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Elementary Ways to Check Your Grammar

Shauna believes that knowledge should be shared, especially with those who can gain from it without learning the hard way.

These books don't make it on shelves without the proper use of grammar.

These books don't make it on shelves without the proper use of grammar.

We’ve all met them – those annoying people who correct our grammar. I know, because I’m one of them. It may not be the polite thing to do, but sometimes I just can’t help myself. Ask my son, he’ll tell you. I jump on him like a rabid animal when he utters the word “ain’t”. I absolutely hate that word! Can someone please tell me what two words “ain’t” is a contraction for???

But this article isn’t about words that don’t exist. My intent is to give you some simple ways to avoid the most common grammar mistakes, whether you’re penning your words or speaking them. These elementary tips can save you from frequently consulting Grammarly or looking up your fifth grade English teacher.

Let’s begin with the most commonly misused or misplaced words in the English language:

Whether you're penning or speaking, grammar is an essential ingredient.

Whether you're penning or speaking, grammar is an essential ingredient.

Pronouns

You know what they are: words that replace proper names; basically I, me, you, he, she, him, her, us, we, and them. These simple words are commonly misused when paired. Let me give you a couple of examples.

Him and I are planning a romantic getaway.

Me and him are going away for the weekend.

Do either of these sentences sound correct to you? Frankly, just writing them grates on my nerves, yet many people actually speak this way and, even worse, write this way!

The proper way each of these sentences should be written or spoken are as follows:

He and I are planning a romantic getaway.

He and I are going away for the weekend.

An easy way to check whether or not you’re choosing the correct pronoun(s) is to eliminate one and re-word the sentence. For instance, eliminate the word “I” in the first sentence and tweak the verb a bit. You’re left with: Him is planning a romantic getaway. See what I mean? It makes no sense and is quite obviously incorrect.

Same with the second sentence. Eliminate either “me” or “him”, tweak the verb, and it’ll be painfully obvious that both pronouns are incorrect.

The same test can be applied to pronouns that appear in the middle or at the end of a sentence. Check this out:

Abuse of any kind greatly affects we humans.

Now, remove the word “humans”. Does the sentence read correctly? No, it doesn’t. Replace “we” with “us” and you’ve got a properly constructed sentence.

Let’s try another one.

When abuse of any kind is witnessed, us humans tend to be affected emotionally.

This time take out the word “humans” and you’re left with: When abuse of any kind is witnessed, us tend to be affected emotionally. As you see, the correct pronoun in this sentence structure is “we”.

Pretty simple way to check the proper use of pronouns, don’t you think?

Let’s see what you’ve learned. Take this little quiz and see how you do.

Farther Versus Further

These words are very similar in spelling and meaning, but are misused quite often. Farther relates to distance, whereas further relates to emphasis, gain, or is used as a sentence modifier.

Let’s take a look at the definition of each, according to Merriam Webster.

“Farther (adverb): to or at or to a more distant place or time or a more advanced point.”

“Further (adverb): to a greater degree or extent. In addition to what has been said.”

The two words are so closely related that it’s become acceptable to interchange them, however, “ain’t” is also now in the dictionary. When I was young, “ain’t ain’t in the dictionary” was something I’d often say, but rules sometimes give in to colloquialisms and subtle, yet frequent abuse and, as a result, become bent.

Ask yourself this question when contemplating using “farther” or “further” in a sentence:

Is the subject moving from one place to another in measured or implied distance or is a point being made? In more cases than not, farther is the correct choice in going from point A to point B (physical or proverbial location).

Let’s take another quiz, shall we?

I wouldn't have had my copy published in this local magazine had my compound-complex sentences been awkward.

I wouldn't have had my copy published in this local magazine had my compound-complex sentences been awkward.

Compound-Complex Sentences

Compound-complex sentences, when structured awkwardly, can leave your reader perplexed and prompt them to read the sentence several times in order to get (comprehend) the meaning. Same with when you’re having a conversation. You don’t want the person to whom you’re speaking to ask you what you mean or misconstrue what you’re trying to say.

Compound-complex sentences are composed by joining two or more independent clauses (thoughts or actions) with a conjunction (and, as, but, however). Rather than have two or three staccato sentences that interrupt the readers’ (or speaker’s) flow, related thoughts are joined together for a more cohesive picture. That is, if constructed in a way that makes sense.

To further illustrate my point, try this sentence on for size:

Mary and Jim trudged their way forward as the rain began to fall and they couldn’t see two feet in front of the windshield on their way to the cinema.

Pretty awkward, huh? To me, this sentence is backwards. Cinema is not the object of the rain, nor is it the result of Mary and Jim’s obstructed vision. A more cohesive way to paint this picture is definitely in order. Consider this instead:

Although the rain had begun to fall and they couldn’t see two feet in front of the windshield, Mary and Jim trudged their way to the cinema.

That makes more sense, doesn’t it? And it’s not an awkward read. You know exactly what’s going on. It’s raining. Mary and Jim can’t see beyond the windshield. They’re on their way to the cinema. Using a compound-complex sentence in the proper context paints a fluid picture of the setting.

I’ll spare you a quiz on this topic. However, it would behoove you when you’re writing a story to read and re-read your long sentences to make sure they flow properly and don’t disrupt the reader’s experience.

Conclusion

These are just a few of the everyday mistakes we make as writers and conversationalists. Lord knows, there are many more, but the ones I mention in this article are those that irk me the most.

Oh, there’s one more: the use of “that”. Most times it can be eliminated entirely and still make for a properly structured sentence. I learned this from a previous employer. He absolutely hated the word “that” and would strike it from all outgoing correspondence. It’s a lesson I’ve never forgotten. Try it for yourself. You’ll see it’s a completely (most times) unnecessary word. Note: many of you would have written the preceding sentence as such: You’ll see that it’s a completely (most times) unnecessary word. Yet, by eliminating “that” the sentence reads smoothly and you get my point.

Anyway, I’ve meandered a bit (but not really). Save yourself some time – and embarrassment – by following these few simple tips. Granted, proper grammar isn’t always necessary, especially in colorful character dialogue, but if you want to be taken seriously as a writer or as someone who has some semblance of intelligence, it sure comes in handy!

I hope you found these tips helpful and will put them to good use. Until next time…

Peace,

Bravewarrior

And Now For a Little Fun...

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2016 Shauna L Bowling

Comments

Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on October 22, 2020:

I'm so glad this article proved to be helpful for you, Brenda. One of my favorite subjects in school was English. Yeah, I'm one of those annoying people who correct others' grammar. Unless, of course I've just met you, then I bite my tongue, but scream the correction in my head!

BRENDA ARLEDGE from Washington Court House on October 22, 2020:

Shauna,

This is a very helpful article.

The way you explain this makes alot of sense.

Your last question on the first quiz is a little tricky...staring me right in the face but I guess I read it wrong.

Congratulations on this one! Superb writing.

Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on July 26, 2019:

Angela, the English language has so many exceptions to the rules, that it's tough to know them all and keep up. However, as I point out in this article, ask yourself some questions when determining which parts of speech, nouns, pronouns, etc. to employ.

I hear so many grammatical errors in TV commercial copy that it makes me wonder how some copywriters stay in business.

Keep at it, Angela. As they say, "practice makes perfect"!

Angela Martinez from Cavite, Philippines on July 25, 2019:

Hello Bravewarrior! Thanks for sharing this very helpful tips. While we do studied and learn english from elementary to college, not all graduates, managers or even high profiled people uses correct english grammar all the time. It takes quite an inborn skill and experienced English writer to master grammatically correct sentences when speaking or writing their thoughts. I hope to develop mine too through more practice. Have a lovely weekend!

Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on April 02, 2018:

Margie, English is the most difficult language because we have so many rules, and exceptions to those rules. It's no wonder so many Americans have trouble with grammar and spelling!

I hope these tips help you. Oftentimes, by asking a question and answering yourself, or cutting off part of a sentence, or even rearranging it can lead you to the proper way to say something.

Thanks for the great comment!

Margie's Southern Kitchen from the USA on April 02, 2018:

Shaunna, grammar is always getting me into trouble. Thanks for all the tips, your hub was great. Hubpages has taught me so much!

Tamara Moore on June 16, 2017:

oops!

Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on June 16, 2017:

Tamara, I'll check it out. Just a heads up: HP frowns upon Hubbers including links to their work in the comments section.

Tamara Moore on June 15, 2017:

Yes, I look forward to checking out more of your writings. I do not want you to get the idea that my writings are about dark matters only, but that I have an array of various subjects, including: Love, God, My Cat, Our English Bulldog, Candy, Falling Stars, my Romance with Spock, my Rhyming Addiction that keeps me awake all night, and many others!

Here is my Rhyming Poem about when I was an Oompa Loompa:

https://hubpages.com/creative-writing/My-Career-as...

Tamara

Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on June 15, 2017:

It always tickles me when my serious articles offer bits of useful advice or tips, Tamara. Glad I could be of service!

I'm not all how-to in my writing, Tamara. I hope you check out some of my fiction and other ramblings.

Tamara Moore on June 15, 2017:

I am so appreciative of your article, here! It have given me some excellent tips that I have been curious about. I will use this newfound knowledge in my own writings. Thank you!

Hugs,

Tamara

Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on March 21, 2017:

Will, I'm not sure where I learned it. Probably Catholic school in like 6th grade or so. When you think about it, it's common sense, which is why you came up with it on your own, I'm sure!

WillStarr from Phoenix, Arizona on March 20, 2017:

To tell you the truth, I came up with it on my own. This is the first time I've hear someone else say the same thing, so I wasn't aware that it's common knowledge. :)

Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on March 20, 2017:

Will, it's so refreshing to hear you know that simple grammar check. You'd be amazed at how many adults aren't aware of it, so it's no surprise today's kids aren't. However, teachers should know better and care enough to make grammar easy for their students.

WillStarr from Phoenix, Arizona on March 20, 2017:

I have taught that simple method of removing first one and then the other pronoun to check grammar for decades. Unfortunately, I hear schoolteachers making the same mistakes, so how are children to learn?

simplehappylife on January 09, 2017:

Lol...I hear you. ..and i dont disagree at all :)

Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on January 09, 2017:

Simplehappylife, the thing is, when I was a little girl "ain't" wasn't in the dictionary. We had a saying: ain't ain't in the dictionary. Now it's been added because it's so widely used. In my book, it's still poor English.

simplehappylife on January 08, 2017:

Great hub Bravewarrior :) Very Helpful and Informative!

Rtalloni is right though. According to merriam-webster.com:

Definition of ain't

1

: am not : are not : is not

2

: have not : has not

But we won't tell your son ;)

Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on November 15, 2016:

Aw, thanks Shyron. I'm glad you find this hub helpful.

Shyron E Shenko from Texas on November 14, 2016:

Shauna, this is one of my all time favorites. I keep this one bookmarked to re-read when I feel like I need it.

Thank you for the lessons

Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on September 14, 2016:

Any time, Linda!

Linda Bilyeu from Orlando, FL on September 14, 2016:

Thank you for the refresher course! :)

Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on June 20, 2016:

I hear you, Sheila. "Ain't" drives me bonkers! Double negatives, too.

Ain't they got no sense??? Ha ha.

Thanks for the visit. It's always a pleasure to see you in my corner.

Sheila Brown from Southern Oklahoma on June 20, 2016:

I am amazed at the way I hear people speaking these days! Sometimes I wonder if children are still being taught English in school.

"Ain't" drives me crazy! I am always getting onto my oldest grandson for saying it! Great hub! :)

Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on May 11, 2016:

Shyron, I'm so glad you've found this helpful enough to be considered a resource. That pleases me to no end!

Shyron E Shenko from Texas on May 11, 2016:

Shauna, your message to Martie is the same way I feel.

Marti, I admire your mastery of the English language, I know it is not easy, because our language is a living language and what a word means today may not be the same tomorrow, but being a logophile I love my language and make a lot of grammatical errors. I also love idioms.

Blessings to you both.

Shyron E Shenko from Texas on May 11, 2016:

Shauna, I am back for a refresher course in your English class. I love this hub and have it listed in my favorites, to have it just a click away.

Blessings and hugs to you dear friend.

Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on April 28, 2016:

Peach, English is one of the most difficult languages to master because we have so many exceptions to the rules. Our nouns aren't gender specific as in many of the romance languages. Even native-born Americans have a hard time with English. I was an oddball in school I guess. English and Math were my favorite subjects.

peachy from Home Sweet Home on April 27, 2016:

i guessed that I had left my grammar at my old school. lots of words that I needed to learn

Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on April 07, 2016:

Martie, you do a fabulous job of writing in English. Don't underestimate yourself, my friend. If I didn't personally know English is your second language, I wouldn't have a clue.

I know I need to write something soon. It's been four months now since I've even attempted to write anything. One of these days....

Martie Coetser from South Africa on April 07, 2016:

Dear Shauna, this is a hub I have to read from time to time. Having English as a second language is not really recommendable when one wants to make a success in the world of writers. I also miss out on your general way of speaking, of using idioms - that manner of speaking that is natural to native speakers of a language :) Why not write a hub about modern idioms. Exactly how confused can one be, or how clever, lost, ugly? I feel lost in an English community, not able to express myself the way I do in my home language.

Lots of hugs to you, my dear friend!

Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on March 25, 2016:

You've put a smile on my face, Shyron. I don't know if I'll write any more grammar hubs. You're not the first one to suggest I do. This one came about because of my pet peeves when reading what is supposed to be literature. I was actually reading a novel when I was inspired to lay down these basic ways of checking what we put on paper or orate.

I guess you'll just have to wait until something else irks me to the point of having to (politely) shout. (insert smiley emoticon here).

Shyron E Shenko from Texas on March 25, 2016:

Dear Shauna, I love this hub, and I want and need more, because I am a logophile.

I am a logophile which really makes no sense

Words like since/sense keeps me on the fence

Hence, I will do my best correcting this or "that"

You may critique my words, my structure and my lines

But I will still be happy as long as everything all rhymes (lol)

*

*

Blessings my beautiful friend

Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on February 16, 2016:

Nadine, I've never thought your articles as grammatically incorrect. You are from a different part of the world than I am. If anything, you use words and phrases that are unfamiliar to me, simply because we've grown up on different sides of the planet. However, I know a large part of your audience is American, so I'm glad you gained something from this.

Keep on doing what you do. You're fine. You make us think with the subjects that have taken you years to study.

Nadine May from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa on February 16, 2016:

This was a very educational article for me. English is my second language and being a dyslectic does not help, but constant practice does make a difference. I'm inclined to write how I speak. That seems to work for me, but if its always grammatically correct? I hope the content of my writing wins over the errors I might be guilty of.

Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on February 05, 2016:

Yeppir, Nell. She done got it right! :-)

Nell Rose from England on February 05, 2016:

Hi Shauna, we all need a push in the right direction. my mother always used to say, 'lazy speech leads to lazy writing' and yep, er yes she was right! lol!

Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on January 29, 2016:

Thank you, Flourish. The magazine gig is something I do for my interior designer client. I've actually written more than one piece for him. The photo I show above is because it's the only issue I have a physical copy of.When he buys ad space, he hires me to write the copy. Much easier than pitching magazine editors!

FlourishAnyway from USA on January 28, 2016:

For some reason, my first attempt at a comment didn't take, but congratulations on that magazine article publication! Good tips here! Hope you are doing well.

Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on January 17, 2016:

Thank you, Larry!

Larry Rankin from Oklahoma on January 17, 2016:

Wonderful tips!

Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on January 12, 2016:

Brian, I understand what "ain't" epitomizes, but the contraction just doesn't work for me. For example, "isn't" means is not; "aren't" is are not; "hasn't" and "haven't" are has not and have not, respectively.

"Amn't" would make more sense for am not, don't you agree?

Thanks for coming by. I suspect you landed here out of curiosity after reading Bill's 81st mailbag. Very cool!

Brian Leekley from Bainbridge Island, Washington, USA on January 12, 2016:

The Wikipedia article on 'ain't' explains its etymology as a contraction of 'am not', of 'are not', of 'is not', of 'are not', of 'has not', and of 'have not'.

Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on January 11, 2016:

Thank you DDE. Glad you enjoyed this!

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on January 11, 2016:

Awesome hub! You made a good point of this hub.

Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on January 10, 2016:

That's nice to hear, Deb. Thank you!

Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on January 10, 2016:

You're welcome, Martie. Thanks for stopping by!

Deb Hirt from Stillwater, OK on January 10, 2016:

Excellent suggestions and will help everyone, including our second language writers.

Martie Coetser from South Africa on January 09, 2016:

A well-needed lesson, thank you, Sha!

Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on January 09, 2016:

Thanks for your comment, Genna. Self-editing is a good idea before turning written work over to an editor or hitting the publish button. I hope these tips, especially the pronoun tips, help with everyday conversation, as well as writing projects.

Genna East from Massachusetts, USA on January 08, 2016:

Thanks for these helpful tips. I think many of us need a grammar/copy editor at times; it is often easy to forget or overlook some of the basics.

Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on January 08, 2016:

Glad you like this, Al. Thanks for stopping by!

Al Wordlaw from Chicago on January 08, 2016:

Great ideas here Shauna about word usage. Sounds like an expert. I like!

Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on January 08, 2016:

Mar, I don't consider myself a teacher, although I did teach a new student from Venezuela how to read, write, and speak English when I was in Catholic school. I think that's where I probably learned these elementary tips.

Maria Jordan from Jeffersonville PA on January 08, 2016:

Dear Sha,

I've learned to grimace and giggle simultaneously when reviewing student papers - as I did in reading this hub.

You have teaching in your blood. I know first hand about your excellence in editing...and am forever grateful for the grammar guide you gifted me.

Have a peaceful weekend. Love, mar

Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on January 08, 2016:

Sherry, I've got a bad habit of correcting people's grammar, but it depends on who they are. I certainly don't want to offend anyone intentionally.

Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on January 08, 2016:

You're welcome, Dora. For some these are simply reminders, for others they are "why didn't my teachers ever make it so simple?"

Sherry Hewins from Sierra Foothills, CA on January 07, 2016:

Great advice! Thanks for putting it here for people to find. I am sure that this is a more effective way to advocate proper grammar than correcting friends.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on January 07, 2016:

A very useful review lesson. Sometimes we are not even aware that we need the reminders. Thank you.

Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on January 07, 2016:

Audrey, "I seen" absolutely drives me bonkers! As Ghost pointed out in his comment, "the" is as overused almost as much as "that".

I appreciate you thinking I'm a marvelous teacher. I'll have to think about posting more hubs on this topic. We'll see....

Audrey Hunt from Idyllwild Ca. on January 07, 2016:

Hi Sha,

I agree with Carb Diva. I'd love to read more articles like this. The comments are an added bonus.

Thanks for the information on the use and non-use of the word 'that.' Been guilty of over-using this word. Shame on me. I'll be busy with some needed editing on my hubs.

"I seen " instead of "I saw" puts me over-the-edge. Urgggggh. I can only imagine what this does to your nerves:)

You are a class act - a marvelous teacher! More Please!

Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on January 07, 2016:

Peg, thanks for the heads up on the first quiz. I'll look into it.

Tom and I's book? Ewwww! How 'bout "my and Tom's book". Or when in doubt, "our book"?

Yeah, Word can use some updating. "That am" doesn't even make sense!

Thanks for your input. Love it!

Peg Cole from Northeast of Dallas, Texas on January 07, 2016:

Hello Shauna,

Thanks for reminding us of the correct way to use the language. I can relate when it comes to usage that grates on the nerves. One phrase in particular that makes me cringe is the use of "That is Tom and I's book." That is considered okay in some grammar checkers. Yikes. Also, Word underlined one of my sentences that read, "That's for sure" indicating that it should be "That am". Can you believe that?

BTW, on the first poll, the third question truncated so it was a guess as to the answer. I got it right anyway!

Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on January 07, 2016:

Mike, same with Word spell check. I don't always agree or they miss an incorrect word simply because it's spelled correctly.

mckbirdbks from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on January 06, 2016:

Hello Sha. I have taken the easy way out and use Grammarly. And here is your laugh for the day. I do not always agree with the Grammarly correction, and leave my word choices.

There I told you it would be the laugh of the day. The language is changing Q.E.D. adds new words yearly.

Good to see you publish.

Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on January 06, 2016:

Whonu, you always bring a smile to my face when you comment on my hubs. Thank you, my poetic friend!

whonunuwho from United States on January 06, 2016:

Nicely done my friend and these were helpful. whonu

Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on January 06, 2016:

Thank you, Carb Diva. I don't know about making it a weekly thing, though. The tips I provide here did not have to be researched. They're easy, common sense tips that I use all the time. I'm hoping the next hub I post is more creative than informational, but that's the way I roll. My topics are all over the place. I just can't stick to one niche.

Thank you so much for your comment. Yours alone makes it worth while.

Linda Lum from Washington State, USA on January 06, 2016:

Oh thank you, thank you for writing this. You have just barely scratched the surface. You could turn this into a weekly hub and go on for months on end. Most of us "should" know these rules, but we (I) tend to get a bit lazy now and then. We can all benefit from reminders. Great hub.

Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on January 06, 2016:

I'm glad you enjoyed this piece, Bill. Thank you for your sweet comment.

William Leverne Smith from Hollister, MO on January 06, 2016:

Great examples, reminders. Thanks for sharing in your pleasant and helpful way, Sha! ;-)

Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on January 06, 2016:

Yes, drbj, I agree with thee! Thanks for the chuckle. Perfect timing! :-)

drbj and sherry from south Florida on January 06, 2016:

Bad grammar generally stops me in my tracks when reading otherwise well-written prose. I often think that a sense of good grammar may be innate - like that possessed by thee and me. Would you agree?

Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on January 06, 2016:

Vicki, it does seem words find their way into the dictionary simply through the majority rules concept. It's like giving up a fight because there's no possibility of winning. I guess it is what it is. However, grammar is still important, at least to me.

Thanx for stopping by. I really appreciate you taking the time.

Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on January 06, 2016:

Interesting, Ann. You've piqued my curiosity.

Vickiw on January 06, 2016:

This is a really good article. For some it will be a reminder, for others a very helpful guide!

I used to be a stickler for grammar, but I have softened over the years, realising language is an evolutionary thing, just like so many other matters in life, for instance manners, or lack thereof! And now, it seems any word in common use will find its way into the dictionary!

Great post!

Ann Carr from SW England on January 06, 2016:

BTW I think 'ain't' comes in some strange way from a badly pronounced 'isn't' - there's a Cockney origin here too.

Ann

Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on January 06, 2016:

Sorry to hear about your Internet connection, John. Technology is not always our friend. When I post, I proof my Word doc several times before copy/pasting into HP. Then I proof two more times before hitting the publish button. As we all know, though, we can proof until our eye balls want to fall out and still miss errors. I'd like to think my readers would have the courtesy to email me if/when they find errors in my copy.

Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on January 06, 2016:

Ann, I had no idea you're a literacy teacher. Thank you for validating my points and congrats on scoring 100%! I appreciate you stopping by and sharing this post. I hope it provides valuable, but easy to remember tips for all who read this.

Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on January 06, 2016:

Chitrangada, I'm glad this post was helpful for you. I agree that not all grammar rules are followed, but poorly constructed sentences or incorrect pronoun usage sticks out like a sore thumb when I run across them while reading. Of course, quite often we'll see poor grammar when a character is speaking, but that's who they are, so it's okay.

Thanks for taking the time to read and comment!

Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on January 06, 2016:

Ghost, you're funny. I don't mind if you use "ain't" on my page (which you did). Your explanation of it's origin makes perfect sense. I guess now I don't need to Google it.

You're pretty sharp on the "trudging" catch. Originally, they were trudging on foot, but I changed it at the last minute. So there's more wrong with that sentence than awkward structure, obviously.

You're right about "the". It, too, is a word that can oftentimes be eliminated.

Thanx for stopping by. I'm enjoying "Tam the Tall Tale Teller". It's raining today. Good weather to curl up with a good book!

Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on January 06, 2016:

Hey, Ruby! I'll admit, I use "ain't" from time to time, strictly in fun. It definitely isn't a part of my everyday vocabulary. I remember how shocked I was when "ain't" was added to the dictionary. It blew my "ain't ain't in the dictionary" all to hell!

Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on January 06, 2016:

Hey, Paula! You're too kind to this ole' gal. Thank you for supporting my work. I know I don't post as much as I used to anymore, but I've relieved myself of deadlines and writing goals. I've decided to just let it flow as it may. It feels much better that way. Besides, we're in touch quite often via email; that's so much more personal and rewarding!

Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on January 06, 2016:

Thank you for your comment, Manatita. Poetry is a genre that can get away from using proper grammar, but correct spelling should still come into play.

I'm glad to know you make up words from time to time. As I mentioned before, sometimes I see words in your poetry that are completely new to me.

Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on January 06, 2016:

RTalloni, I appreciate you clearing up what "ain't" stands for, although it still doesn't make sense. I mostly hear it used instead of "isn't", which is the contraction for is not. I wonder who came up with that word in the first place? I just might have to Google that.

As far as the word "that" goes, it certainly does have it's place but more times than not, the sentence reads perfectly fine without it.

Thanks for your comment. Much appreciated!

John Hansen from Queensland Australia on January 06, 2016:

Good to read a new hub by you Shauna, and this offers some very helpful reminders (which I often need). My problem is not always checking what I type before I hit "post".. my fingers and keys don't always agree :)

I couldn't do your quizzes however because they would not show up...my Internet connection is very slow at the moment.

Ann Carr from SW England on January 06, 2016:

Some great pointers here, Shauna! All these things also regularly make me annoyed.

Fortunately I scored 100% in your quizzes, but then I should as I'm a literacy teacher! I was still nervous taking them though - how daft is that?

Great hub. Sharing as I think as many as possible should read this!

Happy New Year to you!

Ann

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on January 05, 2016:

Very useful, helpful and informative hub!

I do not like grammatical mistakes but some of the sentences are well accepted and become a practice even if they may not be exactly correct according to grammar rules.

You made some valid points here. Thank you for the education!

Ghost32 on January 05, 2016:

Brace yourself, Sha; you of all people know I treat grammar as an optional sort of thing!

I suspect "ain't" is a combination of two accepted contractions, "aren't" and "isn't". By employing "ain't", the user is able to avoid worrying about whether the appropriate term would be plural or singular. (It's also one of my favorite words, employed during my school days whenever I was far enough from our English teacher's classroom to avoid getting caught. Since you are apparently a more recent incarnation of that particular teacher, I will studiously avoid using the word on your page.)

I will admit that I take care to use "farther" and "further" correctly.

"Him and I?" Not a problem. "We!"

I must admit to one wee bit of puzzlement. If Mary and Jim can't see two feet in front of the windshield, why are they trudging? Shouldn't they be driving? Or are they hiking through the raindrops while holding a windshield in front of their faces? If my pickup truck even thought about trudging, I'm pretty sure I'd start to worry a lot.

You make an excellent point about "that". I use it but also make an effort to delete a "that" here and there when going through any rough draft. "The" can also be overused. In my first science fiction novel (rough draft penned in 1975), I deleted more than 200 unnecessary "the" insertions before submitting it for publication.

The only word I truly hate is "delicious", but "that" is another story, to be told "farther" on down the line.

Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on January 05, 2016:

This was interesting and helpful. I tend to use the word that when I shouldn't. I hate the word ain't too, but I use it in a fun piece like political satire. No one should feel like you've stepped on their toes, it's a learning process. Thank you Shauna.

Suzie from Carson City on January 05, 2016:

Sha...I've missed you. Love this hub. Anything about Correct English! Grammar is soooo important, in writing, speaking and for ease and accuracy in communication. You do a FABULOUS job, GF. I enjoy reading whatever you write.

Hope the New Year is nothing but wonderful to you!! Love, Paula

manatita44 from london on January 05, 2016:

Interesting viewpoint and some good advice. You will already know that I even create words sometimes. That is the nature of the esoteric poet. However, it is generally good to have a decent knowledge of grammar, as some words spelt incorrectly, can be quite painful for others to read.

A well constructed hub.

RTalloni on January 05, 2016:

I believe ain't is short for am not: It don't make no never mind, I am not (ain't) gonna' do it and you can't make me!

Have had trouble with the word that for ages due to confusion brought on by various teachers, those who hate the lack of use of it by southerners, and my neglect to make a decision about it too many times.

That said, thanks for a neat read. :)

Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on January 05, 2016:

Linda, I've been known to use the word in fun, but it certainly ain't no part of my ever'day vocaba-larry. Ha ha. If we ever do finally meet (let me know when the next Carl Black concert is), I'll try real hard not to correct you. :-)

Ain't that a hoot n a holler????

Linda Bilyeu from Orlando, FL on January 05, 2016:

Well ain't this hub a super learning lesson of my day! But I do like the word "ain't" :) Thanks for sharing your words of wisdom with slackers like me! :)

Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on January 05, 2016:

Bill, cat away my friend. Even I have to consult grammar sites from time to time, but there's no excuse for misusing pronouns. I don't even remember where I learned the self-check tricks I use in that regard. Either it was my common sense or the good nuns at St. Matthias Catholic School. Whatever the case, elimination and re-structuring can happen in the blink of a brain cell and should be put into practice whether our words are spoken or written. How's that for a compound-complex sentence? :-)

Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on January 05, 2016:

Rebecca, I don't mean to step on toes, but by simply asking ourselves some questions or eliminating one quotient in the equation, we can speak without sounding like hicks. My ex-husband used to say something like, "them are good". WTF? Really?

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on January 05, 2016:

The tips were very handy and can be easily followed....by anyone actually interested in good grammar. Judging from some of the dredge I see on HP lately, there may not be very many who will follow your advice.

Ooh, that was catty of me!

Rebecca Mealey from Northeastern Georgia, USA on January 05, 2016:

Well said, Brave Warrior. Thanks for these reminders. I tend to use that too much, so you have stepped on my toes. I needed this.

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