Grammar enthusiasts, unite!
Do misspelled words drive you into a red pen-wielding fury? Do you appreciate a well-placed semi-colon? You might be an English teacher. If not an English teacher, then you’re definitely a lapsed English major. If you rejoice at correct grammar—including the proper uses of “affect” and “effect” and how to make your last name plural—you might also be part of that ever-proofreading group. Whether you’re an English teacher, an English teacher-at-heart (there are plenty of us out there too), or someone who likes to point out typos wherever they may be, we have a challenge for you.
If grammatical mistakes make you cringe, take a look at the letter below, and test your knowledge of the English language. There are 13 grammatical mistakes to find (that we know of), and we’re betting that you’ll be 13 for 13.
I was delighted to read you’re letter last week. Its always a pleasure to recieve the latest news and to here that you and your family had a great summer.
We spent last week at the beach and had so much fun on the sand and in the water exploring the coast we weren’t prepared for the rains that came at the end of the vacation. The best parts of the trip was the opportunities to sightsee and relax.
My kids are back in school to. I find their are less things to worry about now that the kids are at school all day. There is plenty of fun things to do in the summer, but by August, I’ve running out of ideas. I’ve excepted the fact that we’ll have to think up brand-new activities next summer; hoping to round up some creative ideas soon.
Thanks again for your letter!
1. “You’re” – The contraction “you’re” means “you are.” The word “your” should be used with a noun to indicate possession, as in “your letter.”
2. “Its” – “Its” is a word indicating possession, as in “its wheels.” “It’s” is a contraction meaning “it is.” This sentence should read “It’s always a pleasure…”
3. “Recieve” – You’ll need to use the “I before E except after C” rule to find the correct spelling of “receive” here.
4. “Here” – “Here” indicates location. The writer should have used the homonym “hear,” which indicates listening.
5. The third sentence is a run-on sentence – A period or a comma and conjunction would make a big difference in the readability of the phrase.
6. Subject-verb agreement – The subject of the sentence is “parts” (which is plural) and the verb is “was” (which is singular). The sentence should read, “The best parts of the vacation were…”
7. “To” – “To” is a preposition, as in “to the beach.” Here, the writer should use “too,” meaning also.
8. “Their” – “Their” is possessive. “They’re” means “they are.” In this case, the writer should use the third homonym, “there.”
9. “Less” – “Less” should be used with an amount that you can’t count, as in “less money” or “less animosity.” The word “fewer” should be used with amounts that you can count, as in “fewer things,” “fewer items,” or “fewer stores.”
10. Subject-verb agreement – “Is” is a singular verb. In this sentence, the verb should be plural, as in: “There are plenty of fun things to do…”
11. “I’ve running” – This verb should be “I am running” or “I have run.” With contractions, “I’m running” or “I’ve run.”
12. Incorrect word usage – The writer should have used the word “accepted” instead of “excepted.”
13. Incorrect semi-colon usage – A semi-colon should be used between two related complete sentences, i.e. two connected independent clauses.
The Corrected Letter
I was delighted to read your letter last week. It’s always a pleasure to receive the latest news and to hear that you and your family had a great summer.
We spent last week at the beach, and we had so much fun on the sand and in the water. We explored the coast, but we weren’t prepared for the rains that came at the end of the vacation. The best parts of the trip were the opportunities to sightsee and relax.
My kids are back in school too. I find there are fewer things to worry about now that the kids are at school all day. There are plenty of fun things to do in the summer, but by August, I’ve run out of ideas. I’ve accepted the fact that we’ll have to think up brand-new activities next summer, though; I’m hoping to round up some creative ideas soon.
Thanks again for your letter!
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What are your grammatical pet peeves? Let us know in the comments and—English teacher or not—let us know how many errors you spotted.