Say it Right


We are fortunate enough to live in an era where we are free to express ourselves in any manner that we like, and in any language we choose. With the increasing popularity of smart phones and social media, it has become more and more common to use slang and shorthand to communicate and as a result, the use of correct grammar among the youth has been severely diminished. While it may be perfectly acceptable to text “ C U L8R” to your friends, this is the kind of thing that would make your English teacher cringe and possibly get a few more grey hairs on the spot while reading your essay. “But what is the fuss all about grammar?” you may ask.

Well, correct grammar is the foundation of effective communication and allows us to be understood clearly, whereas improper grammar can affect the meaning of the intended message. Let’s say that you write “Let’s eat Grandpa”, rather than “Let’s eat, Grandpa” in an essay. This significantly changes the meaning of what you are trying to say. In addition to creating misunderstandings, incorrect grammar in certain instances may create a poor first impression, and the listener may unfortunately think that you are not too bright. As a learner, grammar plays a very important role in your academics as you will have to write essays and deliver orals for almost all your subjects. An essay that is riddled with grammatical errors or a poorly delivered essay will definitely cost you a few marks. Later on in life when you start attending job interviews or take up leadership positions in the workplace, it will be critical that you express yourself clearly in the correct manner. Failure to do so may result in you losing credibility.


10 of the Most Common Grammar Mistakes

Here’s a quick refresher on some of the grammar mistakes we need to look out for in our speech or when writing.


Its vs It’s

Its (possessive pronoun) – of, belonging to, made by, or done by it

  • The dog is eating its food

It’s (contraction) – it is

  • It’s a very strange dog.


Their vs. There vs. They’re

Their (adjective) – relating to or belonging to certain people, animals, or things

  • They were proud of their work.

There (noun) – in that place or at that location

  • Just put it over there.

They’re (contraction) – they are

  • They’re going out to dinner tonight.

To vs. Too vs. Two

To (preposition) – used to indicate the direction of something

  • I’m going to school

Too (adverb) – in addition; as well

  • I’m going to school too


Than vs. Then

Than (conjunction) – used to introduce the second element in a comparison

  • I like soccer more than rugby

Then (adverb) – used to indicate what happened or happens next

·       I’m going to do my assignment first then I will watch TV


Your vs. You’re

Your (adjective) – relating to or belonging to you

·       Can I please borrow your pen

You’re (contraction) – you are

·       Are you sure you’re going to make it on time?

Who vs. Whom

Who (subject pronoun) – what or which person or persons

  • Who is going to the party with you?

Whom (object pronoun) – what or which person or persons

  • With whom are you going to the party?

Stationary vs. Stationery

Stationary (adjective) – not moving or not movable

  • The vehicle is stationary

Stationery (noun) – writing materials

  • It’s important to have all the necessary stationery for school at the beginning of each year


Lose vs. Loose

Lose (verb) – to become unable to find; to mislay; to fail to win or gain

  • How many games did your team lose last season?

Loose (adjective) – not tight

  • I’ve weight, and now these jeans are really loose.


Elicit vs. Illicit

Elicit (verb) – to get a response or information from someone

  • The teacher elicited answers from the students.

Illicit (adjective) – unlawful; illegal

  • The teacher discovered illicit drugs in a student’s desk.

Desert vs. Dessert

Desert (verb) – to forsake or abandon; to leave without permission

  • Soldiers should not desert their posts.

Desert (noun) – dry, barren, sandy region

  • The largest desert in the world is the Sahara.

Dessert (noun) – a sweet course served at the end of a meal

  • Fruit is a healthier dessert option after lunch or dinner.
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