Common Grammar Mistakes: Expectations vs. Reality

Here are some common grammar mistakes.

All of us have made common grammar mistakes at one time or another. It’s happened to anyone who has ever written: You sit down and write a sentence, only to realize later that your grammar is not just wrong…it’s actually hilariously wrong, and winds up saying something that you didn’t mean to do. Be it because of a spell-check gone mad, a comma that was missing, or a missed plural, you wind up saying something very, very different than what you intended. 

As a writer, grammar is your friend. Checking your work is necessary. Failing to do so sometimes leads to some hilarious results. As such, here’s a look at what happens when good grammar goes bad – with some serious lessons mixed in on how you can avoid making the same mistakes.

Awkward Repetition

  • “Imagine more snacks than you can imagine!” – A Billboard for am/pm.

How to correct these errors:

  • When you proof your work, do so by speaking out loud. If whoever wrote the above copy had done so, they would clearly have realized that they had some awkward phraseology.

Spell-check is Your Friend – But It’s Not Enough!

  • “Be a Biomedical Techinincian!” – A billboard for Cincinnati State.
  • “Violators will be towed and find $50.” – A warning sign in a parking lot.
  • “Thank You For Your Patients” – A road sign that was trying to thank visitors for their patience. 
  • “Sweat Tea!” – Sign at a bakery.
  • “Our Teachers Make a Differance!” – Sign in front of a school.
  • “Your the best teacher ever!” – Thank you note to a teacher.
  • “Are you sure you want to exist?” Prompt on a computer program, which meant to say “exit,” not “exist.” 

How to correct these errors:

  • Spell-check of any type can help you here. There are loads of built-in or free programs that can be found on the internet that can run spell-check and prevent you from making these types of embarrassing mistakes. You do need to look twice at some of this spelling, of course: Capital letters can sometimes get dismissed or ignored, as spell-check will often not recognize proper nouns. 
  • Spell-check, in and of itself, isn’t always enough, as a word that is spelled correctly but in the wrong location can lead to confusion. Make sure to read over your work, or have someone else do the same. 
  • Make sure to double-check all of your content. Some of these items – like the “exist/exist” error – were probably written and forgotten about, as they only appeared under special and limited circumstances. You must ensure that you check every possible piece of text. 

Wrong Apostrophe Use

  • “Pump’s Are Not Taking Debit Card’s Please Fill Up Gas and pay In Side With You’re Debit Card OR Use As Credit At Pump. Thank You Sorry For Invonvenius.” – Sign at a gas station (Okay…maybe there’s more than just bad apostrophe use in this one)
  • “Sometimes your the dog, sometimes your the hydrant.” – Sign outside of a school. This is a classic case of the wrong use of your/you’re. 
  • “Hello! Walking on lot only permitted for customers and mentally deranged seals. If your neither parking or barking, bye.” – Sign on a parking lot. 

How to correct these errors:

  • Remember: Apostrophes signify ownership or a contraction, not plural of items. If you are using an apostrophe, make sure that you are referring to someone owning something, not the use of multiple items. It can’t hurt to give yourself a basic refresher on how apostrophes work
  • Confirm that you have the right understanding of common words that have an apostrophe. “Its/It’s” and “Your/You’re” are common errors. 

Use of Commas and Periods

  • “No smoking food or beverages permitted in the clinic.” – Sign at a medical clinic
  • “Caution – Hot Children 10 and under need adult supervision.” – Warning sign on a heat lamp, which meant to say “Caution – Hot.” 
  • “Cows please close gate.” – Warning sign on an outdoor gate, which was attempting to communicate that there were cows behind the gate – not that the cows should be responsible for closing the gate. 
  • “Now open try our gluten free new owner.” – Sign in front of a coffee shop which was attempting to note three separate ideas (“Now Open! Try our gluten-free products. New Owner.”). 
  • “We remember all who have served hot breakfast.” – Sign at a Days Inn, which was likely attempting to pay tribute to veterans, not honor those who had previously served hot breakfast. 

How to correct these errors:

  • Comma use can be tricky! Fortunately, it is also relatively easy to catch these errors, and a quick check with a program like Grammarly can often help you use commas the right way. 
  • Remember, a period is used to end a sentence. Failure to use it the right way can lead to a run-on sentence and extremely awkward phrasing. 

In Conclusion, Common Grammar Mistakes

The above results are awkward, embarrassing…and more than a little funny. That being said, they illuminate a real potential danger: Failing to properly check your grammar and proof your work can lead to some highly problematic issues for you and your business. In many cases, these errors would simply have been caught if the user had just taken the time to proof their work or run a basic spell-check. Furthermore, any writer should be familiar with the basic rules of grammar.

Thankfully, though these common grammar mistakes are embarrassing, they’re avoidable. Take the time to do your writing the right way, and you will be rewarded with writing that is clear, crisp…and not embarrassing! 




Bouncy Mustard

Teyla Rachel Branton