Houston's Grammar Goddess reveals 8 grammar rules to live by

A guide to help you avoid some common grammatical errors

HOUSTON – Rhonda Cavender, Houston's Grammar Goddess, has some helpful hints to remember when communicating.

She believes grammar is important, whether you're compiling a text message, email or writing an essay.

1. Use pronouns in the objective case when they function as objects. 

              Max and I were upset because the teacher gave him and I a quiz. (WRONG)

The correct version would be...

              Max and I were upset because the teacher gave him and me a quiz.

In this case, him and me are indirect objects,

2. When a compound subject is joined by “or” or “nor,” make the subject closest to the verb agree with the verb.

              Neither Sami nor Mateo are swimming yet. (WRONG)

Mateo, which is singular, is closest to the verb, so you should say “Mateo is . . .”

                Neither Sami nor Mateo is swimming yet. 

3. "Its” is the possessive form of “it.” Never use an apostrophe to show possession with pronouns (his, hers, theirs, ours). “It’s” is a contraction for “it is.”

                  Has Brays Bayou flooded it's banks again? (WRONG)

Instead you should say...

                  Has Brays Bayou flooded its banks again?

This may be confusing because we DO use apostrophes to show possession with nouns and acronyms (The bayou’s banks, the SME’s suggestions).

Apostrophes have three uses: To show possession with nouns, to indicate that letters are missing (e.g., in contractions), or to show plurals with single letters or numbers (Sami had three A’s on her report card).

4. Learn the correct use of "e.g."

“E.g.” means “for example”; “i.e.” means “that is.”

5. The series comma, the Oxford comma and the penultimate comma all refer to the comma that comes before the "and" in a series of three or more items in a sentence.

“Penultimate” means “next to the last,” so it is the comma that comes after the next to the last item in the series. There is great debate over whether this comma is necessary. The Grammar Goddess insists that it is necessary!

6. Learn the difference between these words and use them accordingly:

“They’re” means “they are.” They’re driving to Rosenberg this afternoon.

“Their” means “belonging to them.” Their car broke down on US 59.

“There” indicates a place. Richard left his keys there.

“Your” means “belonging to you.” Your son-in-law is handsome.

“You’re” means “you are.” You’re the best daughter in the USA! (Saying “Your the best daughter” is WRONG, WRONG, WRONG!)

“To” is a preposition that connects words in a sentence. “Let’s go to the mall.” (Saying “The cashier gave me to much change” is WRONG, WRONG, WRONG!)

“Too” means “excessively” or “also.” Andy lives too far away. Yelena does, too.

7. If a pronoun (he, she, her, him, they, them) follows a preposition such as “to” or “for,” use the objective form of the pronoun.

Subjective form (I, he, she, they, we) is how you would use the pronoun as the subject of the sentence. (She is my friend, and he is my cousin.)

Objective form (me, him, her, them, us) is how you would use the pronoun as an object in the sentence. (Beth gave the candy to him. Doug supplied crayons for them. I congratulated both him and her.)

8. If your sentence has two subjects joined by “or” or “nor,” make sure that the subject closest to the verb agrees with the verb.

(Neither Jane nor the boys are arriving today. Neither the boys nor Jane is arriving today. Both sentences are written correctly. In each case the subject closest to the verb has to agree with it.)   

Watch below for more tips from the Grammar Goddess.

The Grammar Goddess reveals some common grammatical errors

Before you post online or type that next email, you might want to check your grammar! The Grammar Goddess explains why grammar still matters in today's digital world. For a complete grammar guide >>> https://bit.ly/2Yoekst

Posted by Houston Life on Thursday, July 25, 2019


See below for more grammar resources:

Shea Writing and Training Solutions

Grammar Girl's Tips

For an entertaining brush-up on your grammar, read Laurie Rozakis’ book Comma Sutra: Position Yourself for Success with Good Grammar.