, or even breathe. The usage of only before the verb is, in this sense, a disaster because now the speaker is speaking suicidally! Now, because the error is so widespread, it is often easy to say the WRONG sentence and convey the RIGHT meaning. But, the RIGHT sentence also conveys the RIGHT meaning, not only to those ignorant of this fixable error, but to those who understand it. So, pick the RIGHT sentence!
Special Notes: This error just drives me nuts, becasue it is widespread yet fixable.

4) Pronounce antecedent agreement error: IT!
I will explain the error through an example:
WRONG: It is nice. RIGHT: Ice is nice.
Look at the WRONG sentence and ask yourself, back to what does "It" refer? Nothing, the reader or listener becomes confused.

Special Notes: This error perhaps is the most widespread of the four. It is also the most difficult to fix because usually people have this error ingrained by habit and don't even realize the need to fix it.

5) Misuse of this, that, these, those, one
Basically, the misusage of these words occurs when a person omits a noun that should follow immediately after these indicator adjectives. Here are a couple examples:
A. WRONG: I don't like this. RIGHT: I don't like this (feeling, basketball, etc.).
In the WRONG sentence, "this" leaves a reader confused. In speech, the listener may be confused if you don't obviously identify what "this" is using body language.
B. WRONG: What is this? RIGHT: What is this (sensation, feeling, crap, etc.)
Here, you leave the reader or listener hanging by omitting identifying what you don't know.

Special Notes: CAREFUL! You would be entirely correct in speech to say, "What is this?" if, in some obvious way, you directed the listener's attention to exactly what you wanted "this" to identify using body language. One such way, provided that the unknown is a thing (as opposed to a sensation, feeling, etc.), would simply be to point at the object in question.

6) End of the sentence prepositions
This error occurs when you place a preposition at the end of a sentence. The error is widespread, especially in speech. Here are a couple example sentences:
A. WRONG: Who are you going with? RIGHT: With whom are you going?
(If you're sharp, then you noticed that I changed who to whom. I did so because in the WRONG sentence, we use the word that indicates the unknown person in the nominative case. In the correct sentence, we use this word in the objective case.
B. RIGHT: Shut up.
I wrote this example to indicate that "up" here is not a preposition, but an adjective. Make sure that you pay attention!
Special Notes: This error is hard to fix during speech but not in written work (proofread!). With practice, you should be able to fix it in both speech and writing. In speech, the error is often acceptable. Some people actually think the error is unecessarily identified. As one man president once said (I neither remember his name nor his exact sentence), "This is the sort of arrant pedantry up with which I shall not put."

7) Passive voice
Passive voice means of, relating to, or being a verb form or voice used to indicate that the grammatical subject is the object of the action or the effect of the verb. Strictly speaking, this error is not grammatical in nature but rather is stylisitc. Here are examples:
A. WRONG: The rag was washed by Joe. RIGHT: Joe washed the rag.
By making the subject of the sentence an object on which an action was performed, the WRONG sentence is passive voice. You can avoid passive voice, so do so.
B. WRONG: The reader is confused by the writer. RIGHT: The reader is confused.
This example demonstrates another way of rewording a passive sentence. In this manner, you avoid passive voice by omitting the doer of the action. This way of rewording a sentence is useful to create mystery in writing, but for the most part, and especially in speech, you should indicate what performs the action and do so by rewording the sentence into active voice (see example A).

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Comments  (Page 4) 

From what I have gathered from your threads, you sounded like an intelligent person. However, I find [it] hard to retain from responding to your arguments. As pointed out, how the language is used has little to do with grammar in our daily lives for most people pay little attention to grammar. That said, [it] doesn’t mean we should ignore correct grammar. Speaking personally, there is an invisible line which separates grammatically incorrect but acceptable English and literally correct English. What you are attempting to do is splitting, not only hair, but atoms in order to support your arguments. I am all for correct grammar but I have to agree with others that some of the points you have made so far are pretty far fetched.
OK, if you want to avoid certain constructions in writing in order to stimulate creativity, that's fine.

But that has nothing to do with grammar.
Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?
Alienvoord: The issue is finding ways to express your ideas in grammatically sound ways. Obviously, the task entails the subject of grammar.
Here is another stylistic sin that you can and should avoid:

9) in order to + conjugated verb vs. to + conjugated verb
Simply put, there is never a reason to insert "in order" before an infinitive. It's verbose, and should always be dropped. Example:
WRONG: In order to have a nice meal, add tomato. RIGHT: To have a nice meal, add tomato.
Learn it. Appreciate it. Fix it.
Hi guys,

Public forums on the 'net are interesting places, and you encounter interesting people.

Am I alone in thinking of these idioms?

1. keep a straight face

2. pull someone's leg

Best wishes, Clive
Site Hint: Check out our list of pronunciation videos.
Am I alone in ...
No. And even more 'interesting' idioms. Emotion: smile

PastsimpleLess and less people care about these "deadly sins". Emotion: wink Seems I've just found the eighth.
You're correct! My, my, what an oversight on my behalf!
And the ninth: correct to "My, my, what an oversight on my part!".

I'd like to hear more about these mathematical geniuses who currently are constructing a mathematical paragon for the paragraph.
Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
AlienvoordI'd like to hear more about these mathematical geniuses who currently are constructing a mathematical paragon for the paragraph.
Alienvoord, are you patronizing me? What follows was one of the first sites that google returned. It was so descriptive and relevant to your question that I decided to use it as my only source:


This article lists what the current mathematical geniuses are studying with respect to grammar:
 formal and computational syntax, semantics, pragmatics, and phonology;
 model-theoretic and proof-theoretic methods in linguistics;
 constraint-based and resource-sensitive approaches to grammar;
 foundational, methodological and architectural issues in grammar;
 mathematical properties of linguistic frameworks;
 theories and models of natural language processing and generation;
 parsing theory;
 statistical and quantitative models of language.

Actually, there is an entire field devoted to the use of mathematics in argumentation and GRAMMAR. The field is called logic and argumentation. One of the basic tenets of this field is that almost all arguments can be characterized using DeMorgan's 18 rules of inference.
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