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Top 10 Grammar Nazi All Time Favorites [infographic]

  • November 24, 2014
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This list, in no particular order, can help you to avoid skirmishes with grammar Nazis…or you can use it in studying to become one!

Top 10 Grammar Nazi All Time Favorites - Web

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1. Plural vs Possessive

Folks seem driven to add an apostrophe whenever ending a word with “-s.” Here are two common mistakes that make grammar Nazis see red:


“I was born in the 60’s.”

“Boys love truck’s.”


Decades and plural nouns–80s, 20s, trucks, horses, cats–do not need apostrophes. On the other hand, when showing possession, add an apostrophe.


“The dog’s bowl is empty.”

“Susan’s coat is red.”


Plural possessive? Is there such a thing? Sure! If there are three cows and all are in the same pasture, it is “the cows’ pasture.” Pluralize, then tack the apostrophe onto the end.


“The ladies’ cheesecakes were all delicious but Betty’s was the best.”

“Bill is mowing the Petersons’ yard.”



2. “Its” vs “It’s”

Pronouns do not need an apostrophe to show possession. In the case of “it,” the apostrophe flips into the duty of cementing two words together: “it” and “is.”


“It is raining.” “It’s raining.”

“The dog is chewing its bone.”


When in doubt, remember that the apostrophe is taking the place of “is” and run the sentence around your brain a few times to see if it makes sense.


Is snow coming down? It is snowing, therefore “it’s snowing.”


“The cat is playing with it’s toy.” The cat is playing with “it is” toy? Wrong! Use “its.”



3. “Your” vs “You’re”

“Your” shows possession. “You’re,” like “it,” uses an apostrophe to cement the pronoun “you” with “are.”


“Your dinner is ready.”

“We’ll leave when you’re ready.”


To annoy the living daylights out of your favorite grammar Nazi, try one of these: “Your my favorite person” or “I am grateful for you’re friendship.”



4. “Then” vs “Than”

“Then” indicates time; “than” shows comparison.


“We’ll have cheeseburgers and then ice cream.”

“I bet I’ll eat more than you.”



5. There/Their/They’re

The first is a location, the second is a possessive pronoun and the third is a contraction of “they are.”


“While I was there, I ate all of their ice cream and they’re still mad at me.””



6. Bob and I

Grammar Nazis’ nightmare: “Me and Bob went to the store.”


First of all, courtesy requires that Bob be listed first. Secondly, if Bob is removed, here’s what’s left:


“Me went to the store.”


Properly written, “Bob and I went to the store.”



7. Alot

This is not a word. Using “alot” rather than the correct “a lot” will cause the tiny hairs on the back of a grammar Nazi’s neck to stand up.



8. “To” vs “Two” vs “Too”

“To” indicates motion toward a place, person and so forth.

“I am going to the store.”


Two is a number.

“Two puppies are playing tag.”


Too means “also” or “in addition.”

“Take this one, too.”



9. “Less” vs “Fewer”

If you can count them, there are “fewer.” If you cannot count it, like rice or sand, there is “less.”


“I ate less ice cream than you.”

“I ate fewer cheeseburgers than you.”



10. “Are” vs “Our”

This flub is guaranteed to put grammar Nazis in straitjackets. “Are” is a form of “be;” “our” is a possessive pronoun.


“The cows are in the pasture.”

“Our favorite restaurant is a steakhouse.”



Grammar Nazis could probably list additional pet peeves for days. Can you add any common errors in English that drive you batty?

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