8 Grammatical Errors You Really Need to Stop Making

Wait, is that modifier dangling or misplaced?

Grammar is one of those things we’ve been taught a million times, but we still mess up every now and then--there are just so many rules. And since we’re probably going to keep mixing up "who" and "whom," we came up with this little cheat sheet of some of the most common mistakes--and how to avoid them.

Common Phrases You’re Probably Saying Wrong

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1. Unnecessary Commas
When a part of a sentence is essential to its meaning, it doesn’t need to be set apart by commas.
Wrong: The woman, who teaches my spin class, is blonde.
Right: The woman who teaches my spin class is blonde.

2. Possessive Apostrophes
Possessives show ownership. If a word is simply plural, it doesn’t need an apostrophe.
Wrong: We drove for four hours’ to get to the beach.
Right: We drove for four hours to get to the beach.

3. Misplaced Modifiers
A modifier should go next to the word it’s modifying. If it’s anywhere else in the sentence, it can confuse the meaning.
Wrong: I sipped an iced coffee wearing red lipstick.
Right: Wearing red lipstick, I sipped an iced coffee.

4. Dangling Modifiers
Unlike misplaced modifiers, dangling modifiers happen when the subject the modifier describes is not explicitly mentioned in the sentence.
Wrong: After reading the book a second time, it’s still confusing.
Right: After reading the book a second time, I still find the plot confusing.

5. Fewer Versus Less
Use fewer when you’re talking about countable objects and less when you’re talking about general or intangible concepts.
Wrong: I ate less chocolates today, which is a win in my book.
Right: I ate fewer chocolates today, which is a win in my book.

6. Split Infinitives
An infinitive is a verb preceded by "to." A split infinitive is when a word or multiple words come between the “to” and the verb.
Wrong: My boss asked to quickly meet about the presentation.
Right: My boss asked to meet quickly about the presentation.

7. Subject/Verb Disagreement
The subject of a sentence must agree with the verb in number and person. If the subject is plural, the verb must be plural as well, and vice versa.
Wrong: The group of students are learning to speak Italian.
Right: The group of students is learning to speak Italian.

8. Who Versus Whom
Who is a subjective pronoun while whom is an objective pronoun. You can substitute “who” with the subjective pronouns “he” or “she” and “whom” with the objective pronouns “him” or “her” to help decide which is the best choice for your sentence.
Wrong: Who should I vote for in the election?
Right: Whom should I vote for in the election?

RELATED: 17 Words You Might Be Spelling Wrong

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Sarah Stiefvater

Wellness Director

Sarah Stiefvater is PureWow's Wellness Director. She's been at PureWow for ten years, and in that time has written and edited stories across all categories, but currently focuses...
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