Hello! I'm Elizabeth O'Brien, and my goal is to get you jazzed about grammar. Learn more

Grammar Rules, Standard English, & Proper Grammar Usage

Elizabeth O'Brien

Hello! I'm Elizabeth O'Brien, and my goal is to get you jazzed about grammar. 

Learn More

Grammar Rules,
Standard English, &
Proper Grammar Usage

Why should you learn proper grammar?

People judge you based on how you write and speak. Taking the time to follow the rules of Standard English in your formal writing and speech allows you to present yourself in the best possible light.

You can learn more about what Standard English is and how it impacts our lives by watching our documentary on grammar and grammar education. 

On this page, you'll find lessons and tips that will help you use proper grammar. This means that we're dealing with issues of what is called grammar usage. It's kind of a grab bag of topics (whereas learning about grammar is a more structured process), but I think you'll find these lessons helpful!

Proper Grammar Usage Topics

Psst! I would strongly suggest that you look into getting a usage guide if you don't have one yet. Seriously. Usage guides give you guidance for using problematic words and expressions.

Awhile vs. A While

What's the difference between awhile and a while? I'll teach you! 

Click here to watch the video lesson.

Awhile vs A While video

Compound Possessives

Where does the apostrophe go when you're forming compound possessives? Which are correct?

  • Jim and my cat is cute. 
  • Jim and my's cat is cute. 
  • Jim's and my cat is cute. 
  • David and Elizabeth's car is blue. 
  • David's and Elizabeth's car is blue.

Learn more about forming compound possessives here!

Everyday or Every Day?

People often mistake the word everyday for the phrase every day. Have you ever made this grammar mistake? The rule is fairly easy to grasp. Read the lesson and take the quiz!

Learn more about this common grammar mistake.

Idiomatic Expressions

These things drive me up the wall. I'm just kidding. Actually, I really enjoy learning about idioms. Idioms are groups of words which have meanings that are not literal.

Drives me up the wall = Makes me crazy

While they are fun to learn about, they can be difficult to grasp, particularly for people learning English as a second language. Learn more about idiomatic expressions here

7 Common Pet Peeves

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

Misplaced Modifiers

Do you know what a misplaced modifier is? Today is your day to learn about these guys! Learn more about misplaced modifiers here.

Misusing the Word Myself

Many people misuse the word myself. Here are two examples. 

Carl and myself ate lunch. --> Incorrect

Mike cooked lunch for Carl and myself. --> Incorrect

Learn more about how to use myself correctly.

Video on using the pronoun MYSELF

Passive Voice or Active Voice?

What the heck does this mean? How can sentences have voices?

Voice refers to whether the subject is performing the action or receiving the action of a verb.

How do you write these and which should you use? I'll teach you!

Learn more about active and passive voice here.

Active Voice and Passive Voice

Sentence Ambiguity

Sometimes, sentences that we write can be interpreted in multiple ways. When this happens, we can call the sentence ambiguous (open to more than one interpretation). If your intention is to write an ambiguous sentence, then there's no problem! However, if you'd like your sentence to be clear, you'll need to rewrite it. Here's an example of an ambiguous sentence I found on a chocolate bar wrapper. 

Subject Verb Agreement

What does it mean for a subject and a verb to agree? It refers to the number of the subject and the verb. Learn more about subject verb agreement here.

There, Their, & They're

Learn a few tricks that will help you remember these commonly confused words! Read more and see the video here.

Video on the commonly confused words

Try to vs. Try and

Do you usually use try to or try and? Did you know that this can be a controversial grammar topic? 

Learn more about try to vs. try and here.

Try To video

We or Us?

We sometimes use the pronouns we and us after nouns. How do you know when to use the pronoun we and when to use the pronoun us? Which one is correct?

We sisters met for lunch. 

Us sisters met for lunch.

Would of, Could of, Should of?

Learn why would of, could of, and should of is incorrect.

Would of, could of, should of video

Who vs. Whom

Many people have a hard time knowing when to use which word. I'll teach you how you can figure it out, and I'll also teach you a little trick that will make it easy. Read more about who vs whom here.

Elizabeth O'Brien from Grammar Revolution

If you don't want to teach or learn grammar by yourself,  click here to see how I can help you.

Yesterday, my son said, "Verbs are my favorite parts of speech." I think it's an indication of a successful grammar program when a child can pick his favorite part of speech. Yeah!

- Mary, Homeschooler

If you want to teach or learn grammar the easy way, follow our step-by-step program which clearly lays everything out and allows you to move at your own pace. The Get Smart Grammar Program is presented in a logical sequence, so it's not an overwhelming mishmash of information. Just watch the videos and complete your assignments. Before you know it, you'll be a grammar and sentence diagramming pro!

The Get Smart Grammar Program

I hope you enjoyed these lessons on proper grammar usage. :) 

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Elizabeth O'Brien

Elizabeth O'Brien is the creator of Grammar Revolution.

Her lessons are guaranteed to give you more confidence in your communication skills and make you smile. :)

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