I wrote a post recently that resonated with many people: Top Eight Grammar Mistakes . It went over very well and in the comments, several of you left suggestions for other common grammar errors. So I decided it would be helpful to do a Part II, a follow-up post of sorts.
It’s important to master proper grammar because your writing is often the first thing people see about you.
In no particular order, here’s a(nother) list of commonly made grammatical mistakes:
1.) Pique, peak, peek
Three totally unrelated words. Pique is a verb, peak is a noun, and peek can be a noun or a verb, meaning a quick glance (noun), or to look at something furtively (verb).
Examples: Her blog post about social media mavens piqued my interest.
He hiked all the way up to the peak of the mountain.
If I’m worried about burning dinner, I just peek into the oven.
2.) Lay vs. lie
Lay means to put or place in a horizontal position, to set something down (or to lay eggs!). Lie is a noun and a verb. As a noun it means a false statement or an untruth. As a verb it means to either tell someone something untrue or the act of resting or being in a horizontal position.
Examples: I asked her to lay her book down before taking the test.
When his son came home late, he lied about where he’d been.
Whenever I have a bad headache, my mom tells me to lie down for awhile.
3.) Principal vs. principle
Principal can be a noun or an adjective; as a noun, it’s the head or director of something, i.e. the school principal. As an adjective, it describes something that is first or highest in rank. Principles, on the other hand, are guidelines or rules.
Here’s an example to help you remember: The high school principal is your PAL. Get it?
The principles behind calculus have always eluded me.
4.) Then vs. than
Then is a noun (time), an adjective (being such at that time), & an adverb (at that time, next, or soon). Than is a conjunction used when referring to a comparison or a preference of some sort.
Examples: They did their homework, then they went outside to play.
The then president was impeached.
I’d rather jump off a cliff than eat bell peppers. He’s smarter than I.
5.) Faze & phase
Faze means to worry, bother, or disturb. Phase refers to a stage in a process of development; OR the phases of the moon.
Examples: She was so used to being bullied that the mean words didn’t even faze her.
My toddler throws tantrums all day long; they say it’s a phase, and I can’t wait until it’s over!
6.) Piece vs. peace
Piece is a part of something, or a slice of pie. Peace is the absence of any strife, war or disagreement.
Examples: Do you have a piece of gum?
As the mother of three, I often wish for peace and quiet.
7.) Your & you’re
Your is possessive and you’re is a contraction, short for you are.
Examples: Is that your glass of wine or mine?
You’re going to drive me crazy if you don’t stop that.
So what am I leaving out this time? Be sure to leave me some examples in the comments! And thanks again for your suggestions for this post!