Four Sentences that Prove Grammar is Important

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Take it from the editor …. grammar is important. If you don’t believe me check out the sentences below. Much like your iPhone autocorrecting your text messages, poor grammar can turn a seemingly harmless sentence into a quite embarrassing one. A misplaced comma, absent letter, or incorrect spelling can be the difference between expressing your anger and announcing you like to be peed on.

1.      I would rather be pissed off then pissed on.

 That sounds like a bad day. Confusing than and then is one of the most common grammar mistakes. You want to use then when you are expressing time. For example:

 We ate dinner, and then went to the mall.

I will call you then.

Wash the clothes, and then put them in the dryer.

 Than is used when comparing. So, the above sentence should read “I would rather be pissed off than pissed on.”

 My art is better than yours.

Some people do not have much money, but others have more than their share.

If you have more expenses than income, you need to make some changes.

Mignon Fogarty, also known as Grammar Girl, has a quick tip to help everyone remember the difference when you are in the midst of your sentence building. The words than and comparison have the letter “a” in them. The words then and time have the letter “e” in them.

2.      Is this a squirrel-eating pumpkin?

Do those exist? I suppose anything is possible during Halloween. While this sentence is technically not incorrect, it is probably not what the writer intended. The best way to check if you need a hyphen is to look it up in the dictionary.  California State University Northridge has a great online guide that you can use for quick reference.

The biggest fault with hyphens is that it can change the meaning of your sentence. For example:

 A hot-water bottle is a bottle for holding hot water.

A hot water bottle is a water bottle that is hot.

The first sentence, with the hyphens, is describing a bottle for holding hot water. The second sentence is stating that it is a hot water bottle.

 3.      Let’s eat Mom.

Poor Mom—not only did she cook dinner, but now she is dinner. Commas are necessary for clarity. The two examples below are proof of this, and were compiled from Smosh.com’s “15 Pics That Prove Commas are Important.”

Pedestrians Slippery When Wet       Attention Toilet Only

Commas can be confusing because there are so many uses for them, and not everyone agrees on their rules. Many professionals believe that the Oxford comma, the last comma before and, is not always necessary. These things become a style choice. My favorite go-to guide is Grammar Girl.

4.      My daughter had a running nose and I didn’t want anyone to catch it.

My mother is a kindergarten teacher. This is an actual sentence from a note she received from a father of one of her students. Poor guy chose the wrong word, and the rest … well, it just worked out to be funny.

Proofread. Proofread. Proofread.

The Importance of Grammar

English teachers refer to the poor language and grammar skills of their students as “thumb English,” meaning the English that correlates with text messaging, Facebook and Twitter. Granted, sometimes these mediums don’t call for perfect writing, but when developing content for your website, the PaperStreet staff strongly recommends the utilization of best writing practices, that includes proper grammar.

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