7You do not have to be a Grammar-Nazi to be able to know various English Grammar rules. If you were to take our words, we would tell you that even Grammar-Nazis do not know every rule in grammar books and they too make mistakes. There is always a room for improvement when you are trying to achieve command on a language. We are assuming that you want to add to your English grammar knowledge too if you are here. Well, we wouldn’t disappoint you, as further in this article, you are going to read those seven English grammar rules which people often violate. You can know about them and avoid making the same mistakes.
We are presenting these rules in a manner that they are understandable without giving you the feel of boring grammar rulebooks. Don’t get us wrong; we are not undermining the importance of books. Textbook style of writing is the best way to learn serious topics like parts of speech definition and types related to it but what we mention here are not tedious subjects but some common grammatical mistakes that people make along with their correct usage. Let’s start already.
1. Whether to Use If
People use the words ‘whether’ and ‘if’ interchangeably all the time. If you do it too, then it is time you stopped. Using Whether and if in place of each other is not the correct way of using them. Although they are used in the sentences that involve choices, they both are used in different conditions.
Weather: Use ‘whether’ in a sentence when you have only two choices to make in it.
Example: Hazel couldn’t decide whether to go or not go to the party.
If: Use ‘if’ in a sentence when there are more than two choices to make.
Example: I will be going to the party only if I feel like.
2. When to Use Ellipsis (…)
Ellipses are those three periods (…) that you rarely see in different written pieces. We use ellipsis usually over mobile texting, but we often restrict ourselves only to it and not in our exams or other kinds of writings because we are not sure of its right use. You can use ellipsis in any way in messaging, there are no grammar teachers taking offense to it, but when using ellipsis in formal texts, then you must abide by its correct usage.
In formal writing, an ellipsis is used to show hesitancy of the speaker or omission of obvious words in the sentence. The ellipsis is dominantly used in dramas and other creative writing texts.
- “Well, what goes around…”
- “But I never went near the evidence tape, I… I have no idea how it got misplaced.”
3. Sentences Ending with Abbreviations
You have surely used abbreviations in different places. Those shortened words that are separated with periods are called abbreviations. Some examples of abbreviations are Dr., Mr., etc. Some abbreviations can also be used without periods, but that’s not the point of this section, let us tell you where the people usually make mistakes using abbreviations in a sentence. It is often seen that people add two full-stops or periods when ending a sentence with the abbreviations, which is not the right way to use it.
Whenever you are ending a sentence with an abbreviation, do not add an extra period to finish the sentence as the period that is used with the abbreviation serves this purpose. Check this example for more clarifications.
X: Be right here at 6 A.M..
✔: Be right here at 6 A.M.
X: She plays for the U.S.A..
✔: She plays for the U.S.A.
4. About ‘To+ Infinitives’
Infinitives are the primary form of verbs. Now that we have the definition of infinitives out of the way let us come to the rule. Never separate to and infinitive with another word. You might be thinking you do not do that already, but by reading the example, you will know what we are talking about. Most people make this mistake, and we have done it too at some point in the past.
X: Jake promised to really study well for the next test.
✔: Jake promised to study well for the next test.
5. You Probably Didn’t KNOW This
In the grammar nerd circles, committing this mistake is a crime. A common problem that the non-native English speakers are plagued by is the use of past tense with the word ‘did.’ The word ‘did’ already denotes the past tense, and you are not supposed to use another verb in its past tense form with it. The verb that succeeds did must be used its base form.
- Did you come to the class yesterday?
- You didn’t copy his homework, did you?
6. Where do Periods Go When Using Quotes?
We all read quotes, we all write in quotes, but very less often we pay attention to the details of the punctuations used with them. People will confuse you a lot regarding the usage of periods and commas inside quotes. You must place commas and periods inside or outside the quotes depending on the kind of English that you are using. In American English, we use periods and commas inside the quotes while in British English, it can be either inside or outside depending on the sentence. In British English, the periods and commas are always used outside the quotation marks unless they are a part of the quote.
For American English: “I finished my cupcakes.”
For British English: Dr. Rutherford said,” I am not sure of your condition”.
7. Finding Subject in a Sentence
Here is an easy and handy rule that you can follow to find the ‘subject’ in a sentence. Students often get confused when asked to spot the subject in a statement. A subject is that part of the sentence which performs the action or does the verb. Whenever you are asked to find the subject in a sentence, ask the question, ‘who is performing the action in the sentence’? The answer will be the subject which you need to spot.
Example: The dogs are barking in the street.
What is the verb in this sentence? ‘Barking’ is the verb here.
Who is performing the action of barking? ‘Dogs’ are performing the action. So, the word ‘dogs’ is the subject in this example.
So, this is the last rule on our list of English grammar rules in this post. We aim to help you fix the common errors that people commit in their usage of English. If you are looking to master topics like different types of parts of speech with definition and examples, then we suggest that you head on to textbooks or other sources that focus solely on the topics of your interest. We hope that we added to your knowledge through the information presented here.
For more grammar-related content check out: A comprehensive guide to English Grammar
Author: Ayush Chawla
Ayush Chawla is a software engineer and a digital marketer. For marketing or advertising related queries, get in touch with him here.