Seven Grammar Pet Peeves

Many of you lovely people send me emails requesting that I write lessons addressing your personal pet peeves. You dream of a world where others stop doing the thing that drives you crazy.

Here are seven of the most common grammar pet peeves. Are these on your list?

1. Alot A lot

    This one is easy to explain.

    A lot is two words. Alot isn't a word, so don't use it.

    I like grammar a lot.

2. Would/Could/Should Of Have

This is not correct. 

    This one is tricky for many people because of and have sound similar when we say them out loud. This is especially true when we use contractions (would've, could've, should've).

    Think about it. Saying that you could of done something makes no sense.

    Saying that you could have done something does make sense.

Oh no! I should have taken the cake out of the oven earlier!

You could also write this as a contraction.

Oh no! I should've taken the cake out of the oven earlier!

3. There/Their/They're

  • There is an adverb indicating place, time, or position.

    Let's go to the park. We can walk there.

  • Their shows possession.

    Have you met the new neighbors? Their house is beautiful!

  • They're is a contraction for they are.

    The neighbors are coming at seven. They're bringing a cake.


4. Your/You're

  • Your is a possessive pronoun. It shows possession (ownership).

    I love your new car!

  • You're is a contraction for the words you are.

    This cake is delicious. You're the best baker I know!

5. To He and I Him and Me

    To he and I is wrong.

    To is a preposition. Prepositions are always followed by a noun or pronoun called the object of the preposition. This noun or pronoun needs to be in the objective form.

    The pronouns I, he, and she are used for subjects, so they aren't the right choice here.

    The pronouns me, him, and her are object pronouns, so they are the right choice here.

    My grandma gave flowers to him and me.

Learn more about prepositional phrases here.

6. A Whole Nother Other

    This is another easy one.

    Nother isn't a word, so don't use it!

    That is a whole other issue.

    You could also use another.
    That is another issue.

7. Its/It's

This is wrong.

  • Its is a possessive pronoun. The word its all by itself shows possession, so it doesn't need an apostrophe.

    (His is another possessive pronoun. We don't put an apostrophe in his, right?)

    The cat played with its toy.

  • It's is a contraction for it is.

    It's time to learn grammar!

I hope that I covered at least one of your pet peeves in this lesson. Have a great week! 

The Beginner's Guide to Grammar gives you a fun and visual way to get started with grammar and sentence diagramming. Yay!