Popular Grammar Myths You Probably Don’t Know
Even though it is hard to achieve perfection in everything we do, correct spelling and grammar play a significant role in various spheres of human life, including marketing, business and education. The use of correct grammar constructions can help to make the content of one’s writing more credible, and this eventually influences the overall performance of a person. However, there is much misunderstanding regarding the use of correct grammar. It is often hard to tell which grammar constructions can be used in this or that situation. In order to help students overcome this problem, the following paper will discuss a few grammar myths that not everyone knows.
- The first grammar myth deals with the question of how a sentence should end. It is suggested by some people that a sentence should not end with a preposition. For example: “Which activity are you engaged in?” In social networking, e-mails and various casual messages, it is possible to put a preposition at the end of the sentence. However, in various official documents and formal writing, it is advisable not to do so. Despite the myth that ending a sentence with some preposition is a grammatical mistake, it is not so in all cases. Sometimes, such sentences would sound even better, so everything depends on the situation.
- Another myth is an assumption that it is incorrect to split infinitives. School children are often in doubt whether this is true or not. In fact, an infinitive serves as a verb in most of its forms, such as “to see” or “to go”. To split an infinitive means that a person puts some words in between the preposition “to” and the following verb. For example: “to hardly cope with the assignment”. The good news is that there is nothing incorrect in such structure of the sentence. It is perfectly normal to split the infinitives so that the only reason why it is not advisable to do so would be the case when the sentence might not sound well. Therefore, everything depends on the context of a sentence, but generally the use of split infinitive is absolutely correct.
- One more myth that makes students confused is that “i.e.” and “e.g.” actually have the same meaning. If you have problems with remembering which meaning these two words have, you are not the only one to be in doubt. You should keep in mind that “i.e.” serves a function of “that is”, while “e.g.” means “for instance” or “for example”. This simple rule should be memorized for you to use correct grammar in your writing.
- Another grammar myth deals with the meaning of dashes. Some people think that both long dash and short dash are absolutely different, but it is not so. A long dash is a version of the “em”, while a short dash means “en”. Both versions can be used to indicate a splitting in the sentence. The “en” dash can be used to signify differentiation, for instance “this will last for 10-15 minutes”. The long dash is usually used in quotations. If you remember this basic rule, you will not have troubles with the use of long and short dashes. Instead, you will automatically start using the ones that are most suitable in this or that sentence.
- There is one more myth that makes most students write incorrect sentences. It is related to the use of “a” before words starting with consonants and “an” for those words that begin with vowels. In fact, the rule goes like this: “a” should be used before consonant sounds, while “an” should be used before vowel sounds. The difference between the myth and the truth can be illustrated by the following example: “I had an honor to meet him in person”. If you are in doubt what article to use, just say the sentence aloud.
- Besides, students often find the word “irregardless” doubtful. However, there is nothing wrong about such an expression as it has the same meaning as the word “regardless”. Even though technically it represents a word, it is not advisable to use it. Some people might frown upon this word, so it is better to exclude it from the content of your writing.
- One more myth is that it is not right to begin sentences with “or”, “but” or “and”. In reality it is not so. These words can be used at the beginning of the sentences in order to make certain conjunction in your narration. The choice of these words is nevertheless stylistic. If the initial conjunction sounds well, then there is nothing wrong about keeping it in place. However, if the sentence sounds better without any conjunction, then it is better to omit it, or change the structure of the sentences to make them more readable.
- A similar myth is that it is wrong to start the sentence from the word “however”. It is not true. It is perfectly normal to use the word “however” at the beginning of the sentence as long as there is a comma after this word and in case it serves the same function as the word “nevertheless”.
- Another myth that makes most students confused is the use of passive voice. Some people claim that passive voice should not be used in formal documents. However, it is not true. Passive voice can be used when you do not want to name a person responsible for this or that action. For example, “An error was made”. There is nothing wrong about such structure of a sentence, because in this case you simply omit the person responsible for making an error. Passive voice here would be the best option.
- Finally, some people claim that it is wrong to answer the question “How are you” by saying “I’m good”. In fact, this is also a myth. The linking verb “am” can be used with the adjective “good” without modifying the latter. However, “well” can also be used, but only if you want to tell someone about your health.
To conclude, there are many other grammar myths that most students are not aware of. That is why it is advisable to constantly improve your knowledge of English grammar in order to write correctly and without mistakes.
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