Monday, July 22, 2013

Just home from Nationals ...

I was in Atlanta last week, and I’m dog tired this morning, so I thought I’d keep going with a blog post that’s easy for me to write…though maybe not so easy for you to read -- grammar errors. :)

I talked last week about misused gerunds being my most hated grammar error. But really, I have a few! LOL Most of them I’ve found in published books.

So get ready to wince…Oh, and know that every once in a while I forget some of these too. You are not alone! LOL These mistakes slip through for all of us. It’s good to be on the lookout for them.

Did you know that "couldn't help but think" is actually a double negative? The correct usage is couldn't help thinking.

Or how about "I could care less what you think"? That's just wrong. It implies that it’s possible to care less. What you really mean is I COULDN'T care less. Which means nothing is lower on your scale of thinking.

Have you ever seen...Fatter than me? Thinner than me? Happier than me? Also wrong. My mother always taught me to finish the sentence...He's fatter than I [am]. She's thinner than I [am].

Confused about the objective and subjective case of pronouns in sentences? They are an easy fix. If a pronoun follows a preposition [after, between, on, for, to about...there are only about 20 of them. You don’t need to memorize them. All you have to do is be able to recognize them.] then it's probably the object of a preposition and should be objective case.

i.e. To me ...after me...for me...

If there's more than one person...It isn't between you and I. (Doesn't that sound like fingernails on a chalkboard?) It should be between you and me. For you and me. For my husband and me. If this usage stumps you, take out the second person...and it's easy to see the answer. For my husband and I...becomes ...for I! Really? Do you ever say for I? Nope. You say for me.  So remember to use the objective case of a pronoun after a preposition.

Less and fewer. Less is used when you can’t count the objects.

You have less sugar. I use less flour in my cookies than my sister.  

Fewer is used when you can count the items. Fewer cars drove by my house today. I packed fewer shoes. He has fewer freckles than she. (Note the she! Finish the sentence…Fewer freckles than she has.)

The biggest pet peeves of one of my friends…something that jumps out at me now that she's mentioned it…is the use of the word that for who.

That is used for things. Who is used for people.

The bag that broke held my sugar. The woman who helped me clean the mess was pretty.

Now, let’s be honest here. I KNOW why you use that when you should use who. You don’t know which form of who to use! LOL "Is it who? Is it whom? Ah, hell, I’ll just use that!" (And be wrong…and annoy the snot out of my friend!)

The car that drove by was green.

The woman who danced last night was my neighbor.

Not the woman that danced. The woman who danced.

How did I know to use who not whom? Who is the subject of the phrase who danced last night.

Don’t ask for whom the bell tolls. (Remember that line?) In that sentence whom is the object of the preposition for.

Prepositions again. Learn those little buggers and you will save yourself a lot of grief.

Okay. That’s it for me today.

I promise next week we will discuss something that will make you happy.

Happy Monday…And the talented Sarah Morgan won my category for the Rita. Hard to be unhappy though when I had such a great time at the conference!

susan meier


Laney4 said...

Re who and whom:
Whom has an "m" at the end, as does "him". If the sentence makes sense with "him" replacing "who or whom", it is "whom". If it makes sense with "he", then it is "who".
I am going out with him/whom?
For him/whom the bell tolls/the bell tolls for him (when reverse the order).
Hope this makes sense, as it's hard to explain.

Susan said...

What a great tip!

It made perfect sense!