Hot News!

10 Common Grammar Mistakes and How to Avoid Them


10 Common Grammar Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

10 Common Grammar Mistakes and How to Avoid Them


Mastering grammar is essential for effective communication, yet even the best writers can fall into common grammatical traps. These errors can obscure your message and diminish your credibility. Whether you're a student, professional, or aspiring writer, avoiding these pitfalls is crucial.

In this comprehensive guide, we will uncover the 10 most common grammar mistakes and provide clear strategies to avoid them. From misusing "its" and "it's" to mixing up "lay" and "lie," this article will help you write with confidence and clarity. Our primary audience includes students and professionals aiming to polish their writing skills, while secondary readers are anyone interested in improving their grammar.

1. Mixing up “its” and “it’s”

It's one of the most common mix-ups in writing. "It's" is a contraction for "it is" or "it has." "Its" is the possessive form. Remember, you wouldn't write "hi's" or "her's" so don't write "it's" when you mean "its."
  • Understanding the difference between "its" and "it's" is crucial for clear writing.
  • The cat licked its paw as it settled down for a nap.
  • Correct usage of "it's" and "its" ensures that your writing is polished and professional.
  • The company takes pride in its commitment to sustainability.
  • It's clear that the team worked hard on the project.

2. Distinguishing Between "Their," "There," and "They're"

This is one of the most common grammar mistakes. "Their" is a possessive pronoun that indicates ownership, "there" is an adverb that indicates location, and "they're" is a contraction of the words "they are."
  • There will be a meeting in their conference room at 3pm.
  • They're going to their house after work.
  • The team members picked up their belongings and headed there.
  • Their communication skills are top-notch.
  • They're determined to succeed in their careers.

3. Using “me” instead of “I”

Sometimes writers will say “John and me went to school”, using “me” as the subject. But “me” should only be used as the object, while “I” is the correct subject pronoun: “John and I went to school.”
  • My friend and I went to the movies.
  • Give the ball to my friend and me.
  • The teacher praised my friend and me for our hard work.
  • My sister and I have always been close.
  • The invitation is for my friend and me, not for me and my friend.

4. Saying “could of” instead of “could have”

“Could of” is incorrect; the right phrase is “could have” because it comes from “could have done that.” “Could of” is a mispronunciation that has snuck into informal writing.
  • I could have gone to the party last night.
  • She could have studied more for the test.
  • I could have finished the project on time if I had worked harder.
  • She could have asked for help if she had been struggling.
  • We could have avoided the misunderstanding if we had communicated more clearly.

5. Mixing up “lay” and “lie”

The verb “lay” requires a direct object, such as “lay the book down." To recline, you would “lie down” or “lie on the sofa” with no direct object. Remember “lay” takes an object, “lie” does not.
  • Lie down on the bed and rest.
  • I'll place the book on the table.
  • The dog lay in the sun all afternoon.
  • I'm going to lie down for a nap.
  • She laid the blanket on the grass.

6. Using apostrophes improperly

Apostrophes have two uses: to show possession ("Sally's book") and to indicate omitted letters in a contraction ("won't" for "will not"). But plurals don't take apostrophes (unless they also show possession). Common mix-ups include "potato's" and "CD's."
  • The teacher gave out the tests to each student.
  • The company has had a successful year.
  • The car's engine made a strange noise.
  • The students' backpacks were strewn across the floor.
  • The company's mission is to provide high-quality products.

7. Letting sentences run on

Some writers compose long, elaborate sentences that contain many loosely connected parts. But readers can get lost in extremely long sentences. Exercise precision and break up lengthy, convoluted sentences.
  • The dog ran through the park, chased after the ball, leaped over the fence, caught the ball, and brought it back to me.
  • The chef prepared a delicious meal, which included a five-course dinner: soup, salad, entree, and dessert. It was all presented beautifully and tasted amazing.
  • The company's revenue has increased steadily over the past five years, thanks to strong leadership and a dedicated team.
  • The hiker climbed the mountain, reached the summit, and took in the breathtaking view.
  • The musician practiced for hours, perfected her technique, and wowed the audience with her performance.

8. Ending a sentence with a preposition

It's fine to end sentences with prepositions in modern English, though some outdated grammar rules frown on the practice. Worry more about clarity and impact than preventing sentence-ending prepositions.

9. Shifting verb tenses unintentionally

Verb tense should remain consistent within paragraphs. If you write about events that happened in the past, stick with the past tense. Shifting randomly to the present tense can disorient readers.
  • I walked to the store, bought milk and eggs, and saw the fresh bread, so I decided to buy it too.
  • She wrote a letter to her friend, explaining what had happened, and told her that she would visit her soon.
  • The company had a successful quarter, thanks to the hard work of the team. They are now planning for the next quarter.
  • The hiker had been training for months and finally reached the summit of the mountain. She felt a sense of accomplishment.
  • The student studied for hours, took the test, and passed with flying colors.

10. Splitting infinitives unnecessarily

Classic grammar says you shouldn't split infinitives (inserting words between "to" and a verb), as in "to boldly go." But avoiding awkward phrasing is more important than rigidly obeying this rule.
  • She decided to run to the store quickly.
  • He wanted to accurately measure the ingredients.
  • The teacher asked the students to carefully read the passage.
  • The company aims to always provide high-quality products.
  • The musician strived to perfectly play the difficult piece.


With awareness and practice, you can eliminate these common grammar mistakes that sneak into careless writing. Use this guide to help banish fuzzy grammar and compose clear, powerful communications. Proper grammar greases the skids for your message and enhances your credibility. Start mastering these rules today and watch your writing improve.

FAQs Related to Common Grammar Mistakes and How to Avoid Them:

What's the difference between "its" and "it's"?
"Its" is the possessive form of "it" while "it's" is a contraction for "it is" or "it has." A trick is to remember you wouldn't write "hi's" or "her's."

When do you use "they're" vs "their" vs "there"?
Use "they're" when you mean "they are," "their" to show possession, and "there" to refer to a place. Saying the sentence aloud can help choose the right word.

Why is it incorrect to say "me and John went to school"?
"Me" should only be used as an object pronoun, while "I" is the correct subject pronoun. So it should be "John and I went to school."

What's the problem with writing "could of"?
"Could of" is incorrect in formal writing; the right phrase is "could have" because it comes from "could have done that."

How do you know when to use "lay" vs "lie"?
"Lay" requires a direct object, like "lay the book down." "Lie" means to recline, so you would write "lie down" or "lie on the sofa" with no object.

When should you avoid using apostrophes?
Apostrophes have two uses: possession and omitted letters in contractions. But plurals don't take apostrophes unless they also show possession.

What are some strategies to avoid run-on sentences?
Break up lengthy, convoluted sentences. Exercise precision in your writing. Use punctuation, conjunctions, and new sentences to connect loosely related clauses.

Is it okay to end a sentence with a preposition?
Yes, ending sentences with prepositions is fine in modern English. Worry more about clarity than rigidly following outdated grammar prohibitions.


  1. Mixing up “its” and “it’s”
  2. This is one of the most ubiquitous grammar errors. "Its" is possessive, while "it's" is a contraction for "it is" (Dimond, 2021).
  3. Dimond, M. (2021, January 11). It’s time to get this grammar right! Grammar rules for its and it’s. Grammarly. Link
  4. Confusing “they’re”, “their” and “there”
  5. These three homophones sound alike but have distinct meanings that writers often jumble up (Paxton, 2020).
  6. Paxton, A. (2020, August 14). There vs. their vs. they’re: How to choose the right word. Grammarly. Link
  7. Using “me” instead of “I”
  8. The pronoun "me" should only be used as an object, not a sentence subject, a mistake often seen in informal writing (Nordquist, 2020).
  9. Nordquist, R. (2020, August 28). 'Me' versus 'I'. ThoughtCo. Link
  10. Mixing up “lay” and “lie”
  11. The distinction between "lay" (to set down) and "lie" (recline) is commonly confused in writing (Nordquist, 2020b).
  12. Nordquist, R. (2020b, July 24). 'Lie' vs. 'lay'. ThoughtCo. Link
    Mr. ‏El-Sayed Ramadan ‎ ‎


    No comments
    Post a Comment