My mother has turned me into a monster – a grammar monster, that is… My mom, a double major in English and Elementary Education, never hesitates to correct my grammar literally any time I speak improperly. When I was younger, I thought it was the most annoying thing in the world, but little did I know that she was shaping my siblings and me into smaller versions of herself, and honestly, thank goodness she did. (Yes, Mom, I said it. I’m thankful for your constant correction of my grammar.)
In the professional world, having strong communication skills and using proper grammar is one of the keys to success. In fact, according to a study conducted by York College, 21 percent of employers say that using poor verbal skills and grammar during an interview is the number one reason they will reject an applicant. Not only can proper grammar help you land a job, but it also can help you succeed once you land the job. Writing and speaking with proper grammar in the workplace reflect a higher level of professionalism and competency. Words are a powerful tool. Even if you’re not a grammar freak like me, I’m sure you’ve heard someone speak with poor grammar and you cringe a little.
Terrible at grammar? Here are 7 of the most commonly misused words, phrases, and grammatical errors I’ve experienced in the workplace and in everyday conversation.
- “I could care less.”
Correct way: I couldn’t care less.
My personal least favorite… What the correct phrase means is that you could care so little that you couldn’t possibly care less. Unless you really could care less about something, change that “could” to a “couldn’t.”
- “should of” (and would of, could of, etc.)
Correct way: should have
This mistake comes from the way the contraction “should’ve” sounds when spoken. The contraction “should’ve” means “should have.”
Correct way: Regardless
“Irregardless” is not a word. I don’t even know who came up with that. It’s just “regardless” and that’s all I have to say about that.
Correct way: Supposedly
Like “irregardless,” “supposably” is not a word. It just sounds like the word “supposedly.” So make sure you get rid of that “b” sound where the “d” sound is supposed to go.
- “For all intensive purposes”
Correct way: “For all intents and purposes.”
Again, this phrase is commonly misused. “Intensive purposes” would actually be almost the opposite of the true meaning of this phrase, which is essentially “for all practical purposes.”
Don’t roll your eyes at me on this one. It may be the most elementary on this list, but people STILL don’t know the difference.
there – Most of the time, an easy way to know if you’re using this word correctly is if it makes sense to replace the word “there” for the word “here” in the same sentence. g. “It is over there.” It can also be used in sentences such as, “Is there going to be food at the party?”
they’re – This word is a contraction for the words “they are.” The only time you will use this contraction is to combine these two words. E.g. “They’re going to the Royals game tonight.”
their – Use this word to show possession of something. If you can replace the word “their” with the word “my” in a sentence then you’re using it correctly. E.g. “Their dog is outside”
- Ending sentences in prepositions (i.e. “Where are you at?”)
Correct way: Where are you?
Prepositions show the relationship between two words in a sentence. A lot of the time, people like to stick prepositions where they are not needed – like at the end of a sentence.
There you have it: my top 7 grammatical corrections to start you on your way to being the most grammatically correct person in the office. You may want to educate yourself further, though, because there are so many other common cringe-worthy mistakes. Ask around to discover other grammar pet peeves. You might be surprised at how passionate some people can be about grammar, and one of those people may be your future boss, who might have a mom like mine!