Grammar – There’s a Mistake for That…OR It’s a Moo Point…..

04 Dec

I have a friend who likes to point out my grammar mistakes. She will take a look at the galley copy of a manuscript and point out each and every grammar mistake she sees…even the ones that the typesetter makes, (And that happens by the way, which is why it is so important to actually read those galley copies) and then hound me about making the mistake “ever again”. My friend is not a writer and she spells grammar – grammer….which in and of itself is annoying. Here’s the thing though I do actually pay attention to what she says. (shhhhh…don’t tell her that though….)

Grammar mistakes can make a writer look stupid especially if they are simple mistakes. Let me add though…it happens to everyone, just like spelling mistakes. Science has proven that most people’s brains see the first and last letters of a word and their mind automatically fills in the middle. This is why those Facebook posts where they say you are a genius if you can read a note that is written with the letters jumbled…don’t feel special…most of us can do it too. Grammar mistakes are different than spelling mistakes though because there is no out for that one. If you constantly make grammar mistakes, you just aren’t paying attention.

Here are a few of the popular grammar mistakes we all make….(yes I said “we all”)

Who and Whom  - Who hasn’t had this argument around the dinner table.  “Who” is a subjective — or nominative — pronoun but for some folks this word is interchangeable with “whom”. “Whom” is an objective pronoun and is used when the pronoun acts as the object. Which one you use depends entirely on the sentence.  Which brings me to….

Which and That -This is a common one. “That” is a restrictive pronoun and “Which” introduces a relative clause. Writers often screw these up but if you are editing like a good little verbiage monster, you will catch it on the go-round.

Lay and Lie  - I screw this one frequently. “Lay” is a transitive verb and requires a direct subject while “Lie” is an intransitive verb. (no object needed)  The most common way writers goof this one up is when he/she uses the past tense of the transitive “lay” but meant to use the intransitive past tense of “lie”.

Moot  - So very many people misuse this word. I don’t use it anymore since a “Friends” episode where Joey says that something is a “moo” point…it’s like a cow’s opinion…it doesn’t matter…I love that and began using that instead of moot from then on.

These are just a few of the common grammar mistakes that writers make; there are tons of others. The best advice I can give you on these is to make sure that you edit. Personally, my brain makes these mistakes often because I am writing not editing…and my brain…well….it trips on itself all the time. So makes sure that you do your editing in order to catch these and other grammar mistakes. If you don’t some well-meaning friend will piss you off by pointing them out when the book is released and by then it will be a moo point…like a cow’s opinion…it won’t matter.


© The Writer’s Advice, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.


Posted by on December 4, 2022 in Edting, grammar


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2 Responses to Grammar – There’s a Mistake for That…OR It’s a Moo Point…..

  1. Pingback: 13. Rules of Grammar: Verb Types: Transitive & Intransitive | Passion For Writing

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